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AOL's new CEO will weight options during a 100-day tour of the company

In the heyday of the dotcom boom, Time Warner purchased the then massive internet service provider AOL, and the firms merged into AOL-Time Warner. The deal was brokered by then CEO of AOL Steve Case and Time Warner CEO Gerald Levin.

It took very little time for the merger to prove to have been ill advised as AOL began rapidly losing customers to broadband and poor customer service. In 2000 when the merger was completed, Time Warner paid $182 billion in stock for the company and the merger was hailed as creating the world's greatest digital media powerhouse. Time Warner is now considering spinning AOL off into its own company reports InformationWeek.

Time Warner said in an SEC filing, "The company currently anticipates that it would initiate a process to spin off one or more parts of the businesses of AOL to Time Warner's stockholders, in one or a series of transactions." The company did point out that it has not yet made any decisions on the fate of AOL.

InformationWeek reports that former AOL CEO Steve Case believes AOL should be spun off into its own company again. AOL has hired a new CEO, Tim Armstrong, who told AOL employees in a memo that he would be embarking on a 100-day tour and a review of the company.

Armstrong wrote, "The culmination of the 100-day process will end in Dulles [AOL's ancestral headquarters] with an all-hands meeting in mid-July. At that meeting, we'll review the feedback we've received -- both internal and external. ... Most importantly, we will set a course and focus all of our resources to make that course a success."

Time Warner CEO and Chairman Jeff Bewkes said that during the 100-day tour Armstrong would be looking to improve the AOL business and evaluating to see if AOL would be better off as its own company.

Time Warner has said that it will purchase the 5% of AOL back from Google. Google purchased its 5% stake in AOL for $1 billion in 2006. Time Warner has been fighting other fires within its holdings recently as it tried to force tiered Internet pricing on customers only to be forced to drop the attempt after pressure for consumers and lawmakers.

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By DASQ on 4/30/2009 12:07:11 PM , Rating: 5
More like spin AOL off into the gutter.

RE: hah...
By an0dize on 4/30/2009 12:12:10 PM , Rating: 4
Agreed. One of the stupidest decisions made before the .com bubble burst. AOL has always been a terrible service designed for people too ignorant to explore other options. An ounce of forward thinking would've gone a long way for Time Warner.

RE: hah...
By callmeroy on 4/30/2009 3:34:19 PM , Rating: 1
Its kind of strange to see if you are like me and been around back in the BBS days before there even WAS something called the "world wide web"..

I still remember on a dinky 286 PC I had in my room back when I still lived with my folks and a 9600 modem which I upgrade to a 14.4 modem (then later upgraded to 28.8)...I used to log into a local BBS system often and chat with folks who lived in my neighborhood or close by -- and play cheesey games (back then there were no such thing as "good graphics" online)...I used to play LORD all the time...

Anyway years went by and this company called AOL was catching on -- more time went by suddently they are huge and everyone's talking about them as the best way to see the content on this new thing called the World Wide Web...

Got tons of CD's every week, more time went by --- broadband Internet service is first announced in my area -- I still remember thinking --- "Well...its the beginning of the end Aol and Prodigy....".......

Strange to have basically seen the start , rise and peak of what once was THE largest company of its kind in the entire world, then suddenly see it fall....

RE: hah...
By marvdmartian on 5/1/2009 10:05:02 AM , Rating: 2
AOL cd's, ad nauseum!

I do recall, though, that I did find a good use for them. I picked up a couple dozen, and strung them up as reflector style bird deterrents where I work! LOL

A buddy of mine took a hundred or so, flipped them over, and put them on the top of his custum build computer desk, then laminated them on with acrylic poured over the top. Made for a neat "techno" look.

And, of course, they were always useful as a coaster. ;)

RE: hah...
By Ryanman on 4/30/2009 12:13:24 PM , Rating: 3
We can only hope. AOL has been a blight on the internet since it was introduced, wether they were charging you for minutes, sending you dozens of CD's a year, or just when you visited their vomit-inducing website.

AIM is still one of the biggest resource hogging IMers, and still installs ridiculous crap onto your machine automatically. I hope Time Warner trashes the brand and it never recovers.

RE: hah...
By Bateluer on 4/30/2009 12:31:43 PM , Rating: 3
People still use the AIM client? I thought everyone was connecting with Trillian, Pidgin, or something else.

RE: hah...
By FITCamaro on 4/30/2009 1:46:23 PM , Rating: 2
Been using Pidgin for a few weeks now with the OTR plugin. Before that was Trillian.

RE: hah...
By danrien on 4/30/09, Rating: -1
RE: hah...
By frobizzle on 4/30/2009 2:06:10 PM , Rating: 2
sending you dozens of CD's a year,

Oh come on!! I miss all the CDs they used to send! They made such wonderful coasters!

RE: hah...
By JohnnyCNote on 4/30/2009 5:24:57 PM , Rating: 2
I used to reuse the floppies, I didn't have to buy any for years thanks to AOL. It's too bad the CD's weren't reusable, although sometimes they sent them in nice DVD cases, which I could reuse.

I knew a number of people who worked at their "retention" center here in Jacksonville. They had all sorts of underhanded ways to keep customers. The worst was "you can still use Netscape to access the 'Net". Yeah, once you did it would reactivate you AOL account!

They had a tech support call center here years ago. I was offered jobs there several times. Had I accepted early enough, I could have gotten in on the stock deals. I know people who were able to get houses, etc. However, something inside me always held me back. I don't regret not working there . . .

RE: hah...
By MrPoletski on 5/1/2009 9:51:32 AM , Rating: 2
they frisbee for miles if you get the right action, stick a nail in something 50 yards from your back door.

You know what to do young paddiwan.

RE: hah...
By wempa on 4/30/2009 12:49:14 PM , Rating: 3
AOL was only popular back before the internet got widespread. Once broadband became available, heck even once DIALUP internet became widely available, AOL offered nothing extra to the end user. I'm surprised anybody still uses AOL. The only value they have at this point is their AIM user base.

RE: hah...
By nafhan on 4/30/2009 1:51:21 PM , Rating: 2
There are people I've talked to who don't want to lose their email addresses.
I switched to a yahoo (and later gmail) account largely to avoid having my email address tied to an ISP.

RE: hah...
By rudy on 4/30/2009 11:12:49 PM , Rating: 2
This is true, plus many people who as said are not internet savy just do not want to learn something new. That was the catch with AOL they made this whole big fake internet front that was so different from IE/Netscape or anything anyone else used that their users were lost when trying to switch. I know people who pay every month to have access to AOL on their broadband connection. I view AOL as the sony/apple of internet service. Make the same thing as the standard but make it incompatible and different enough that once you hook a user they are stuck with it till they are fed up enough to learn a new way.

RE: hah...
By Screwballl on 4/30/2009 10:29:30 PM , Rating: 2
They would be better off just killing the entire name and company. If they chose to keep it alive, keep it as a free webmail based service like Gmail, Yahoo, MSN/Live/Hotmail and kill off everything else.
The time has come and passed...

RE: hah...
By MrPoletski on 5/1/2009 9:49:12 AM , Rating: 3
I think this is a great thing.

AOL on it's own with no large parent company to prop it up.

The results will be either AOL improves its service up to a decent level, albeit maybe still a 'bargain bin' service.


AOL dies a horribly unsympathetic death and everybody urinates on its grave.

Either situation is a win for you and I, even if we are not on AOL I bet some AOL'er has screwed your online game with high pings or whatever at least twice=)

Grammar Nazi Strikes Again
By StraightPipe on 4/30/2009 12:40:08 PM , Rating: 4
This usually is not my thing, but when there are problems in the first line of the summary it irks me a bit.


RE: Grammar Nazi Strikes Again
By nugundam93 on 4/30/2009 1:26:52 PM , Rating: 5
please, grammar [hammer], don't hurt 'em.


RE: Grammar Nazi Strikes Again
By Etern205 on 4/30/09, Rating: -1
RE: Grammar Nazi Strikes Again
By Tegrat on 4/30/2009 2:09:07 PM , Rating: 5
If a mechanic forgets to but a few lug nuts on your car after a service and you crash and die... That's okay? He gets paid to do the job properly.

If a journalist/writer can't proof read or get some one to proof read the articles they provide to the public, then why should we give any of it merit/legitimacy?


RE: Grammar Nazi Strikes Again
By Lord 666 on 4/30/09, Rating: 0
RE: Grammar Nazi Strikes Again
By ClownPuncher on 4/30/2009 3:41:24 PM , Rating: 5
Nobody has ever been harmed by poor communication?

RE: Grammar Nazi Strikes Again
By Lord 666 on 4/30/09, Rating: -1
RE: Grammar Nazi Strikes Again
By Etern205 on 4/30/09, Rating: 0
RE: Grammar Nazi Strikes Again
By nitrous9200 on 4/30/2009 8:06:49 PM , Rating: 2
Nobody was really making a tremendous deal out of it, but seriously, how often do you see a newspaper with grammatical errors in it? Rarely, because they have a high standard to live up to. Online publications should uphold a similar standard; just because poor grammar and misspellings online is the norm doesn't mean an established publication like DailyTech has to do the same. Proper grammar just gives the website a more professional impression.

Maybe my memory is faulty :D
By phazers on 4/30/2009 1:44:01 PM , Rating: 3
But I seem to recall it was AOL buying Time-Warner, not the other way around. Remember back then AOL had a gazillion dollars and 35M prisoners (er, subscribers unable to unsubscribe).

After all, the name of the merged company was AOL Time Warner, not Time Warner AOL..

RE: Maybe my memory is faulty :D
By an0dize on 4/30/09, Rating: -1
RE: Maybe my memory is faulty :D
By MacDuff on 4/30/2009 6:10:40 PM , Rating: 3
His memory is not faulty. The article is wrong. AOL bought Time Warner.

AOL to buy Time Warner in historic merger

By deltadeltadelta on 5/1/2009 2:39:02 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, I was just about to post the same article. That was the big deal with the purchase at the time: a New World media company buying an Old World one.

AOL's Real Appeal
By JohnnyCNote on 4/30/2009 5:29:35 PM , Rating: 2
The real reason AOL lasted as long as it did was because of the chat room activity, especialy for people looking to "hook up". They never mentioned this in their ads, of course, but I knew of a lot of people who'd never had used it except they liked the chat rooms. You name it and chances are there was a room for it . . .

RE: AOL's Real Appeal
By LumbergTech on 4/30/2009 11:24:01 PM , Rating: 2
I met my baby's momma in a chat room on AOL 14 years ago.

RE: AOL's Real Appeal
By kyleb2112 on 5/1/2009 5:15:32 AM , Rating: 2
No, the real AOL lasted is credit card fraud. They were charging my elderly mom TWICE a month for a service she canceled years previously. Two identical charges which added up to over $2000--and it turns out this was a common AOL tactic. We could not get them to stop charging that card no matter what we said to the AOL pod people, and had to finally report the card missing to stop them. When you look into your legal options, you find massive class-action lawsuits already pending, and the most you can do is add your name to the list. AOL = organized crime.

RE: AOL's Real Appeal
By JohnnyCNote on 5/1/2009 7:04:11 AM , Rating: 2
That's not the only scam they were up to. They inflated the value of their stock by not including marketing expenses (yes, those thousands of disks they gave away) in their earnings statements. Once they finally were forced to report their true expenses, the stock took a big hit from which it never recovered.

The best way to deal with the credit card issue was to get a prepaid car and switch the billing info to that, then not replenish the card. Or one could get a new credit card with a different number from the bank. It's a pain to have to do, but it did work.

They had a minor scandal here when a customer recorded the retention agent berating him for cancelling. The problem was that they were constantly under the threat of termination. However, those agents whose stats were high enough got all sorts of bonuses, including cash, big screen TV's, etc . . .

By smithsont on 5/1/2009 5:39:27 AM , Rating: 3
AOL bought Time Warner NOT Vice Versa....As big of a deal as this was when the purchase went down I cant believe someone would get such a crucial fact incorrect and still not have corrected it by now.

After they bought them the tech bubble burst and many of the top AOL heads left leaving the old Time Warner folks in charge again.

By sapiens74 on 4/30/2009 2:33:21 PM , Rating: 2
We love our AHOL!

does anyone else remember...
By Fanatical Meat on 4/30/2009 3:19:30 PM , Rating: 2
when broadband was becomming big and AOL started a capaign to get people to subscribe to AOL on top of thier broadband provider......hahahaha what a joke, I remeber thinking hmmm do I really want to add another $10 per month to my cable bill.....dummies....

steve case...haha
By LumbergTech on 4/30/2009 11:23:05 PM , Rating: 2
I remember trash talking steve case about 13 years

im getting old..

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