"You've got mail -- for free"

Late yesterday Time Warner announced that AOL will offer its software, e-mail and just about anything else connected to the portal for free.  New members will be able to sign up for the software completely gratis, and former members who have quit within the last two years may sign back up with AOL and retain their old e-mail address and handles.

AOL Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Miller added “We’ll now be able to maintain and deepen our relationship with many more members who are likely to migrate to broadband. Providing them with their familiar AOL software and e-mail for free, over any broadband connection, will be critical to our future success. For members who’ve left us over the past two years, we’ve kept your e-mail address. When this effort is fully operational in early September, you’ll be able to come home again – for free."

The exact software that is going free is as follows:

  • AOL's software portal
  • AOL Instant Messenger
  • AOL e-mail
  • A local phone number with unlimited incoming calls
  • AOL social networking packages
During the Q2'06 investor call that took place yesterday, AOL representatives also claimed that the company would add several new features in "storage, personalized e-mail domains, video and search, as well as an update of its AOL software."  The free incoming calls is actually just AOL's version of voice-over-IP, and several of the packages AOL is offering were already free -- such as the AOL Instant Messenger.

The majority of AOLs income will now come from advertising on the network.  AOL claims the company already has more than 100 million unique visitors per month; in June of last year Nielson/NetRatings published that AOL was still the fifth most visited portal on the internet with about 74.4 million unique users per month. 

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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