Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
America Online Microsoft The Almighty Buck The Internet Yahoo! Businesses

AOL In Talks With Microsoft to Merge Online Divisions, Says WSJ 143

Posted by timothy
from the aol-needs-some-friends-at-smart-tech dept.
Ian Lamont writes "Microsoft executives are reportedly meeting with their AOL counterparts to discuss combining the two companies' online divisions. No one from either side is willing to comment, nor has the structure of the supposed deal been worked out. The original unconfirmed report comes from the Wall Street Journal (password-protected). A few months ago there was talk about AOL teaming up with Yahoo, but that never materialized." The free excerpt at the WSJ link above seems to say about as much as this Bloomberg wire report which refers to it, and the above-linked story at The Standard; this Reuters story indicates that AOL is still courting or being courted by Yahoo!, too.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

AOL In Talks With Microsoft to Merge Online Divisions, Says WSJ

Comments Filter:
  • I, for one, welcome our new defunct-ISP-turned-corporate-content-provider overlords.
  • by RudeIota (1131331) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @05:11PM (#24219769) Homepage
    What better way to secure your future than merge yourself with a failing online business (AOL)?

    WTF is MS thinking these days...

    Welcome to Web 1.0...

    • by Cathoderoytube (1088737) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @05:23PM (#24219953)
      It's clearly intended to taunt Yahoo!. What better way to intimidate a company that won't let you take them over than to team up with their inferior competitor?
      • by clampolo (1159617)

        What better way to intimidate a company that won't let you take them over than to team up with their inferior competitor?

        Do they even really compete with each other? I always view AOL as an ISP, not as a content provider. I mean does AOL really make any income off their search results?

        • by RudeIota (1131331) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @06:15PM (#24220613) Homepage
          They haven't been a content provider for several years. Now they just make their money by billing your grandmother for service she canceled 10 years ago.
        • by rtb61 (674572)

          AOL is a content provider via Time Warner. AOL is just a part of the group. Time Warner obviously paid to much and still has work to do but is making some moves. M$ obviously wants Time Warner's content which it will attempt to lock in it's distribution to products like silverfish only, or windows media player only. M$ is in real trouble with the Yahoo bids because of Ballmer's idiotic 'we will replace yahoo's board and but it on the cheap' bid, some thing that could get him in real trouble with the SEC.

      • by rsborg (111459)

        It's clearly intended to taunt Yahoo!. What better way to intimidate a company that won't let you take them over than to team up with their inferior competitor?

        Uh... s/Yahoo!/Google/ right?

        ...Oh, I get it :-)

    • The Google obsession (Score:5, Interesting)

      by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @05:33PM (#24220109)
      Ballmer is completely fixated with trying to beat Google, if only in the very short term. Ballmer wants eyeballs and user base to be able to say:"Yes, I beat Google". Of course, in the grander scheme of things two sinking ships are still sinking and Google is only growing in market share. Further, Google has almost gotten big enough that it is bigger than the rest of the players combined so the window of opportunity to beat Google has slammed shut.

      Ballmer's craziness is also reflected in their other acquisitions. Why would they buy http://www.danger.com/ [danger.com] which has no integration with Windows Mobile? Only to make fight with Google's Android.

      MS supposedly cost $10bn to develop (depending on what sources you read) and MS was prepared to spend $40bn for Yahoo. Surely MS should be thinking of spending more on fixing their core business.

      Hey Ballmer, if you want to survive then you need to be less competitor focused and more customer focused. Don't let you megalomania divert you from core business.

    • IM (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nightspirit (846159)

      I'm sure AOL's IM portion is lucrative. With MS messenger and AIM, and already existing compatibility with yahoo networks, that pretty much leaves no-one else (with any significant market share).

      • by strabes (1075839)
        What about google chat? Since this is slashdot, I'll provide anecdotal evidence. Almost everyone on my adium contact list has gchat. If they have an AIM screen name they also most likely have a gchat address. I do not know one person that uses yahoo chat. I know two people that use MSN messenger on a regular basis.

        This might be legit information, except unfortunately my sample population consists of a few hundred college students.
        • According to wikipedia:
          AIM: 53m active
          Jabber 40-90m total
          MS: 294m active
          Yahoo: 22m total
          ICQ: 15m active

        • by xaxa (988988)

          I don't know anyone's AIM address, I doubt more than two people have them. Everyone I know has MSN.

          What people use is very regional. AIM is very popular in the USA, MSN in Europe (I don't remember about anywhere else).

          Thinking about it, the American students I know studying in the UK probably have AIM addresses, but they presumably signed up for an MSN address pretty quickly once they realised "AIM" got blank looks.

      • by pembo13 (770295)
        Aren't these free services with no forced ads?
    • by clampolo (1159617)

      WTF is MS thinking these days...

      Not sure, but if I owned any stock in them I'd dump it now. What next? Are they going to try and merge with hotbot and lycos?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by mark72005 (1233572)
      They missed out on Beenz.com, darn the luck.
    • Culture Match (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tablizer (95088) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @07:05PM (#24221167) Homepage Journal

      What better way to secure your future than merge yourself with a failing online business (AOL)? WTF is MS thinking these days...

      Maybe they figure they are a better culture match than with Yahoo. AOL was about lucklaster ads, controlling user experience, inconsistent interfaces, sneaking your products into every device, and closed standards. A match made in heaven!
         

    • Change your name to MicroAHoo?
    • They are thinking of "AOSmell"?

      Or, maybe this is about ms getting ready to start giving away ms windows vista on CDs in cereal boxes, mini-DVDs on cigarette packs, and on Hot Rod magazine?

      Or, maybe they see themselves as the "starter account" newbies go to before graduating to Apple or Open Source...

      (Yeh, go ahead.... mark me "troll".)

    • by jo42 (227475)

      They can't knock out #1 (Google). #2 (Yahoo) told them to get stuffed. So Microsoft settled for an astronomically distant #3. I keep hearing "Ha! Ha!" from mom's basements all over the world...

    • by tbannist (230135)

      Well, since they can't beat Google, they just figured they could destroy the Universe. You see Microsoft blows and AOL sucks, therefore if they carry out a merger, then the result would both suck and blow. Which, in theory, is physically impossible and should BSoD all of reality, or so they hope.

  • Hooray (Score:5, Funny)

    by genner (694963) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @05:13PM (#24219789)
    Hooray....Now I only have to hate one company,
    • by Khaed (544779)

      Aw c'mon, there are far more than these two for us geeks to hate.

      I'd make a list, but most of them also have a fair number of geeky fanboys and the last thing I need is to be hunted down by a Sony/Apple/etc fanboy and have to dodge soggy pocket-protectors...

      Seriously, I didn't even think they gave you a slashdot account without hating at least five corporations and 89/100 US Senators.

      • by hostyle (773991) *

        Why are you still so bitter Mr Shatner? Is it cause we love Wil Wheaton more?

        KKHHAAAEEEEDDDD!!!!

      • Wait, there are Senators people don't hate?

        • by Khaed (544779)

          No, but /. comments aren't long enough for a rant against all 100 of them. ;)

          Honestly, I wonder how many people here from the US can name both of their senators, much less 89/100. I bet it's higher than the general population... but not even close to 100%. I can name mine, and a few high profile other Senators... but nowhere near 89, much less 100.

          • Hey!

            My senators are the Honerable Susan Collins, and the Honerable Olympia Snowe

            and just as an added bonus, my representative in the US House is Michael Michaud

            (No I didn't have to look them up)

            • My Senators are the Honorable Mr. Elizabeth Taylor Warner, who involved with committees relating to defense, but is otherwise a RINO, and the Honorable Jim Webb, who started off his tenure showing a complete lack of professionalism by utterly dissing the President. My Representative is Frank Wolf, who actually seems to be not too bad, but he's in the House, which unlike the Senate isn't 100% corrupt... yet.

              I didn't have to look them up either.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by propanol (1223344)
      There's still AT&T, you know.
    • by bonehead (6382)

      Hooray....Now I only have to hate one company,

      Oh, come one, cut AOL some slack. Sure, their service sucks, but back in the day I never had to spend any money on floppy disks thanks to them.

    • by Tablizer (95088)

      Hooray....Now I only have to hate one company

      But now you'll be inundated with 30-day Vista disks. Careful what you wish for.
           

  • by Adreno (1320303) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @05:14PM (#24219803)
    ... I would have thought my penchant for snagging all the free AOL disks I see and using them as frisbees, coasters, and arranging them in strange geometric designs on my wall (ad-side hidden) would have drained all of their resources by now. So sad.
  • Epic fail (Score:5, Funny)

    by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @05:16PM (#24219835)
    Seriously, wasn't BiX or CompuServe interested? Or is AOL just proprietary enough with a captive audience to appeal to Microsoft's way of thinking?
  • Can't say anyone really cares much anymore about either one.

    And I say that as a former shareholder of both.

  • by Thelasko (1196535) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @05:20PM (#24219899) Journal
    worstcompanyever tag on this one?
  • by Gat0r30y (957941) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @05:20PM (#24219901) Homepage Journal
    AOL Account cancellation policy for MS' new subscription based access to Office.
  • Nothing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by D Ninja (825055) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @05:24PM (#24219985)

    No one from either side is willing to comment, nor has the structure of the supposed deal been worked out. The original unconfirmed report comes from the Wall Street Journal (password-protected). A few months ago there was talk about AOL teaming up with Yahoo, but that never materialized.

    Translation:

    We know absolutely nothing because nobody is talking about the unconfirmed idea that supposedly sort of was talked about some time ago.

    WTF?

  • Would MS still have gone after AOL if they had a successful bid on Yahoo?
  • "Microsoft executives are reportedly meeting with their AOL counterparts to discuss combining the two companies' online divisions."

    I'd be interested to know what America Online's Non-Online division does.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @05:42PM (#24220217)

      Hello from America On Line's non-online division.

      America On Line's non-online division handles the non-online portions of America On Line's business. This includes managing various activities related to America On Line's non-online activities, as well as anticipating global paradigm shifts on the non-online ecospace, as they pertain to America On Line's non-online geosphere.

      At America On Line's non-online division we pride ourselves on our commitment to serving your needs through anticipatory evolution and dynamic relationship-building with our service base. Rest assured, here at America On Line's non-online division, no distance is too great for us to go to ensure quality, accurate, and timely non-online activities. Never will you see America On Line's non-online division online. No sir or ma'am. America On Line's non-online division is working too dilligently offline to fool around with online fooling around.

      So we hope this introduction helps you understand us here at America On Line's non-online division and to help us better serve you, the valued customer with non-online needs.

    • I'd be interested to know what America Online's Non-Online division does.

      I think the network access and advertising components were split sometime in the last year, with talk about Time-Warner planning to sell off the former. If that is correct, my assumption (which may be wrong) would be that the "Online division" that Microsoft would be courting would be the access piece, with AOL's dwindling base of remaining subscribers.

  • What else would they really be getting from AOL?

    • by strabes (1075839)
      They must really want the business of a few hundred elderly people.
    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @06:48PM (#24220997)
      AIM. If MS can put AIM and MSN together, they have about 80% of the worlds IM market. Think of all the data to mine from there.
      • what data? how many people actually click on ads while chatting on msn and aim? i would think no one notices or cares.
        • You have to think like an evil company a bit more. IM can reveal a lot about online habits - especially when it shows "idle" or "online" status. That part alone gives MS a whole lot of usage data about when people are at their computer, which we can assume runs windows.

          If they wanted to be truly evil, they could certainly mine the data anonymously to see what the hot topics of conversation are.

          More realistically, IM ads are not necessarily used for click-based advertising. There are whole product placeme

          • everyone i set up a computer for i install trillian or some other similar multi-client IM. these have no ads. does MSN monitor these since the something like trillian is only on the client side or are they able to tell that this person is using MSN exclusively? anyway everyone that i have installed a milti-client for and removed either yahoo, msn or AIM have loved it touting how they hated all the junk they had to constantly close or minimize. i would think this trend would be growing.
      • Too bad they missed Skype's groth...
  • My God... (Score:5, Funny)

    by mweather (1089505) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @05:27PM (#24220033)
    It's like the perfect storm of suck. Maybe that's their business model: suck so bad that nothing, not even light can escape.
    • by wattrlz (1162603)
      I would think the idea would be to suck so hard nothing, not even the customer's money, can escape. It's an interesting business strategy and I, for one, am anxious to see if it works.
    • by eulernet (1132389)

      Black hole ?

    • by blantonl (784786)

      More like, the model sucks so bad, that people will actually pay money to see how bad it sucks.

      I'd love to see this whole thing go down.

      Sort of like paying an admission fee to a train wreck.

    • suck so bad that nothing, not even light can escape.

      except for a well thrown chair aimed directly at Eric Schmidt's head.

  • Everyone Wins! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thatskinnyguy (1129515) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @05:30PM (#24220053)

    Despite AOL being in the twilight of its existence, I think it would be an absolutely shrewd move on the executive's part to merge/sell-out to another company. That way, they have their buy-out packages as a between job buffer. Microsoft can gut the company and use their data centers and such. I won't have to deal with AOL as a browser or dial-up service on people's computers anymore. Everyone wins! [except the employees of AOL]

  • Vista = Windows ME

    Microsoft wanted to buy AOL or compete directly with the MSN network and now they're back to that again.

    Maybe they're thinking they can get a set of dedicated eyeballs to use with a revamped "Xbox-ish" live service (except for your GRANDMA!) on the PC and thus up their search engine hits for ad space...

  • AOL users are probably also in the Vista fan club so this might actually be a good thing for M$. Several dozen more satisfied customers.
  • Wow. This would be the worst software conglomerate ever. On the other hand, it means that only one company would need to go bankrupt.

    Tagged: companyfromhell.

  • A sign of the times, desperation at Redmond .. ?
  • All "news" from the WSJ is suspect now that it is owned by Rupert Murdoch. It is now in the same family as page six in the New Your Post. I think I would look elsewhere for reliable business news.
  • Dialup (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DrugCheese (266151) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @06:16PM (#24220625)

    I would think for dialup, people are gonna go with AOL or MSN because those are the names out there. It's been years n years since I've used dialup or even remember seeing a local place advertise for it. The way websites are getting crazier and crazier stuffing content onto them Microsoft knows that the best way to secure future high speed users is to have them as current dialup users.

    • Microsoft knows that the best way to secure future high speed users is to have them as current dialup users.

      I don't think MS even has a high-speed internet service. And anyways the reason that 99.999% of people are stuck on dial up is because there is no high-speed internet where they live (and for anyone living outside of a rural town, the hope of getting high-speed internet is very slim)

      • They partner with providers like qwest and verizon. 87% of statistics are made up on the spot. Most of my very very large family is on dialup and I would guess that price is half the reason. The other half just don't need dialup for what they use the internet for ... yet.

    • by xaxa (988988)

      How many dial-up customers do AOL have anyway? Here, their unlimited dial-up service is 15.99/month, 1 more than their "wireless broadband" service (10GB/month). (Other basic providers are half that cost, or even less.)

      • by xaxa (988988)

        There are meant to be pound sterling signs before the numbers. I don't know where they went, I even typed out the HTML entity (&sterling;) for them: since the character usually breaks: £

    • by symbolset (646467)

      What's a dialup? Did I miss another Pokemon movie?

  • YAOSoft (Score:5, Funny)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @06:27PM (#24220767) Homepage Journal

    "YAOSoft". Has a distinctly Chinese ring to it. Like a good media monopoly should.

  • by HiVizDiver (640486) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @06:33PM (#24220839)
    ... paying everyone who forwards an e-mail message $245.00

    http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/nothing/microsoft-aol.asp [snopes.com]

    Life imitates an urban legend. Shit.
    • ... paying everyone who forwards an e-mail message $245.00

      And you will need it too, because the price for Windows 7 is going to be $600 for the upgrade-from-Vista-doesn't-do-anything version and the $2000 for the does-the-same-as-XP-version

  • Evil, meet stupid. Stupid... evil. The only question is which is which...

  • by dexomn (147950)

    AOL should seriously consider joining The SCO Group. Two dodo's (Albatross for the moment maybe?) with one stone.

  • This is just what we need: coasters you can only use with drinks licensed by Microsoft.

  • Yay, Vista coasters! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Khelder (34398) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @09:48PM (#24222673)

    I guess this means soon I'll start getting a stream of Vista CDs in the mail and I can "upgrade" my coasters. Pretty handy in the hot & humid weather here, I'll tell you.

  • This could mean YOU.
  • AOL as one of the shittiest online services on the face of the planet (save only comcast), and microsoft as the biggest predator in i.t. world, together.

    god mercy on us.
  • Will it become AIMSN?

    It's going to be funny to watch, given Apple's association with AOL for AIM/iChat.

  • Other than AIM, I guess, I don't know offhand of anything that AOL owns that's worthwhile. Mapquest, maybe... I can't see anything else off their home page that's really compelling...

A holding company is a thing where you hand an accomplice the goods while the policeman searches you.

Working...