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Time Warner Confirms Split With AOL 94

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-plans-for-coaster-hall-of-fame dept.
ausekilis writes "Many outlets are reporting that Time Warner has confirmed plans to spin off AOL. All that's left to deal with are a few financial hurdles, such as buying out Google's 5% stake in AOL. The interesting part of the story is that both AOL's CEO and Time Warner's CEO said effectively the same thing, that AOL will be better off as an independent unit, as opposed to 'a cog in the Time Warner wheel.' Interesting to note that when they originally merged, the idea was for AOL to be a one-stop shop for all your internet goods. Makes you wonder what would have happened if Time Warner had invested in AOL as an exclusive media outlet for movies, TV, music, etc. Perhaps AOL would have regained some speed and become the prominent household name it once was, instead of being that company who sent us all the free coasters."
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Time Warner Confirms Split With AOL

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  • by moon3 (1530265) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:26PM (#28145817)
    Do we really need those all-inclusive portals anymore ? Time Warner might be thinking along those lines..
    • by RDW (41497) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:45PM (#28145975)

      'Do we really need those all-inclusive portals anymore?'

      Need them?! Surely the real danger is that they will become far too powerful! As a writer for one well-known technology blog put it a little while ago:

      'The juxtaposition of the two announcements was almost Biblical in its symbolism and significance...AOL and Time-Warner wouldn't just be creating another media company, but an information nation. This company would be much larger in cultural influence and economic power than most countries on the earth.'

      http://features.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=00/01/10/1418231 [slashdot.org]

      Oh, wait...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by carlzum (832868)
        Most countries are poor and lack any cultural influence. Time Warner's market cap is about $28 billion [nyse.com] which puts them ahead of more than half the world's nations [wikipedia.org] in terms of GDP (I know, not exactly apples to apples). Obviously Time Warner has far more cultural influence than most countries.

        "Biblical" is pure hyperbole, but this merger should have been significant. Time Warner acquired service providers, search engines, and web browsers at a perfect time in the Internet's development. With their televis
    • "Do we really need those all-inclusive portals anymore?"

      There was never a need for all-inclusive portals after the arrival of the internet. AOL was trying to keep less-knowledgeable people inside its own sites, and away from the internet, so it could make more money from its ads. For years, and I suppose even now, an AOL email address meant that the owner of the address didn't have any technically knowledgeable friends.

      The 88 BILLION dollars lost when Time Warner bought AOL has been considered to be the worst business decision of all time. Maybe the French selling the Louisiana Purchase to the U.S. government was a worse decision. But, if we include decisions made by government, then even the U.S. invading Iraq lost more money.

      At the time, even people with little technical knowledge knew that AOL was not a good company to buy.

      Time Warner's CEO, Gerald M. Levin [wikipedia.org], who made the decision, called himself an "imperial CEO" [ninamunk.com]. He made huge amounts of money, and didn't seem to care that he caused enormous troubles for his company, and for all its employees that owned stock.

      Just before the merger, Ted Turner called the merger "better than sex" [youtube.com]. The problem continues, of course. People with no technical knowledge assume that, if they don't know something, there is nothing to know. Technically knowledgeable people get amazingly little respect.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 29, 2009 @09:14PM (#28146147)

        Ted Turner called the merger "better than sex" [youtube.com].

        Well, what do you expect from a guy who was married to Jane Fonda?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jurily (900488)

        even the U.S. invading Iraq lost more money.

        The US, yes, but what about the people who lobbied for the invasion?

        </troll>

      • by Un pobre guey (593801) on Friday May 29, 2009 @09:25PM (#28146191) Homepage
        This is not getting much press. At the time of the merger, it was abundantly clear to everyone who was paying attention that it was not just a colossally dumb idea, but a massive scam carried out by one of the craftiest con artists of our time. AOL was already a dog by then, falling rapidly out of favor even among its natural user base of technically uninformed people. The huge payoffs for those immediately involved in the deal were by far the most important driving force. It must have been obvious to them at the time that it was a shit deal, but the short term payoff was so powerfully compelling that they went ahead anyway. How it hasn't been found to be fraudulent is beyond me, but then again the people who make these deals know what side the bread is buttered on. It is that kind of complicity that keeps the financial industry together. We have seen that on more than one occasion in the recent past.
        • MOD PARENT UP. That's my understanding, also.

          "The huge payoffs for those immediately involved in the deal were by far the most important driving force." That does not, however, explain Ted Turner saying that the merger was "better than sex". That must have been sheer ignorance; he lost billions.
          • I watched the quote in context from the interview.... it's clear from his backpedaling when confronted with that quote, that Ted was kinda railroaded into supporting the merger. He hints that he didn't think it was a good idea, but if he had not been on board they would have left him on the side lines.... and Ted is not the kind of guy who would want to be seen as being side-lined.

            So it cost him an arm and a leg.... he saved face. In his realm saving face is far more important than earnings....

            $0.02

        • by Jay L (74152) *

          not just a colossally dumb idea, but a massive scam carried out by one of the craftiest con artists of our time... It must have been obvious to them at the time that it was a shit deal, but the short term payoff was so powerfully compelling that they went ahead anyway.

          Not really. The idea of AOL and Time Warner combining forces seemed like a huge win for both sides. Yes, it was obvious that dialup itself had no future. But like any other company that's knowingly facing disruptive innovation, we were (overl

      • by gaiageek (1070870) on Friday May 29, 2009 @10:26PM (#28146515) Homepage
        It was AOL who bought Time-Warner: http://news.cnet.com/2100-1023-235400.html [cnet.com]
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by vtcodger (957785)

          ***It was AOL who bought Time-Warner:***

          Yep, that's the way I remember it. Thanks for posting that. I was beginning to think that I had somehow found my way into a parallel universe.

      • by scwizard (941758)
        "For years, and I suppose even now, an AOL email address meant that the owner of the address didn't have any technically knowledgeable friends."
        *wince*
        It took like a year of trying to convince my friend's parents to switch before they finally did. It even took way too long than it should have to convince my friend.
        • by nobodie (1555367)
          I started out with a netscape.net email address (still usable too) and then when netscape got bought by AOL they tried to encourage me to use a free aol.com account, which i also still have as well as a aim.com account they tried to give me later, all so they could close the netscape.net domain. I refuse to be bought off and now have all of them. I use the aim.com account for the lame-os that can't handle my gmail account which has a "0" in the name (is that a zero or an o?)
      • by afabbro (33948)

        The 88 BILLION dollars lost when Time Warner bought AOL has been considered to be the worst business decision of all time.

        Oh, the Obama administration is giving them a good run for their money...first banks, now automakers. Maybe airlines for the trifecta.

      • by doom (14564)

        The 88 BILLION dollars lost when Time Warner bought AOL has been considered to be the worst business decision of all time. ... At the time, even people with little technical knowledge knew that AOL was not a good company to buy.

        It isn't so much that Time Warner didn't understand technology, it's that AOL lied their asses off in their accounting. A remark I heard from an executive-type around then: "They cooked the books, and they're getting away with it!"

    • by dbcad7 (771464)

      I don't mind em.. just never liked AOL's .. I also didn't care much for Yahoo either, but Excite has gone to crap over the years so I gave em a try.. Then tried my providers (att) which is a Yahoo hybrid I guess.. and that's where I'm at today.. Yes I can do and find all the things separately, but I kind of like having a customized starting point, which I can use or not.

    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      Do we really need those all-inclusive portals anymore ? Time Warner might be thinking along those lines..

      Of course we need them, otherwise their users might come here.

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:27PM (#28145839) Homepage

    > Perhaps AOL would have regained some speed and become the prominent household name it
    > once was, instead of being that company who sent us all the free coasters.

    Was it ever anything else? (I didn't actually get very many, though.)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:29PM (#28145853)

      They were my primary supplier of floppy disks for years. I was bummed when they switched to CDs.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        ditto on the floppies..

        near me, there is a "This section of highway kept clean by..." sign sponsored by AOL. Guess where those CDs went!

    • Re:AOL==coasters (Score:4, Insightful)

      by elashish14 (1302231) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {4clacforp}> on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:40PM (#28145941)

      > Perhaps AOL would have regained some speed and become the prominent household name it > once was, instead of being that company who sent us all the free coasters.

      Was it ever anything else? (I didn't actually get very many, though.)

      I think a better reason for failure is that, quite simply, it was a bad idea which served its purpose only for a while until everyone realized that something else was far better. Yeah, the people behind it hate seeing it that way though.

      • Re:AOL==coasters (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 29, 2009 @09:27PM (#28146193)

        Actually, one of the main reasons for AOL's steep decline after the merger was that Time Warner used all the positive cash flow from AOL and invested virtually nothing back into AOL future planning and infrastructure. That would kill just about any successful company.

        Had the merger been a couple of years later, when most folks got broadband, then Time Warner could have used AOL to distribute their content. At dial up speeds, there wasn't much in it for AOL. And by the time most folks moved, AOL was suffering badly. Verizon giving away MSN free to their DSL customers was another nail in the coffin. Distracting moving ads were another. Having a small portion of the screen visible for messages in webmail was another. (as were the AOL customer service people who didn't cancel contracts...in fact, attempts to retain customers backfired, instead of trying to keep the service good.) Another nail was the virtual abandonment of their business customers, and the catering to grandmas and young teens. IMAP was (and is) good, even .mac copied it.

        Perhaps now, without Time Warner, AOL might be able to move forward and actually attract people, instead of attempting to trap them. That is, if not all the good people have already left. I know some that have.

        • Perhaps now, without Time Warner, AOL might be able to move forward and actually attract people, instead of attempting to trap them.

          What could AOL possibly do to move forward? At best, they could improve customer service, stop requiring their proprietary dial-up software, and lower their price to a reasonable rate. But then, they would just be another dial-up company in a world that is saturated with dial-up companies, and dial-up customer base is shrinking. And it will be years before the taint of the AOL name wears off, it will probably take more time than phones will last.

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by tsalmark (1265778)
        I think this may be the end of AOL, but I would not proclaim them dead just yet. AOL is a Phoenix, or at least has risen from the ashes, against all odds a few times already.
  • by MrCrassic (994046) <<li.ame> <ta> <detacerped>> on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:29PM (#28145859) Journal
    I agree with those at America Online that think that as of now, it's best suited for a vertical move to social networking. It's internet connectivity model has been stagnant for a long time, but it's social networking features are strong and have room to improve. (AIM is the quintessential example of this.)

    However, I feel bad for those that still work at the company, and users still chained to their internet services for some reason or other.
    • I've struggled to find any numbers that mean anything, but my impression (fwiw) is that AIM has been losing marketshare for a number of years.

      Over the past 15 years my usage of chat service usage has gone from PowWow, to exclusively ICQ, to switching to AIM (around 2000) to google talk, and just in the past year or so completely stopping using AIM due to almost all my contacts switching to google talk.

      I'm always shocked that AOL is still around.....the only subscriber I personally know is my 90+ year old gr

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Well, to add my little anecdote to it, as a PC repair man around four years ago you still saw a lot of AIM installs on the PCs folks brought in for repairs, especially the old folks and kids. But around three years ago it really started drying up, and I don't think I've seen a single install in nearly two years. Now it is all Yahoo and MSN messenger. From what I have seen on the "Joe Average" PC, it is about 70-80% Yahoo, and the rest MSN.

        So from where I'm sitting, which used to be prime AOL country, if A

        • by DUdsen (545226)

          for what i hear AIM is pretty popular in russia of all places while MS mmore or less dominate here in europe, where yahoo is more or less unknown with local startups and broadcasting companies rule the part of the portal word that have not been killed by facebook and google yet.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 29, 2009 @10:22PM (#28146495)

      However, I feel bad for those that still work at the company, and users still chained to their internet services for some reason or other.

      Don't feel bad at all, at least for the employees. Most of the employees are rather positive about the change and the new CEO, if today's meeting in Dulles is any indicator. There is now actually some hope that we will be allowed to be a company that understands how to sell internet services and content again. We actually have a rather large space staked out on the Internet which can be enlarged significantly, as well as better managed.

      AOL hasn't been about access for years now. We still have a rather large number of people who use AOL as an ISP, despite firing the whole marketing staff a few years ago. So much so that there is actually something of a drive to pay attention to that segment again, instead of letting it die off.

      Still, while the client hasn't died out, most of the work is happening on the content end. I recall some one posting here that says that we have "Engadget" and a few other blogs. Actually "a few" blogs at last count was more like a couple dozen blogs in the top 100.

      No one here is pretending that we're in the same place as Google, but at the same time, we're not trying to be in the same space as Google. We'll compete in some places and cooperate or defer to Google in others. For instance, Google is in the business of aggregating News, we are now in the business of producing News, having started to hire journalists from the fading print journalism sector to actually author content. Should the new model be fully realized, we will be in a very good position to actually lead coverage in certain areas and generate much better experiences for users, which will in turn be appreciated by advertisers.

      Of course, after ten years or so of problems and layoffs, no one at AOL believes a turnaround is going to be easy, or that we will be the powerhouse that once could be confused with "the Intarwebs". Bear in mind though, that we are still here nine years later, after one of the worse mergers in history, the dot-com bust, buy out negotiations AND the deepest recession in recent times. It certainly hasn't been easy, but the company has staked out a portion of the landscape and has managed to stay standing upright throughout. Considering that most of us are actually in favor of the spin-off means that this is unlikely to change.

      • EXACTLY! (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That was exaclty my thoughts: If AOL could make it through all the shit of the past 10 years, especially the horrible merger/de-merger, AOL ain't going no where. AOL has doth proven itself as a stable company being still in existence despite some of the worst things to happen to an ISP/internet_content_provider. In short, if AOL's made it this far it ain't gonna die. AOL just needs to find something novel to deliver and bring people back. I still use my AOL email accounts from the early 90's. I don't

  • 0% Complete (Score:4, Funny)

    by Sduic (805226) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:29PM (#28145863)

    ...AOL as an exclusive media outlet for movies...

    Over dial-up, I think it would have been cheaper to GO to Hollywood (plus it might be finished downloading when you return)!

    • by IANAAC (692242)
      AOL actually had the technology to pull this off.

      Do you remember the Live 8 concert? Their technology pulled it off pretty flawlessly. Not even normal cable providers who supposedly could handle it could do it better than AOL. MTV's coverage was abysmal, for example.

  • About... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:33PM (#28145889)
    About the only thing that AOL really has that are of any worth are AIM and a few blogs such as Engdaget. Other then that they have ruined their reputation too much to be profitable in any other thing.
    • I actually had to go to their website to find out what they offer, and from what I see, it's nothing compared to Yahoo! or Google. They can't compete; cut the dead weight.
      • Re:About... (Score:4, Funny)

        by tcopeland (32225) <{moc.dnalepoceelsamoht} {ta} {mot}> on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:43PM (#28145961) Homepage

        > They can't compete; cut the dead weight.

        Surely you jest! Think of the jobs! It's bailout time.

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        We're not trying to compete with Google or Yahoo. Not really. Trying to directly compete with Google, particularly in its areas of expertise, would be retarded.

        Yes, we have the various services that the others do, but that's mostly because they are either legacy or they contribute to the bottom line in a profitable manner. You don't have to be #1 or even #2 to be profitable in a segment, as long as your investment into the segment is smaller or that investment has mostly been made already. In the case o

    • You joking right? You know they have a little advertising wing right? Platform-A, advertising.com? Ring any bells?
    • by Tokerat (150341)

      Don't forget, they're still running all the netscape.net email accounts!

  • Chat Giant (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Haxx (314221) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:35PM (#28145911) Homepage

        Plenty can be said about the cons of AOL such as the software being classified as a virus. There was a time period from 1996-2003 when AOL chat rooms had hundreds of thousands of participants 24 hours a day. For us introverts it was a social mecca.

    • ...And how many of the participants were bots or spammers?
      • Re:Chat Giant (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Miseph (979059) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:55PM (#28146039) Journal

        In the beginning? Virtually none. Bots were something of a novelty, and spamming hadn't become profitable enough for the spammers to proliferate like they do today. There were a lot of users, well established conventions against that sort of thing, and reasonably effective ways for the legitimate users to police things for themselves. Then it got too big and unwieldy, and the bot authors and spammers got too clever, then the actual number of users started to plummet with the advent of broadband and the whole thing degenerated into what it is today.

        Honestly though, I was big on AOL chats well into 1999, and those really weren't major problems until the very end. Of course, I also didn't use the default rooms, which saw those problems arise much earlier for a variety of reasons (the non-defaults may have been filled with lame script-kiddies, but the front page rooms were always filled with complete noobs).

      • And how many of the participants were bots or spammers?

        I suspect you're trolling, so I'll offer the comment that it was common knowledge that AOL's chat rooms were wildly popular with gays who frequently used them to get same-day hookups (hence the monker GAOL).

        No reflection on the OP's sexual orientation, preferences, or on-line habits. ;-)

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Today we have 4chan. Thank God for that!

    • by couchslug (175151)

      AOL dialup also had decent speed in many locations. They still have lots of customers who have no other option than a POTS line.

    • sorry, during that time anyone in the know was on IRC not in AOL chat- that was for grandmas and pedophiles
  • by religious freak (1005821) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:39PM (#28145937)
    ... and so is a bankruptcy filling. To save effort and energy, they might as well do both at the same time.

    (Disclosure: I saw this post on a different blog, and I'm blatantly stealing it.. ah, now my conscience feels better)
  • Coasters? (Score:5, Funny)

    by XanC (644172) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:46PM (#28145981)

    In my day they sent out floppy disks. You know, the kind that could be erased and something useful put on them. It was great!

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I used them to hide porn from the rents.

    • by ElephanTS (624421)

      Yup, pass the cellotape!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by noidentity (188756)

      In my day they sent out floppy disks. You know, the kind that could be erased and something useful put on them. It was great!

      Are you saying that AOL coaster CDs couldn't have useful things put on top of them?

      • by ncc74656 (45571) *

        Are you saying that AOL coaster CDs couldn't have useful things put on top of them?

        You don't (or didn't) need coasters nearly as much as you needed floppies. I never used AOHell, but I didn't need to buy floppies for a few years because they kept sending them out. Peel off the label, reformat it, and you're good to go.

    • by goldaryn (834427)
      Don't *copy* that *floppy*! [youtube.com]

      ...seriously.. don't... it's got AOL on it...
  • was mostly to people who couldn't figure out how to set up their Dialup account for Internet Access. One AOL install CD and they were on the Internet. Plus they had access to the Time/Warner media empire via the AOL search engine.

    But now most operating systems have Wizards to guide ISP setup just as easy as the AOL Install CD and most Broadband ISPS have install CDs to set up DSL/Cable Modems and Routers. Plus the media is all over the Internet and not just in an AOL search database. So really what need is there for AOL anymore?

    The only advantage for AOL is for those people who cannot get broadband but need a local call-in number that most other ISP's don't offer. I remember bringing my laptop to Branson, Missouri and my NetZero Free Internet dial-up account on my laptop could not get a local Branson number (From Branson for some reason calling Springfield and Joplin numbers where toll access at the Time Sharing Condos and are considered long distance and hence charged more on the bill even if they are in the same area code), but the people at the Time Sharing Condo said that AOL had several local numbers that work with their AOL software.

    But now with USB G3 based modems you can get an Internet connection almost anywhere for $40/month or lower. Plus many places offer free Wifi. So there isn't much need for dial-up access local numbers anymore. Cricket has a pay as you go plan, so you can pay for G3 access before you go on vacation and have a whole month to use it.

  • AOL was WHAT? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by argent (18001) <<moc.agnorat.6002.todhsals> <ta> <retep>> on Friday May 29, 2009 @10:10PM (#28146435) Homepage Journal

    "Perhaps AOL would have regained some speed and become the prominent household name it once was, instead of being that company who sent us all the free coasters."

    They were ever anything else?

    I always saw AOL as the online service for people who didn't want to type. Was there ever a time AOL had, like, actual street cred?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by eln (21727)

      AOL was responsible for Eternal September...so whatever the opposite of street cred is, that's what they've got.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by afabbro (33948)

      "Perhaps AOL would have regained some speed and become the prominent household name it once was, instead of being that company who sent us all the free coasters."

      They were ever anything else?

      I always saw AOL as the online service for people who didn't want to type. Was there ever a time AOL had, like, actual street cred?

      Street cred? If you mean "cool", then no. However, there was a time - in fact, quite a long time - before the Internet was open to the public. I used CompuServe and GEnie from the mid-80s through the early 90s. Most people I knew used Prodigy, AOL, etc. All of these were subscription services where you signed up for dial-up access.

      The idea of an "ISP" - one that simply provided you the same connectivity as anyone else - didn't come along until the mid-90s or perhaps a little later (at least in terms of

      • There was a time in the vicinity of 1993 where AOL was perhaps the best way to get nationwide dialup Internet access, when Compuserve and Prodigy were still walled-off enclaves. AOL has always had that side also, but in the early 1990s, they were also a decently-reliable decent-speed nationwide dialup ISP. Run the AOL client, connect in, minimize it, and run your favorite Internet app. Oh, and they also had usenet newsgroups at that time.
        • by argent (18001)

          Oh, and they also had usenet newsgroups at that time.

          Yes, I remember the September that never ended.

          I also remember being tech support for my inlaws' AOL service. Decently reliable? What were you smoking?

      • by argent (18001)

        No, I mean respect, kid. Yes, I remember Compuserve. I had a low CI$ id, even. You had to know how to type to use Compuserve. AOL was the online service for people who didn't know how to type. It had no respect even back then.

  • by pthisis (27352) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @02:04AM (#28147461) Homepage Journal

    Isn't that _backwards_? I mean, I know AOL is a laughingstock now, but they paid $164 billion to purchase Time-Warner in 2001. AOL bought Time-Warner, not the other way around. Doesn't the owner spin off the subsidiary?

    It was a brilliant move by them at the time to turn Internet bubble money into real money.

    • by Dysproxia (584031)
      AOL is a subsidiary of Time Warner, formerly known as AOL Time Warner, which also has subsidiaries such as Time Inc., Warner Bros Entertainment, etc. To learn more about the history of commerce, go to your nearest Internet [aol.com].
      • by Carewolf (581105)

        Yes, after restructuring. They are trying hard to hide the the fact that AOL bought Time Warner.

  • I gotta say that AOL was destined to fail for the same reason GM and Enron and sub prime lenders crashed: Its a RAW DEAL. I was a VERY EARLY adopter of AOL. Back in the day of floppy mailers (way before CD) I was already on a local BBS (Nitelog now Redshift.com) with my brand new 486 with math co processor, Windows 3.0 and an new super blinding fast 14.4 modem (maybe lower) and I thought it was go cool to be able to leave the dos 5 command line, and be in GUI land. But honestly, my enthusiasm for AOL decaye
  • The problem with the notion of Time Warner making AOL an exclusive media outlet is that Time Warner isn't the monolithic corporation many like to think it is. This is less true today than it was back when the merger (which was really, as others have mentioned, AOL buying Time Warner, even though it was spun to the media as a merger) took place, but it still operates in a somewhat looser fashion than many corporate behemoths. Time Inc. was always fairly decentralized, with different divisions setting their

  • A totally squandered opportunity. Just when broadband is becoming relatively cheap and ubiquitous and we are moving into the era of rich online content, pay-for-view media, online gaming etc. Where is the AOL version of the iPlayer. Where are the AOL set-top boxes, with the pay for view content. They had the content, they had the network infrastructure, and what did they do with it, nothing !
  • AOL's merger with Time Warner and wanting to increase their bottom line by selling or closing all of Time Warner's businesses that did not have large profit margins is the reason WCW was killed off and sold in 2001. (I'm sure there aren't many wrestling fans among Slashdotters, but liken it to EA swallowing up and closing or otherwise ruining game studios that you liked.) I feel bad for whichever company ends up being unfortunate enough to buy AOL, the business is likely not salvageable, and there is cert

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