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Microsoft to Buy Stake in AOL

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the they-must-need-blank-cds dept.

Microsoft 333

NetDanzr writes "According to various sources (Bloomberg, Reuters, CNet), Microsoft is in talks with Time Warner to buy a stake in AOL. While the size of the stake or its prize has not been disclosed yet, Bloomberg speculates that this deal would profit both companies. Microsoft would profit from merging the AOL portal with MSN, as a strategy to catch up with his rivals in this space Yahoo and Google, while Time Warner would gain some ammunition in its fight with a renegade shareholder, Carl Icahn. According to CNBC, AOL is just about to turn the corner and is currently the most undervalued division of Time Warner."

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holy shit! (1, Troll)

bit trollent (824666) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566383)

this is incredible.

are you guys going to make some jokes about this?

Re:holy shit! (5, Insightful)

Coneasfast (690509) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566461)

are you guys going to make some jokes about this?

this is no joke.

hotmail was good, and it was popular.
MS took it over and turned it into the most worst email (the low storage, the spam, the restrictions, etc) service ever. nevertheless, people keep using it because it's what they always used or what their friends use.

now take AOL, something already crappy. i can't possibly imagine what microsoft can do it. maybe this time around people will actually shy away to something else.

Re:holy shit! (2, Funny)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566549)

Dude...you just said most worst...incredible...

Re:holy shit! (5, Funny)

KDN (3283) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566464)

Sure, now we're going to be innundated with Windows CD's offering 1000 hours of Windows free with your credit card.

Re:holy shit! (0, Insightful)

SalsaDoom (14830) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566688)

Holy shit indeed!! One thousand hours... thats like 41 days.

Do you think its possible they might be able to tweak a windows install to be able to run for 41 days?! :)

--SD

Re:holy shit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13566652)

are you guys going to make some jokes about this?
do you even know where you are?

holy crap (2, Funny)

DarkProphet (114727) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566384)

this marks the end!

The end of what ? Anybody remember when... (4, Insightful)

OneInEveryCrowd (62120) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566447)

Sperry Univac merged with Burroughs at the end of the mainframe era and how that merger turned the mainframe business around ???

Me too! (2, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566494)

Indeed! Microsoft is putting a stake through AOL!
 

woohoo (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13566386)

Finally putting the two largest scum of the earth together!!

Now hopefully, we can get rid of them both when this fails.

Re:woohoo (5, Funny)

richdun (672214) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566485)

Finally putting the two largest scum of the earth together!!

SCO's involved in this?

Re:woohoo (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566574)

Finally putting the two largest scum of the earth together!!

SCO's involved in this?

Nah, SCO is a very small scum of the earth. They just make up for it by being extra-scummy.

Re:woohoo (1)

richdun (672214) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566702)

Nah, SCO is a very small scum of the earth. They just make up for it by being extra-scummy. Ah, I see, that makes sense. I was always told that being small doesn't matter if you can make up for it with a good performance...er, uh...I mean my friend was told that...yes...my friend...(runs away)

Re:woohoo (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566603)

Finally putting the two largest scum of the earth together!!

SCO's involved in this?


Well, while I sympathize with the implication that SCO is scum of the earth, SCO is not large.

I completely believe the CNBC statement (4, Funny)

seniorcoder (586717) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566389)

Why wouldn't a statement come from CNBC declaring this to be a good purchase? It is from such an unbiased source after all.

Re:I completely believe the CNBC statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13566449)

How can you be so cynical? MSNBC has no agenda but to educate and spread good cheer.

I first read that as... (1)

loimprevisto (910035) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566566)

I first read that post as "Why wouldn't a statement come from CDC declaring this to be a good purchase?"

I mean sure, Microsoft is bad... and, erm, so is AOL... and, umm, well- wait a minute, can we get a statement from the CDC about this? I sense a plague of *epic* proportions.

Re:I completely believe the CNBC statement (1)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566629)

It's not really about being biased. It says it is a good purchase for them, it didn't say it was a good purchase for us...though it might be good for us. Not everything a big company does has to be evil.

In other news... (1)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566682)

GE is selling CNBC to the News Corporation. Rupert Murdoch was quoted as saying, "CNBC would fit in nicely with our current network, Fox News. As always, we strive to deliver the most biased and unreliable news while also causing a record number of seizures due to our over-elaborate marketing devices."

No, NOOOOO! (4, Funny)

Knight Thrasher (766792) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566391)

FIREFOX HAS NO MOUSE GESTURE TO EXPRESS MY HORROR!!!!!!!!!!

This is the single most terrifying news I've heard all week. I'd almost... no, I WOULD prefer an asteroid the size of Texas hurdling at the Earth.

Re:No, NOOOOO! (5, Funny)

RapmasterT (787426) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566403)

Might I suggest a finger gesture instead?

Re:No, NOOOOO! (1)

ShibbyShagDeluxe (818722) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566703)

AOhelL and Micro$haft coming together, truly a match made in heaven...

Oh no. (5, Funny)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566395)

Just when you thought the world was safe, evil and evil unite. Been nice knowing you guys. I'm off to read "revelations" to see what's about to go down.

Re:Oh no. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13566446)

You mean Revelation. It is not plural.

Bye bye Netscape (4, Insightful)

RancidMilk (872628) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566399)

Does this mark the end of netscape???

Re:Bye bye Netscape (1)

Nohea (142708) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566443)

I lit a candle at work to mark the passing of Netscape 7 years ago...

Re:Bye bye Netscape (2, Informative)

mopslik (688435) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566450)

Does this mark the end of netscape?

I'm not an AOL user, so I don't know if AOL even uses Netscape anymore. But their Downloads page says that AOL Explorer [aol.com] is based on IE.

In any case, there's always Mozilla/Firefox...

Re:Bye bye Netscape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13566456)

No, I believe the lasted-way-too-long Netscape 4.7 and the unusable piece of crap known as Netscape 6 marked the end of Netscape.

Re:Bye bye Netscape (2, Informative)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566522)

As if there was any Netscape left to end. The thing is these days nothing but a rotting husk or an aimlessly wandering ghost. Go google for "brand necrophilia" and see what comes up.

I wouldn't be least bit surprised if I saw "Microsoft Netscape" or whatever. At least that would put end to all of those jokes about confused people calling tech support.

New Mod Needed (2, Interesting)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566657)

+1 Question

How does this simple question get marked so insightful. Anytime someone mentions anything about any browser people pop-up the question that includes "end of netscape?"

Re:Bye bye Netscape (again) (2, Informative)

ear1grey (697747) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566730)

  1. Netscape the company is long gone. There are a few people left, but 99% of the "original" 4000 or so employees who had an @netscape.com email address moved on. Look at people.netscape.com [netscape.com] and compare it to this archived version [archive.org] from 2000.
  2. The brand has already been repeatedly scuttled by (among other things):
    1. the squandering of the server assets by AOL (to the benefit of Sun)
    2. the missed opportunity for AOL to run on Netscape products.
    3. the "Netscape Online" ISP that failed to ignite much interest.

Just be thankful that the Mozilla Foundation is independent of AOL.

Let's see... (3, Insightful)

op12 (830015) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566400)

MSN is not used by more than a handful of people as Google and Yahoo have been doing it better and cover both the cluttered and non-cluttered interfaces (whichever you prefer).

And AOL has been steadily losing members.

Sounds like a match made in heaven.

Re:Let's see... (1)

mysqlrocks (783488) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566483)

Time Warner also held negotiations with Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo and Google, based in Mountain View, California, the Post said. Mike Love, a Microsoft spokesman based in Reading, England, declined to comment, as did Time Warner spokeswoman Mia Carbonell in New York.

Looks like Yahoo and Google weren't interested. No big surprise.

not to say it doesn't suck... (2, Informative)

mwigmani (558450) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566557)

...but MSN is used by more than a handful of people [alexa.com] .

What will happen to the AOL browser? (1)

3.5 stripes (578410) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566404)

Back to IE again?

I realize it's not a big deal, but it's something worth discussing I think.

AOL browser is IE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13566602)

AOL browser IS still built atop IE. There are some fancy interface changes, but its IE "technology" Occasionally AOL threatened to use other browsers, but its never followed through.
http://downloads.channel.aol.com/browser [aol.com]

Re:What will happen to the AOL browser? (1)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566674)

The latest AOHell browser is a monstrosity based on IE already.

Forget the browser, it's about IM (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566698)

AOL already use IE, and really, Mozilla isn't a threat to Microsoft right now; IE still has 90% of the market or thereabouts.

No, I predict that if this goes ahead, AIM is gradually killed off to be replaced with MSN, giving Microsoft instant monopoly control over instant messaging--and heading off the threat of Google Talk helping to open up IM.

Nooooooo (2, Interesting)

Mitchell Mebane (594797) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566406)

I thought the curse of the zombies was bad enough - now they'll be able to take over the world. Was the internet not bad enough already?

I wonder if this deal has been in the making for a while - it would explain why AOL decided not to use Gecko.

Microsoft + AOL (5, Funny)

Ann Elk (668880) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566411)

Two great things that... uhh... nevermind.

IE lock-in (4, Insightful)

phayes (202222) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566412)

More probably, buying into AOL is a good way for Microsoft to ensure that AOL never abandons IE for Mozilla...

Re:IE lock-in (1)

boy_of_the_hash (622182) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566630)

It also gives them a big user base to help foist their patent encumbered PRA baloney on the world.

Best news all week (1)

Valarauk (670014) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566418)

Now Microsoft will get what Time Warner got, and they'll get it good and hard.

Now that's insightful (3, Funny)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566601)

I think AOL is more of a Tar Baby than a Death Star style weapon of ultimate power.

Think about it - this is not about AOL per se.. (4, Insightful)

CdBee (742846) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566613)

Microsoft sees its future in the media distribution/licencing business - hence so much R&D of their proprietary secured codecs for audio and video.

AOL is presently owned by Time Warner

All I have to say is... (0, Redundant)

downhole (831621) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566424)

No good could possibly come from this.

I'm all for convergence (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566430)

MS A/S/L 1.0 will be crap, MS A/S/L 2.0 is where IT professionals will jump on board.

This is worrying (3, Insightful)

gowen (141411) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566434)

Given AOL/Netscape's prime role in Mozilla development, I'd suggest this might be a nice plan to slow down the opposition, too. Yes, the Moz Foundation is independent, but the last time I checked, many of the dedicated coders are still AOL employees.

Re:This is worrying (5, Informative)

sspurrier (915063) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566598)

Insightful? AOL divested of its contribution to Netscape a couple of years ago. While they still put out a netscape product based on mozilla they are no where near the main contributor to mozilla. Most of the main developers have long since moved on.

i don't get it (3, Insightful)

SamSeaborn (724276) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566436)

There must be some huge aspect of the internet that I'm just out of the loop on.

I don't use AOL, I don't use MSN ... I hardly even use instant messaging ... I just browse with Firefox and use email.

I hear about how AOL is a major corporation and I wonder ... how? why? I hear that MSN and AOL are apparently merging, and I wonder ... how does that affect me? Why do people care?

Really ... just ... don't ... get it. What am I missing?

Sam

Re:i don't get it (1)

chowhound (136628) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566678)

AOL -- repacking free stuff and selling it! How could it not be successful?

Re:i don't get it (2, Insightful)

ChocoBean (890202) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566680)

maybe it doens't affect you if you don't have relatives or friends or co-workers who in turn know other people from the states. The infiltration of MS and AOL is really deep in the "real" world, y'know.

Just because you don't happen to use something everyone's heard of doesn't mean it isn't important. Don't you remember the days of your youth when everything other people care about, you care about as well?

Acronyms (1)

xtermin8 (719661) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566697)

Between AOL And Microsoft, They have a monopoly on both two letter and three letter internet acronyms, AIM, MSN, IE, WIN, OE, IM, You've Got Mail...etc. There will soon be no room for further acronyms and they will have taken over the internet!!!

Re:i don't get it (1)

Fortyseven (240736) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566710)

I guess it's because they feast upon the uneducated. Not to mention the army of folks from the Windows 3.1 days who are just used to equating them with The Internets.

I guess now in the early 2000's, their little playground is starting to rust out. Finally.

This is all just purely personal opinion, however. :)

Re:i don't get it (2, Funny)

BristolCream (102658) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566713)

"What am I missing?"

Free coasters.

Does this mean that AOL... (1)

callipygian-showsyst (631222) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566438)

Does this mean that AOL will never complete its planned switch from IE to the browser it owns (Netscape)?

Re:Does this mean that AOL... (3, Informative)

ranson (824789) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566576)

> Does this mean that AOL will never complete its > planned switch from IE to the browser it owns > (Netscape)?

Don't know where you get your information, but there was never any public discussion of a planned switch. The Compuserve and Mac clients use Gecko, and while it was tested in the WIndows client, an official plan to switch has never been publicly acknowledged. I can assure you AOL will be using IE as the core browser for many years to come (and that was true even prior to the MSN deal talks).

One giant ball of EVIL (2, Funny)

TripleE78 (883800) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566448)

It's like all of the stupidity and evil on the web is forming together like some sort of monopolistic Voltron.

Does this mean Google is going to build a giant robot to compete?

Seriously, I haven't had enough coffee yet for this news, and it's before noon, so I can't hit the booze just yet.

~EEE~

Re:One giant ball of EVIL (1)

CoderBob (858156) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566707)

It's afternoon somewhere. Go ahead and take a shot or two.

Two wrongs (5, Funny)

tompercival (318073) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566457)

Is this an example of two wrongs not making a right?

Re:Two wrongs (5, Funny)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566560)

This is an example of two great big balls of suck combining to form a critical mass of suck the likes of which have never been seen. The sheer density of suckage will actually tear a hole in the internet.

AOL is undervalued? (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566465)

Yeah, most see it being worth about $1 total, but it's really worth $1.25...

Is this really a big deal? AOL crap has been installed with MS OSs forever. They have similar feels to them...the only difference is that AOL didn't have something they could achieve lock-in with.

Two desperate monster giants of the 90's that might have been able to save each other if they paired up a decade ago. MS is nearing the top of their own hill, and will be going down from there. AOL has been going down for a while. They probably think that by combining their dirt, they can both start going up again - they're wrong. Product placement isn't the problem, it's the product itself

Prize? (1)

lbmouse (473316) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566470)

While the size of the stake or its prize has not been disclosed yet...
 
What? Does a prize come in the box when they buy it? I would not call owning a piece of AOL a "prize".

Blarg (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13566472)


Microsoft and AOL. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy...

Bad deals this week (1)

tronicum (617382) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566478)

I thought eBay buying skype [slashdot.org] would be a bad deal.

But Microsoft buying AOL would make a company more eval than.. (remember M$ is already the most evil company, or was it Google nowadays?)

No More AOL CDs [nomoreaolcds.com] would have send the Millions CDs to Redmond then...that would be fun indeed.

I can't wait for my AOL CD with Windows Vista trial on it.

New portal names after merging (1, Funny)

zymurgy_cat (627260) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566488)

Hmmm...merging MSN and AOL....

L'MOANS
SLAMON
SALMON (mmmm...tasty web portal)
MAN-LOS
MOLSAN (mmmm...brewed web portal...but subject to trademark fight...)

Re:New portal names after merging (4, Funny)

Mitchell Mebane (594797) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566691)

How about A/S/L, MON?

AOL != Mozilla Foundation (4, Insightful)

Beuno (740018) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566493)

I do not see how MS buying AOL stock is going to change ANYTHING at all in the Mozilla Foundation.
They are self-sufficient, independent and have been since at least the start of FireFox.
I think there are more programmers working in google then in AOL.

Profit! (1)

Capeman (589717) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566497)

Profit is all they want!

Holy Anti-Trusts Batman! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13566501)

There you are folks, that's what your hard earned tax dollers buy you: More money for Bill and his kind.

This isn't a demo vs rep issue. This is the public not realizing that either party has their best interest at hand.

Undervalued? (1)

twosmokes (704364) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566504)

AOL is just about to turn the corner and is currently the most undervalued division of Time Warner

Wasn't the fact that AOL was terribly overvalued what allowed them to merge with Time Warner in the first place?

Throwing chairs (1)

ccozan (754085) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566512)

Might be just the beginning of what Ballmer promised?

Basic Math (1)

malchus6 (870609) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566516)

A negative plus a negative equals a negative

So, what's the problem? At least now i can combine my 2 largest sources of spam into one!!

prize or price? (2, Informative)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566529)

...Microsoft is in talks with Time Warner to buy a stake in AOL. While the size of the stake or its prize has not been disclosed yet...

Disclaimer: English is not my 1st language!

...but I think it is supposed to be price in the introductory sentence.

Re:prize or price? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566662)

You could be right. Or, they could have been referring to a gamble by Microsoft... The 'stake' is the amount that you invest/wager; the 'prize' is the amount you receive if you win.

Why this matters to analysts is that Microsoft could purchase the shares above current market value, which might cause a revaluation of AOL stock. Alternatively, if MS is overpaying, they could be faced with taking the difference between purchase price and value as a loss.

This is so last century. (1)

bill_911 (39606) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566532)

This will be a perfect match for those who use MSN and/or AOL daily.

When I heard the news I literally laughed out loud.

I mean, AOL still markets with those grossly ineffective CDs. My 84 year old mother (and about a dozen of her friends) received a round of these coasters just last week at their retirement community. The AOL envelope had to be delivered to their door (who knows why). She asked the concerge who handed her the envelope, "What do I do with this." He replied, "You toss it in the trash bin."

What is MS thinking? M$ should focus on the business world where they can bully people into doing what they want them to do.

Make peace with any gods you believe in (4, Funny)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566534)

The moment the new combined AOL/MSN portal goes online, it will generate a vortex of suck large enough to consume the entire solar system, leaving nothing behind but a cloud of waveforms and probabilities.

Bye Bye, Netscape, Winamp, etc... (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566542)

All of these little competing applications will disappear in short order...

Time Warner will own Bill Gates ... (1)

JoeStreet (113907) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566550)

Time Warner will own Bill Gates just like they did Ted Turner and Steve Case. Check the old headlines. Ted Turner "thought" he was buying Time Warner. AOL "thought" they were buying Time Warner. Now look who's in control.

All I can say is watch your back Gates.

Windows + AOL (4, Funny)

rlp (11898) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566555)

So when will Gates announce that AOL is "part of the operating system"?

MS was feeling left out.... (5, Funny)

MrKahuna (789335) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566565)

Oracle buys Siebel.
eBay buys Skype.

Ballmer: (to Bill via bad cell phone connection) Billy-boy, what are we going to do? They're getting more press than us this week.
Gates: Eh? Oh hell! ( as he spills his coffee on his lap and hangs up)
Ballmer: Well, ok if you say so.

Is in talks (1, Flamebait)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566586)

This is not finalized. I'm wondering how this will play into the Antitrust settlement too. I don't see where this gives M$ a toe-hold into Google and Yahoo's search dominance. I CAN see where this give M$ a captive audience of sorts, but they had most of this people at "Hello" when they bought their Dell/HP/Compaq PC with Windows included. People are resetting their home page away from MSN.COM for a reason! It SUCKS! No one is saying, "MSN that and you'll find a page about..." People are killing MSN Messenger's autostart for a reason! IT SUCKS! People are moving away from AOL, why? IT SUCKS! They will gain some users but I'm far more suspicious of what this does to Netscape and Firefox than anything else. I'd think someone would drag them into court if they were too overt about killing off competing browsers...again. Who knows?

NY Post Original Article (1)

.Chndru (720709) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566597)

AOL'S TIME IS UP By TIM ARANGO In a deal that would unite two of America's corporate giants as partners in the Internet business, Time Warner is in advanced discussions to sell a stake in America Online to Microsoft, The Post has learned. According to two sources familiar with the matter, Time Warner is in talks with Microsoft about selling the stake in AOL and then combining it with Microsoft's Web unit MSN. Under the plan being considered, Microsoft would pay some money to Time Warner for the AOL stake, leaving the two companies approximately equal partners in the venture. While the deal could fall apart, the companies are hopeful they can wrap it up within the next couple of months. Talks are most advanced with Microsoft -- Time Warner management's preferred partner -- but the media giant has also had discussions with both Yahoo! and Google over a sale or venture with AOL, according to a source close to Time Warner. Time Warner's inclination to partner with a large tech company suggests that even if AOL's most recent strategy of becoming a free portal is successful, it may not be enough to keep the unit within the Time Warner fold. While AOL began testing the portal in June and has won plaudits for the quality of its videos and other features, the company has yet to make a big marketing push, even though it promised one by the end of August, noted Rich Greenfield, an analyst at Fulcrum. Greenfield, who said it's too early to judge whether the portal strategy is a success, believes Time Warner should wait before making a decision on the future of AOL. "I think it's too early for it to be sold or spun out," he said. AOL has seen the number of subscribers decline from 26 million in 2003 to fewer than 22 million now, as users fled AOL's dial-up service for broadband. Its portal strategy -- a reversal of its prior focus of offering exclusive content -- puts AOL in direct competition with Yahoo!, MSN and Google. The AOL discussions come as Time Warner management has been reviewing numerous strategic moves to boost the company's share price. And as other media companies such as Viacom work out plans to break apart after years of consolidation, Time Warner is likely to be a starkly different company a year from now. In addition to a likely AOL move, some or all of the company's cable unit will finally be spun off early next year. Beyond that, sources close to Time Warner's management say that Time Inc., the company's publishing unit, could be sold or spun off sometime next year if its performance doesn't improve. In addition to the strategic moves, Time Warner's Don Logan, who shares the No. 2 executive duties at the company with Jeff Bewkes, is expected to retire in 2006. Since the disastrous merger between Time Warner and AOL in 2000, about $200 billion in shareholder value has been wiped out. Until this year, company management had been hamstrung by fraud investigations by the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission, but those probes were settled for $510 million. Time Warner's Chairman Dick Parsons later put aside some $2 billion to settle shareholder litigation. Meanwhile, the company has been targeted by corporate raider-turned-shareholder-activist Carl Icahn, whose group has been amassing a stake in Time Warner and pushing for seats on the board of directors. http://www.nypost.com/business/28069.htm [nypost.com]

Interesting merge ... (1)

BlueTrin (683373) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566612)

... imagine all the possibilities. Your speakers could be shouting "you've got infected" or "You have to update windows / Are you sure you don't want to update Windows ?" every 5 minutes !

Bid to buy Netscape.... (2, Interesting)

Art Pollard (632734) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566622)

This could be viewed as Microsoft making a bid to buy Netscape. Remember that AOL owns what is left of Netscape. This of course, includes the FireFox browser as well.

So beyond the anti-trust issues surrounding a joined MSN-AOL portal / service, is the issue of Microsoft potentially owning at least a stake in the major browser that competes against Internet Explorer. Also, it is important to note that partial buy-outs are often precursors to complete buyouts.

Re:Bid to buy Netscape.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13566685)

That's just plaing wrong! You should check your facts better before spreading what amounts to FUD.

Firefox is owned by Mozilla which has its roots in and was initially developed by a lot of Netscape engineers (on the Netscape payroll) but Netscape/AOL/TimeWarner laid off all of those developers. Many of these developers have been rehired by Mozilla Foundation but there is no longer any real connection to Netscape/AOL/Timewarner.

Funny: (1)

dannyelfman (717583) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566633)

``You've got assimilated''

REPENT!! The End is NEAR (1)

ChocoBean (890202) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566635)

leaving the two companies approximately equal partners in the venture,

EQUAL!?

[/hyperventilates]

Does this means that most new computers will be shipped with not only Windows, Explorer, Windows Media, MSN, (etc) but now with AOL crap which is notorious for not being easilly gotten rid of?! GAAH!!!!

imagine if you will: the millions upon millions of MS users who are now ------[dramatic cadence] AOL USERS [Dun Dun DUN!]

Heavenly Delight (2, Insightful)

rapturizer (733607) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566636)

AOL's lousy service plus M$'s lousy software, all forced upon corporations = $$$ for the consultants who will have the misfortune of making it (at least attempting to)work.

Re:Heavenly Delight (3, Insightful)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566708)

Hey I'm a consultant - break out the champagne!

Google? Aol? (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566639)

Current Fortune Cookie: Danger! Dragon in Flight!

No electronic village will be safe during these dark times.

Like sending a tanker of fuel... (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566651)

...to the post-iceberg Titanic. When they get there, they'll start selling lifeboats.

Voila, an MSN almost the population of AOL.

Unless Bill is simply tired of actually lighting his money on fire, this seems to be a fruitful motive.

Does this mean... (1)

rxmd (205533) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566664)

...free Windows CDs for everyone?

convicted monopolist (1)

muzza (64255) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566669)

Can a convicted monopolist (and a predatory one at that) buy even a share in a competing company??? Surely not?

Eventually... (1)

TarryTops (888130) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566676)

everyone will merge with everyone.

Are They Just Buying The Legal Dept.? (1)

PingXao (153057) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566679)


What, the SCO thing didn't work out?

New AOL/MSN slogan (1)

theantipop (803016) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566690)

"It's the only thing you can use, no wonder it's #1"

What a turnaround (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566696)

AOL is just about to turn the corner and is currently the most undervalued division of Time Warner

What a turnaround, it can't be more than 2 years since I was reading that AOL was the most overvalued business ever sold or bought.

Does this mean that even with the dot-com bubble burst, and with rumours of a new comms 'super-bubble' on the horizon, analysts STILL consider AOL as worth more than the music & the films & the TV?

Interesting name combo (1)

Killer Instinct (851436) | more than 9 years ago | (#13566727)

Obligatory new name reference : AhOLe-soft
Seems fitting...
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