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Time Warner Considering Demerging with AOL

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the dream-on dept.

105

Gracenotes writes "According to the Daily Telegraph, America Online CEO Jonathan Miller notes that AOL might be successful enough to break away from Time Warner and still remain in business. According to Miller, AOL is providing many online services, which provide competition against Google, Yahoo, and other rivals. Since its merger with Time Warner and plummet in value, such features have been increasingly emphasized."

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Providing services? (5, Funny)

airencracken (993443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543218)

The same services that can be had for five dollars in full metal jacket. Sucky Sucky.

Re:Providing services? (4, Informative)

shmlco (594907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543614)

Forget that, what about "demerging"? I don't think that word means what they think it means...

demerge: \De*merge"\, v. t. [L. demergere.] To plunge down into; to sink; to immerse.

Re:Providing services? (3, Informative)

Sam Ritchie (842532) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543938)

The word 'demerger' is quite commonly used in business, in Australia at least. Verbing it appears to be valid as well, if you dig through the link below.

Demergers page on Australian Tax Office website [ato.gov.au]

Re:Providing services? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16544428)

Yeah, a lot of words are commonly used in business, but it doesn't mean they're actual words, or that they are being used correctly.

Re:Providing services? (5, Funny)

shaneh0 (624603) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544988)

> Yeah, a lot of words are commonly used in business, but it doesn't mean they're actual
> words, or that they are being used correctly.

Like "Honesty," "Integrity" and "Ethics" for example.

Words (2, Insightful)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 7 years ago | (#16546768)

If you can say it, it's a word.

Dictionary's reflect language; language doesn't wait for the next Webster-Merriam standard revision.

Besides, demerger is a word, even in that context. [reference.com]

Re:Words (1)

Helen Keller (842669) | more than 7 years ago | (#16547208)

If you can say it, it's a word.
MnngehfffkMMMMMtard.


Dictionary's reflect language
Gmmmm dic tionMMMary's mmmmmwhat?

Re:Words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16552736)

LOL! I wonder when we can expect to see "fhqwhgads [hrwiki.org] " in Merriam-Webster's ...

Re:Words (3, Insightful)

foamrotreturns (977576) | more than 7 years ago | (#16548680)

I'm not sure that you should be engaging in any discourse of grammatical or linguistic nature if you can't grasp the difference between contractions and plurals.

Re:Providing services? (2, Funny)

milatchi (694575) | more than 7 years ago | (#16546110)

If that's what demerge means then I think it's too late.

Re:Providing services? (1)

AVonGauss (1001486) | more than 7 years ago | (#16547090)

Good point, but are you sure this really isn't a case of correct usage? Or maybe they should have used jettison? ;)

Re:Providing services? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16543740)

ehhhh?????

lol (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16543224)

lol

Hooray for AOL... (4, Interesting)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543242)

AOL might be successful enough to break away from Time Warner and still remain in business

Can anyone actually think of a reason this is good news?

Re:Hooray for AOL... (5, Funny)

SnprBoB86 (576143) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543268)

yes... that "might"... that means they might NOT be able to stay in business. HURRAY!

Re:Hooray for AOL... (5, Funny)

benplaut (993145) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543642)

Oh, cmon. It's much better to see them die slowly and painfully than not stay in business.
Besides, my frisbee supply is running low.

As long as they don't... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16543272)

merge with M$

Re:As long as they don't... (1)

miamicanes1990 (1015925) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543300)

oh brother

Re:As long as they don't... (3, Funny)

cofaboy (718205) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543656)

Whats the problem with that?

Clueless, uses MS Windows + AOL
Non-clueless, block all that is AOL,
Non-clueless, internet experience improves 30,000%

No problem

Re:Hooray for AOL... (4, Insightful)

Elminst (53259) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543950)

As a Time Warner employee, I (and nearly all of my co-workers) can't wait till they drop the fucking dead weight that is AOL.

Re:Hooray for AOL... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16545628)

And I hope you drop dead and die. Time Warner sucks. Bring back the NFL network.

Re:Hooray for AOL... (3, Insightful)

macthulhu (603399) | more than 7 years ago | (#16545930)

Amen to that. I wrapped up ten years at TW in June, so I got some of the before, during, and after AOL. It's like hiring a guy to come in your office and trash it every morning before you get there. Then, while you try to clean it up so you can start your work day, they sneak up behind you and kick you in the balls. The whole process repeats when you leave for lunch.

Re:Hooray for AOL... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16546948)

What's the dead-weight? AOL pulled in profits the entire time... and pulled in more profit than most other TW divisions. It just hasn't in the beginning, and the profits have been actively shrinking in the mean time... but they're still PROFITS, aren't they?

Re:Hooray for AOL... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16549436)

As an AOL employee, I hope TW does spin-off AOL. Of course, after filling the management ranks with your fucking useless old guard media fuckos, I'm not sure it matters like it would have if this had never happened. Oh, and go fuck yourself, holier-than-thou TW prick. Look at the profit AOL generated to pay down TW debt you brought to the table. I think it was $18 billion in 2000. The money Google paid for a 5% stake? Swallowed whole by the TW "profit" machine. The only other part of the company that had a guaranteed profit was the cable company... a fucking monopoly. They should spin off AOL and split the rest of TWX up too.

AOL Buying TWX? Worst. Idea. Ever.

Re:Hooray for AOL... (1)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544922)

Can anyone actually think of a reason this is good news?

Because hopefully any positions that were deemed "redundant" after the merger would be made available again, which gives some additional people work. Maybe.

Re:Hooray for AOL... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16551892)

Well, I use roadrunner and I'd be glad to know none of my money would be going even indirectly to AOL.

BTW, isn't time warner part fo Comcast now? In my area (Minneapolis, MN) that pretty much means they have a cable Monopoly now...

Seems like Time Warner wants to cut its losses (5, Insightful)

Uncle Snuffagus (840511) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543274)

from TFA... ""I don't believe there is a scenario whereby we could have an independent AOL." Successful enough to break away? Thats not how I read it!

Re:Seems like Time Warner wants to cut its losses (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16545308)

I think many people - especially Warner investors - must be interested why investments into merger did not pay off.

Thou it is apparent, that both AOL and Warner have problem innovating and adjusting business to changing reality. They might have being killer combination, but as of yet, Apple's iTMS does now what they have promised many years ago but never delivered.

Re:Seems like Time Warner wants to cut its losses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16546222)

This reminds me of when the White Star Line decided to "de merge" itself from the Titanic. You know, the ship had become successful enough to go it alone.

AOL's Niche market (3, Funny)

pookemon (909195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543338)

They'll be successful on their own because they have a niche market. It's the "Freedom of Information" market...

The saga, counterstrike-style (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16543340)

AzeroL: OMG TK! HAX! T-dub: OMG, JOIN CT A0! AzeroL: LOL K THX! T-dub: WE RNT DOING VARY GUD! AzeroL: K I WILL RETHRINKG STRATEGY! FOCUS ON SEARCH SERV1C35! T-dub: LOL K RGR. AzeroL: LOOK THE TK HACKER LEAVe! T-dub: YAY! AzeroL: /rank AzeroL: WOW, OK, I AM GOING T T-dub: WHY? AzeroL: KTHXBYE

Formatted! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16543394)

Sorry, I forgot to format that, as stupid as it was in the first place.

AzeroL: OMG TK! HAX!
T-dub: OMG, JOIN CT A0!
AzeroL: LOL K THX!
T-dub: WE RNT DOING VARY GUD!
AzeroL: K I WILL RETHRINKG STRATEGY! FOCUS ON SEARCH SERV1C35!
T-dub: LOL K RGR.

Ten minutes later...

T-dub: YAY!
AzeroL: /rank
AzeroL: WOW, OK, I AM GOING T
T-dub: WHY?
AzeroL: KTHXBYE

win win situation (2, Funny)

Kuku_monroe (753761) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543342)

Just imagine how much they will save. I mean, hat's 2 words less to print on the aol cds!

Are they serious? AOL? Successful? (5, Informative)

thewldisntenuff (778302) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543344)

AOL just cut 1400 jobs in Arizona and New Mexico. [cbsnews.com] Not only that, but in another interesting story - [itnews.com.au]

Internet service provider AOL's sales may shrink for the next two years as it gives away services to win more users and attract advertising, its chief executive said in an interview published on Saturday.

"Maybe another two years, you are right there," Jonathan Miller said when asked by German newspaper Die Welt whether sales would continue to fall. "But it's about profitability for us in this phase." ...

In recent weeks, AOL has sold its Internet access units in Germany, France and Britain for a total of almost US$2 billion as it reshapes itself into a free Web portal where popular email and entertainment services are supported by advertising.

The only, ONLY thing holding AOL still together are people who are less internet savvy and those who cling to AOL email addresses for their lives (certain professionals, businesspeople, et al). Creating a successful and large advertising group sounds like it'd be tricky in such a large market. Most people think of AOL the ISP or the portal than the advertising giant.

Finally, it should be noted that AOL spokesman John Buckley said "Time Warner ``is not considering a sale or demerger,'" [bloomberg.com]

Re:Are they serious? AOL? Successful? (5, Funny)

bm_luethke (253362) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543598)

"The only, ONLY thing holding AOL still together are people who are less internet savvy"

My uncle swears that AOL's browser is WAY better than MSIE, Netscape, or Opera (I've had him use all of them over trying to find one he can use). AOL works and the others never do - including allowing him to login to e-bay and page rendering. I wouldn't say "internet savvy" as much as "computer savvy".

He dropped DSL to go back to dial up because it was too "hard" to add a new e-mail through the browser - he needed AOL. I'm not real sure how he is taking the change. I know he is happy to be back in the fold, but I still hear him say he is going to go do something tonight that I know dial-up will never do (for instance, download and burn a DVD - good luck getting that done in a few hours on dial-up even though he swears it works fine). I think there is a certain amount of pride that will not allow him to say I am correct - I know he didn't download a 200+ meg file in the last 15 minutes on dial-up regardless of what he tells me.

*shrug*. I can not really understand being that clueless on anything. While there are many many many things I know nothing about I tend to either a) trust those that are experts and do as they say (and not argue with them) or b) learn enough to do it myself. Option A isn't a big deal - there are too many things out there to know enough about (for instance, I depend on a car mechanic even though I *could* learn to do it on my own - I just do not have the time to do so and I do not enjoy working on a vehicle). Though even then I try and learn *something* about any thing I use daily/weekly, enough so that I can somewhat tell if someone is trying to rip me off or enough so that I can converse/understand what the experts tell me is wrong.

There is obviously a market for those types of people. While my uncle is one of the worst I know, he still is not that unique. And I do not think they will ever really advance, they do not want too.

Re:Are they serious? AOL? Successful? (1)

tranceyboy (1016910) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543836)

get him firefox with a google mail account.... and watch his world chage, you might want to install AIM so he can keep all his old buddies.

Re:Are they serious? AOL? Successful? (4, Insightful)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544250)

I know plenty of people who won't switch to Firefox from IE for the exact same reason. Deep down they understand that Firefox is a much better browser, but they find computers so intimidating that they are scared stiff about something so simple as switching their web browser.

People on slashdot often forget that we do not represent the majority. Just because people like us recognise when something is far better and are willing to spend 20 minutes switching, the majority are terrified that changing anything on their computer will stop it working (or I guess something along those lines).

Which is why there are so many countless stories of irrational 'upgradeaphobia' (my word, I claim it!) by otherwise quite intelligent people.

Re:Are they serious? AOL? Successful? (2, Interesting)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 7 years ago | (#16546292)

Of course, if your family members (even mom and dad) were using the web starting back at Netscape 1.x, it's way easier to get them to use Firefox.

"Oh, this? It's the latest version of Netscape. Oh, and mom, email is now in a separate program so it loads faster. You just double-click this icon that looks like an envelope with a bird on it."

Did I mention that my mother doesn't do much web browsing? I think she's happier now that "Netscape" has email as a separate program.

Re:Are they serious? AOL? Successful? (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16547324)

What I like to say is, "Remember when Netscape used to be good? Well, the good Netscape is back as two separate programs now: Firefox (for web browsing) and Thunderbird (for email)."

Some people have bad memories of Netscape 4, mind you. :)

Re:Are they serious? AOL? Successful? (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 7 years ago | (#16550660)

I'm one of those people who had bad memories of Netscape 4. My parents actually refused to move away from Netscape, though.

They kept using Netscape 4 until Netscape 6 came out, then they wanted to move back to 4 because they hated 6's interface. Hence the move to Firefox/Thunderbird. :P

Re:Are they serious? AOL? Successful? (1)

Cr33pybusguy (1012459) | more than 7 years ago | (#16548988)

Couldn't have said it better. If they need more convincing put the stumbleupon bar on firefox for them. My father swears my mother hasn't left the computer since I've done that and since it's his business machine there's alot of swearing directed at me. :D

Re:Are they serious? AOL? Successful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16546416)

Most of the time, I use debian on my machine. I use the debian Mozilla package. On the few occasions when I put Windows 98 on my computer I use Internet Explorer. The reason very briefly that I do so is because Internet Explorer is more responsive on Windows 98 than any other browser I have tried. I do not like Firefox nor do I understand why anyone would like Firefox. I do like the old Mozilla browser. Deep down in my heart of hearts I know that some people think Firefox is a better browser. I do not. It is just a matter of preference. Now I will spend the next twenty minutes getting rid of Windows 98 and reinstalling debian on my machine :)

Re:Are they serious? AOL? Successful? (1)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#16546868)

I would agree that IE is more responsive on Win 98 than Firefox is. But then again as the first version of Firefox was released almost 6 years after Win 98 I don't think this is surprising. I must say though that after installing Win 98 a couple of months ago on a computer which was really slow running Win XP, I miss the good old days when speed was more important than fading menu's etc.

Re:Are they serious? AOL? Successful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16544346)

AOL can sign on through TCP/IP (which means DSL & AOL) and currently, AOL will let you sign on for 10 bucks a month with "bring your own connection" which allows for customer support or for free which means no support.

But you still get to use the AOL Client.

As for the browser, It's just IE embedded in the client.

PUT the man BACK on DSL and setup AOL to use TCP/IP in the dial settings. Best of both worlds.

Re:Are they serious? AOL? Successful? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544462)

If you ever come across the mythical clue stick, you have a guilt free target.

An age is not called dark because.... (1)

Greymoon (834879) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544502)

the light doesnt shine. It is called dark because people refuse to see it.

Re:Are they serious? AOL? Successful? (1)

burndive (855848) | more than 7 years ago | (#16550470)

Last I checked (which admittedly was a long time ago) you could sign on to AOL with BYO-access using the AOL program for free.

More fatalistic, uninformed jive (3, Insightful)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16545054)

The only, ONLY thing holding AOL still together are people who are less internet savvy and those who cling to AOL email addresses for their lives (certain professionals, businesspeople, et al).


Another +5 mis-informative comment. If you think that after all the years it's been in business, AOL is still just an ISP, then you haven't been paying attention. Their other properties [wikipedia.org] more than pay the light bill, so to speak. Just because you're not aware of them doesn't mean they don't exist.

If AOL has a problem, it's that they are TOO big. They have a finger in too many pies, and have strayed far from their roots. They have lost focus as a company, sure, but to intimate that they are hanging on a thin financial thread that will break if your granny stops using them as an ISP is absolutely ridiculous and dishonest.

Re:Are they serious? AOL? Successful? (1)

philwx (789834) | more than 7 years ago | (#16547242)


The only, ONLY thing holding AOL still together are people who are less internet savvy and those who cling to AOL email addresses for their lives (certain professionals, businesspeople, et al). Creating a successful and large advertising group sounds like it'd be tricky in such a large market. Most people think of AOL the ISP or the portal than the advertising giant.


If people won't cancel the service because of their email address they're pretty dumb, considering you get to keep it free now even if you cancel. The service is free if you have another Internet provider. Switching to free status is seamless. So no there is no reason to stay if they don't want to. People who aren't Internet savvy can switch to highspeed and still keep AOL. Companies like Netzero are advertising "switch to Netzero and get AOL free." They are truly switching to an advertising based approach.

Re:Are they serious? AOL? Successful? (1)

nmos (25822) | more than 7 years ago | (#16550154)

The only, ONLY thing holding AOL still together are people who are less internet savvy and those who cling to AOL email addresses for their lives (certain professionals, businesspeople, et al).

Agreed, and they seem to be working hard to alienate those users as fast as possible. I was recently helping an older woman get her computer feet back under her after a couple of years off. She was already familiar with AOL and wanted to keep using it. The problem was that the home page must have had 200 different links/buttons/pictures on it. Just finding her email or favorites etc was like some sick version of "Where's Waldo". It certainly wasn't easy. Add to that the fact that they seem to have moved all their support people over to India and I don't see any reason why even a beginner would want to use their service.

Re:Are they serious? AOL? Successful? (2, Interesting)

philwx (789834) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552156)

Agreed, and they seem to be working hard to alienate those users as fast as possible. I was recently helping an older woman get her computer feet back under her after a couple of years off. She was already familiar with AOL and wanted to keep using it. The problem was that the home page must have had 200 different links/buttons/pictures on it. Just finding her email or favorites etc was like some sick version of "Where's Waldo". It certainly wasn't easy. Add to that the fact that they seem to have moved all their support people over to India and I don't see any reason why even a beginner would want to use their service.

His post was actually a perfect example of why you should do some research before throwing a big rant. He said that the only thing keeping AOL afloat were people's attachments to email addresses and such, when those email addresses are now free. How does that keep them afloat exactly? Same goes for little old ladies, they can use AOL for free in conjunction with any other service, and still retain their "training wheels." What it does prove is that their business strategy has shifted to other venues, not making people dependent on their ISP.

I'm no fan of AOL, but have a low tolerance for misinformation. I've seen people say that AOL still uses 8 character email addresses in similar rants. Times change, what is true in 1995 doesn't hold forever.

In some ways a victim of its own success (4, Insightful)

99luftballon (838486) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543374)

AOL is suffering from a lot of things but in the UK what's really hurt them is the commoditisation of the internet. AOL made its reputation on ease of use, helping my mother and millions of other newbys get online. It was simple, well supported, and dominated the dial up market. Now broadband is the norm and accounts for over two thirds of UK internet connections. There are a handful of suppliers who all sell kit that is as easy to use as AOL's code and they are largely telcos who own the pipes rather than renting them. AOL is living off its old user base, which explains their tricky cancellation procedure. [digg.com] There's little to keep people at AOL now. It's underfunded its internet portal, AIM is interoperating with other IM systems and Google's beating the pants off AOL in local service provision. The Carphone Warehouse deal shows how little impact AOL has today. Maybe it'll spur a retro market for AOL emails...

Re:In some ways a victim of its own success (3, Interesting)

linuxci (3530) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543502)

In the UK I suspect a lot of run of the mill ISPs will die out with Sky (news corps UK satellite service) and mobile phone companies like Orange offering free broadband to their customers. I'm not sure why ntl:Telewest our biggest cable company has still not offered the service free yet but I'm sure they will so they don't lose out to Sky.

But with most people getting broadband for free once these rollouts complete the only market for a subscription ISP will be for those that need something the free ISPs don't offer (static IP's, usenet, etc), that's not an AOL niche.

Re:In some ways a victim of its own success (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543684)

I would hope most Telewest customers know when they are on to a good thing. I was on Telewest broadband since day 1 and I had maybe one minor outage a year and by the end was on 10mbit. I moved house to a non-Telewest area and had to go to ADSL which in comparison is frankly crap. Very flaky and I'm with what is supposed to be the UK's best ISP (Zen). It was also a rude shock to find out how many ADSL ISPs used packet shaping and low usage caps. I did some maths and realised I was pulling down 100Gb a month with Telewest so the ADSL limits of 5Gb a month or whatever came as a bit of a shock.

Re:In some ways a victim of its own success (1)

Ollierose (202763) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544168)

Perhaps thats why they aren't offering it free. The free services (certainly Skys, and probably Oranges as well) are capped down to what I thought were ridiculous levels, but now seem to be roughly half the standard in the paid market. Meanwhile, Telewest say up front that there are no limits of any sort on what you transfer.

I wouldn't be suprised to see the return of the old scheme from NTL where you get a not-so-broadband connection for a trivial amount (probably now free with phone or TV) which is limited to 128k in both directions. They are however trying to catch people with the 3 (basic DTV/Phone+free weekend calls/2Mbit BB) for £30 offer at the moment, which may be the reason why they're not going down the free route yet.

I got the usage limit info from http://www.telewest.co.uk/websales/service.do?id=2 [telewest.co.uk] which is fairly clear on the subject.

Re:In some ways a victim of its own success (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16544234)

Yeah, I think I'd rather pay my £25 a month for Blueyonder than use any ADSL service, and I sure as hell am not going to be using any "free" ADSL service: people don't sersiouly expect to get fast, uncapped connections with a decent contention ratio and good customer service from a "free" service, do they? People have short memories; how many "free" dial-up ISPs were there five years ago, and how many of those "free" services are still available now? Hell, Freeserve isn't even called Freeserve any more! I fully expect these "free" ADSL providers to do the same thing; peak quickly and then die out because of an unsustainable business model coupled with poor customer satisfaction.

Re:In some ways a victim of its own success (1)

bruciemoose (319876) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543548)

Yeah, I always did want @compuserve.com...

Re:In some ways a victim of its own success (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16543552)

The trouble is the vast majority of UK ISPs either apply rediculous download limits (30GB/month on a 16mbit line!) or utilise DPI traffic shaping methods on an 'unlimited' service (Tiscali for example). I pay for an internet connection not a web connection, and I don't expect to be throttled back to 10KB/s when I'm doing anything other then web browsing.

AOL are one of the very few (and shrinking) number of UK ISPs that offer a truly unlimited, reliable connection. (btw I don't use AOL, I'm just saying!) Maybe this will help them retain their market share? But as theyve been bought out by one of the worst ISPs in existance in the UK, I doubt it.

Re:In some ways a victim of its own success (1)

rHBa (976986) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543952)

This recording must be quite old as it sounds like the AOL operative speaks English as a first language. I just spent 2 hours trying to cancel a friends account, the first half hour was spent in a queue. When I eventually got through to the call center (in India) the line was very bad and the person on the other end claimed they couldn't hear what I was saying and hung up. I called again, spent another half hour in a queue and when I got through I couldn't understand what *they* were saying!!??!!

Successful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16543376)

I don't see how AOL can be considered successful, when they can't even provide their own search engine. At least Yahoo and MSN have their own search engines, but they still pale in comparison to Google. How can AOL possibly compete with Google, when they're using Google's search engine?

Corporate speak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16543380)

This is the corporate equavalent of severing an arm with gangre. They are trying to rescue the Time Warner stock by shedding a dog like AOL. It's doubtfull AOL can survive in the long run. It's overpriced and behind the times. They stuck by their business model too long. Also too many people had bad experiences with them. Why go back when there are good alternatives that are cheaper with better service?

Re:Corporate speak (2, Informative)

Jekler (626699) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543862)

The long run [wikipedia.org] is impossible to predict. Analysts never speculate about the "long run" because it is a time frame in which every factor of production is a variable, and therefore no accurate prediction can be made about it. You could say it's doubtful AOL can survive in the short run and perhaps be correct, but in the long run every factor about the business could change to the point AOL becomes a successful candy bar manufacturer.

Re:Corporate speak (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543990)

"They are trying to rescue the Time Warner stock by shedding a dog like AOL."

There's also talk about merging AOL into Time-Warner Cable prior to the upcoming TWC IPO which is supposed to raise money to let them buy up Adelphia and maybe even Cablevision Services down the road. Since AOL has had difficulties finding cable systems other than TWC to allow them to offer cable modem service, this might actually make sense.

On the other hand, we *are* talking about AOL, so the whole thing might go down in flames.

Re:Corporate speak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16544458)

TWC already has Adelphia (and Comcast).

Competition? (5, Funny)

Mantrid42 (972953) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543398)

AOL is competing with Google and Yahoo? I guess in the sense that a one-legged horse with rabies is competing in the Kentucky Derbie, that might be accurate... if the horse is also dead.

Re:Competition? (2, Insightful)

woodsrunner (746751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16546214)

Sad but true. Time Warner really blew it. They could have leveraged AOL's strength and really catapulted into the twenty-first century. Could you imagine what they would be like today if they had taken care of what they had in AOL? Instead of keeping it as a ISP whore, they could have made it into a media delivery powerhouse.

For example what if they offered their library of media along with the AOL subscription... they would have been there before iTunes even started.

What a waste.

True enough, but... (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 7 years ago | (#16546628)

AOL/TW did do one thing that I've not sen done ANYWHERE else, before or since. Does anybody remember Live 8 last year? Their coverage beat anything else out there, particularly when you compare it to MTV's coverage.

I don't think that was a majority of either TW or AOL, rather a combination of both orgs' strengths.

The web really was the best venue for that type of event. TV just didn't do it justice.

AOL can make it, we aren't their target audience (1)

djrok212 (801670) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543402)

An AOL split from Time Warner does two things. 1) Gets the looser off the back of TW 2) Lets AOL explore changes to it's business with out TW breathing down it's neck AOL can survive as a seperate entity if it reduces it's cost base (which it is, through layoffs and sales), and redirect the focus of the company to compete in a defined market. Think about it, who does AOL really compete with? Yes it's an Internet provider, but it's also a content provider, a portal provider, and many other things. I can't think of anyone who does all of those and more. If AOL moves to compete in an ad driven market, I think it can surive.

Re:AOL can make it, we aren't their target audienc (4, Insightful)

AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543424)

True, but I think the point is that the people that needed the internet, content, and the portal all-together are now starting to "grow up" and out of the AOL system. Even if AOL becomes free, there are plenty of other free, ad-free ways to get all three elements seperately nowadays.
I'm of the opinion that AOL is dying, and because of a combination of inconvenience, ads, and bad maneuvers in the past, it won't make make up for itself, even if a format change happens soon.

Re:AOL can make it, we aren't their target audienc (2, Interesting)

BewireNomali (618969) | more than 7 years ago | (#16545228)

I don't think AOL is dying. A free aol that offers search, mail, IM, and content under one umbrella is exactly what google is assembling. The concept of AOL is alive and well. We can definitely talk about implementation and how one differs from another, but frankly, the user is becoming less aware of what goes on under the hood as time goes along, not more. The concept of an all in one place for everything on a dumbed down terminal is becoming more practical to the end user. And in key places, AOL still has mindshare that it can leverage and a user base that it can monetize.

It needs new leadership, but to me AOL represents an opportunity, not a loss.

Re:AOL can make it, we aren't their target audienc (3, Interesting)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543566)

Yes it's an Internet provider, but it's also a content provider, a portal provider, and many other things.

AOL as a content provider is a sure loser. If you were trying to get to the largest possible audience with your product (TV show, music, etc...) would you go with a provider that has such a miniscule user base and lock out the rest?

LK

Re:AOL can make it, we aren't their target audienc (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543718)

I only dropped AOL fairly recently because I didn't have time to use it but for several years it was the chat rooms that kept me there. I had endless fun in rooms like 'War on Terror' swapping abuse with people or on the odd occassion someone with half a clue turned up, debating the issues of the day. The UK eventually blocked direct access to US chat rooms but I had the ones I used most bookmarked and those still provided access. The chat rooms were by and large killed by the restrictions put on them to stop evoildoers using them to take over the world or whatever excuse AOL had at the time.

Re:AOL can make it, we aren't their target audienc (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544094)

Think about it, who does AOL really compete with? Yes it's an Internet provider, but it's also a content provider, a portal provider, and many other things. I can't think of anyone who does all of those and more.
Lots of companies provide those services. What may be true is that no other single company provides all of them.

Question is, does the convenience of having a one stop shop outwiegh the fact that AOL don't do any of those things particularly well?

It would appear that the answer, for most people, is "no".

Re:AOL can make it, we aren't their target audienc (1)

OneSeventeen (867010) | more than 7 years ago | (#16545718)

I reluctantly agree, AOL can make it.

At work most of the guys at the top of the Org Chart use AOL at home. Why? Because it works with everything else they use. Their Cell phones, their iTunes store, etc.

It is surprising, but I've had a hard time convincing myself to push anyone towards a gmail account at work when AOL works with so many different services. I still think AOL is the Epson of ISP's, but that's because they assume (sometimes rightly) that their users are ignorant and incapable of doing anything without massive bloatware-provided hand-holding. But, what comes as a result of this is sometimes accidentally effective hand-holding that pulls in a larger market than logic can ever explain.

Obligatory Onion reference (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16543450)

Ted Turner Sends Self Back In Time To Prevent AOL Time Warner Merger
The Onion, 2003-03-12
http://www.theonion.com/content/node/27938 [theonion.com]

ATLANTA--According to a videotaped message airing exclusively on CNN, media mogul Ted Turner has sent himself back in time to January 2000 to avert the catastrophic merger of America Online and Time Warner.

"By the time you see this, I will have returned to Year Zero of the AOL Time Warner merger in a time machine of my own design," said Turner in the three-minute message, which first aired Monday on the Turner-owned cable news channel. "I will doggedly pursue [AOL Time Warner chairman] Steve Case and [former Time Warner CEO] Gerald Levin to stop this horribly misguided union of New Media and Old Media. And I will not return to my own time until the merger has been prevented."

AOL acquired Time Warner on Jan. 12, 2000, when the companies boasted a combined market value of $181.5 billion. The alliance quickly proved ill-fated, as few of the media synergies it promised proved feasible or profitable. This January, amid a plunging stock price and news that the new company posted a record $99 billion loss in 2002, Turner announced his resignation as AOL Time Warner vice-chairman.

Turner spokespersons say the mysterious, unseen time-travel device was developed under a veil of extreme secrecy at his Techwood Drive headquarters in Atlanta. Little else about the machine or Turner's mission is known.

"From what we understand, the machine acts only on living human flesh," Turner spokesman Marty Wells said. "If Mr. Turner has been successful, he has materialized in January 2000 completely nude, with no ID or money, save for a few billion dollars in Year 2000-value Time Warner stock. To survive, he'll need to steal clothing and rely on whatever crude weapons he can fashion with his bare hands."

Market watchers have expressed skepticism about Turner's chances.

"The merger occurred at the height of the Internet bubble, when conventional wisdom held that so-called 'New Economy' companies like Yahoo!, Excite, and AOL were the wave of the future," said Maria Bartiromo, host of CNBC's Closing Bell. "In such a heady, bullish financial climate, [Turner's] warnings of impending doom will likely be dismissed by Case and Levin as the ravings of a madman."

Corporate hubris, physicists say, is not the only obstacle facing Turner on his dramatic mission.

"Altering the flow of time is a dangerous and complex proposition," said Dr. Arthur Wistrom, a University of Chicago physics professor. "If Turner is not careful, he may unintentionally change the course of his own history, causing, for example, something to go awry with his loving, happy marriage to Jane Fonda."

Compounding Turner's troubles is an unconfirmed report that enemy forces within AOL have responded with their own time-travel initiative, dispatching back in time hundreds of cyborg drones disguised as ordinary mailmen to deliver CD-ROMs promising thousands of hours of free AOL access to every human household.

"Why anyone at AOL would want to do such a thing remains a mystery, as they lost more in the merger than anyone," Bartiromo said. "Perhaps somewhere within the vast Internet network of AOL subscribers, some malevolent cybernetic force has achieved sentience and is bent on the destruction of its human masters."

Turner's time-jump represents the latest in a series of high-stakes gambits for the maverick multi-billionaire.

"From his conversion of an independent Atlanta TV station into a cable 'superstation' to his purchase of the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks, his launch of CNN, and the historic merger of his media empire with Time Warner, Turner has built a career on taking big risks," Fortune reporter Doug Bergeron said. "But traveling back in time all by himself, a lone corporate soldier from the future facing nigh-impossible odds--that is arguably the most daring move he has made yet as an entrepreneur."

Though the odds are stacked against Turner, many are betting on him to prevail.

"The AOL Time Warner merger reduced Turner to a mere figurehead and ultimately cost him nearly $7 billion of his personal fortune," investment guru Warren Buffett said. "A lesser man would have crumbled in the face of such adversity. Yet we are talking about the man who in 1977 piloted his yacht Courageous to victory in the America's Cup, who in 1997 pledged to donate $1 billion to the U.N., and who, according to messages we have received from the future, will in 2013 single-handedly defeat the alien warrior-financier Zygax The Investorator in hand-to-hand combat. He is not just a brave corporate warrior. He is our economy's last, best hope."

have they tried calling AOL yet? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16543480)

AOL: Hi this is AOL, how can we help you?

TimeW: Well, I'd like to cancel my service

AOL: sorry to hear that, can we offer you our high speed internet services?

TimeW: No, thats ok.. I just want to cancel the account, I'm not a n00b anymore.

AOL: have you tried our great new chatting shizz?

TimeW: look, I want to quit, do it now plz kthx

AOL: I"m having a hard time understanding exactly what you want me to do?

(insert 9 more minutes of infuriating banter here)

anyway.. Time Warner knows they have a dinosaur on their hands.

Re:have they tried calling AOL yet? (2, Informative)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543660)

I had far better luck with AOL UK.
Me: I want to cancel my account
AOL: IS there a problem with the service?
Me: No, my pc died and I can't afford to fix it for some months.
AOL: OK, but if you come back in the next 6 months you can have your original account names still.
Me: Cool.
AOL: Ok, thanks for your call, bye.

Job done.

Re:have they tried calling AOL yet? (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544338)

America Online United Kingdom...isn't that an oxymoron?

Re:have they tried calling AOL yet? (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544466)

>isn't that an oxymoron?
It would be if it was called America Online. it is marketed purely as AOL with no mention of America Online.

Re:have they tried calling AOL yet? (1)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#16545374)

Besides which it no longer even has anything to do with America Online / AOL Time Warner Inc. as the company recently sold this UK arm. I was surprised when I first heard this as the UK is a very lucrative market being one of the most broadband connected countries on earth. It seems though this was actually the reason for the sale. As elsewhere, AOL UK has struggled to make money on broadband connections and with the UK having one of the most competitive broadband markets in the world it seems the biggest worldwide ISP of them all just couldn't compete.

I just wonder if parallels could be drawn with General Motors current problems in the USA?

This Just In (-1, Redundant)

Greymoon (834879) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543484)

Yawn

The conversation will go something like this.. (5, Funny)

Channard (693317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543514)

Time Warner Exec: Okay, it's decided. We're going to demerge with you.
AOL Exec: Really? Why do you want to demerge with us?
TW: I guess you weren't as profitable as we hoped.
AOL: Well, if I could offer you 10,000 free AOL shares would you consider not demerging?
TW: Look, it's a done deal. We're demerging. Just do it.
AOL: Really? You're sure I can't change your mind?
TW: We're demerging, dammit!
AOL: Let me put you onto my manager.
TW: Hey, wait, I just want to demerge *transfer*
AOL VP: So, sir. I gather you're thinking of demerging. Are you aware of the many benefits being merged with AOL offers.
TW: JESUS CHRIST! Just Dememerge already?
AOL VP: Okay, sir, just let me put you through to our demerging department.
*click*
TW: Hello? Hello? Fuckers! They hung up on me!

Re:The conversation will go something like this.. (3, Funny)

bytesex (112972) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543626)

Time Warner Exec: Okay, it's decided. We're going to demerge with you.
AOL Exec: Really? Look. It's _US_ who bought _YOU_. So _WE_ are going to demerge with _YOU_, not the other way 'round.
TW: Ha ! Loser. We are bigger now. _WE_ are going to demerge with _YOU_.
AOL: Hell no ! _WE_ are going to demerge with _YOU_ motherf$%^# !
TW: No ! Because I'm going to call the demerge department now !
AOL: Not if I can get there quicker ! Hello ?! Hello ?! Fucker ! He hung up on me !

Re:The conversation will go something like this.. (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#16545030)

>> AOL: Well, if I could offer you 10,000 free AOL shares would you consider not demerging? Shouldn't that be: AOL: Well, if I could offer you 10,000 free AOL hours would you consider not demerging?

Obligatory (2, Funny)

dteichman2 (841599) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543528)

Me too!

Translation (1)

kahrytan (913147) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543562)


Damn You AOL! You are sinking us in a hole! We must dump you now! Maybe that crummy OSTG will want it!?

AOL should demerge with the _real_ internet (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16543616)

But on the other side...

When I see that someone has an aol.com email address I know exactly what kind of "skilled" "CS" "expert" he is and can skip most (if not all) questions of the job interview.

That saved me a lot of time in the past.

Re:AOL should demerge with the _real_ internet (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16547548)

Imagine the mass chaos as everyone with AIM accounts desperately tries to find out how to contact their friends and family! The surge in traffic on MySpace might bring it down [for the 30th time this month]! Think of the children!

It's the Fire Sale of the Millenium! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16543622)

> "America Online CEO Jonathan Miller notes that AOL might be successful
> enough to break away from Time Warner and still remain in business. ...
> such features have been increasingly emphasized."

This sounds suspiciously like a fire sale:

Only one owner! Going Overseas! Urgent Sale! Urgent Sale!
Must Sell! Must Sell! Hurry Up! They're WALKING OUT THE DOOR!
Don't Miss it. Don't miss it.

Let the auction begin!

I'll begin the bidding. One American Dollar.
Ohh... Yahoo just chirped in with a 50 yuan fine, and a television that watches me.
Do I hear Google? Yes I hear Google... with 1.67 Billion Dollars?
Heck Guys. Give it to charity if you have too much. You don't neeed to throw it away...

Like aol has been usefull NOT!!!!! (1)

tranceyboy (1016910) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543744)

I never saw the point of aol, evven when i got my first online account, yes it was aol and I hated it. I could not use it on my red hat 6.2 back then that angerd me. So i went and switched to earth link wich was linux freindly. Even on my home computer I had an Macintosh LC II, and like today it aol was anoying, all i wanted was a connection, not this fluff and doddas. On the other hand you have to give it up to aol, the smartest thing they ever did was purchase instant messenger, from terroist, lol. (yes it's a somewhat joke, no offense to anyone). AOL please be gone, yahoo better, MSN Better, Google THE BEST!!! No better place out there, I would pay to have more Google, Let me repeat my self if any google staffers read slashdot... I would pay to have more email space, no adds or little adds while searching and my own web page, I would pay!!. Out of the bunch google has gotten it right!!! just what I need no extra fluff here and there. To put it plainly google should trademark and pattent all it's interfaces, simple but highly effective. PeRiod. I mean really for those who are true users of the net and thier pc and don't jsut go to thier computers to look at some COOL funny vide take a look at all three home pages for your self. Google the simplest looking, but a monster behind that plain steel door fire door. An analogy yahoo is the bachelor pad with all the trimmings for *^%$$*$#@ MSN is the car that tries to do every thing for you sometimes even drive Google is the LOFT where you have to make your own walls, and the hummer that can get pretty much an job done. http://google.com/ [google.com] http://msn.com/ [msn.com] http://yahoo.com/ [yahoo.com]

FAILZO'RS!? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16544112)

which allows it. Its nmission is 40,,00 coming world's Gay Nigger OpenBSD guys. They BSD machines ink splashes across where it was when that *BSD 0wned. and shower. For problem stems anyone that thinks failure, its corpse ransom for their Towel under the my resignation would like to AT TIMES. FROM exactly what you've smells worse than a Smith only serve And what supplies states that there maggot, vomit, shit

Internet Blackhole? (1)

Surasanji (938753) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544334)

Wait. I got confused. Which is the internet black hole? North Korea or AoL?

AOL Internet "Back"Hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16551770)

AOL is the Internet Backhole, not blackhole.

Here is a graphical representation. [goatse.cx]

AOL should stay put (1)

Ynsats (922697) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544940)

They should stay put because Time/Warner makes money without even trying and provides AOL with a source of capital to keep them in enough cash to keep current customers happy and entice new customers to join. They have been emphasizing services like what Google and Yahoo provide but thier infrastructure is not set up in a way that would exploit those services soon enough to turn a profit. If they stay with Time/Warner, they have a parental backing that has stockpiles of cash and assets that AOL can leverage in its favor to gain the market share it needs to survive against giants like Google and Yahoo and even MSN.

The only way I can see AOL being successful in a break-away bid to leave the Time/Warner corporation is if they can find a cost effective way to not only distribute but support broadband on at least a DSL level. Currently, they have no solid way of providing broadband to customers across thier entire customer base without 3rd party providers. That keeps costs high and doesn't look attractive to new customers. Granted, there are still millions of people in America not online and that is a vast resource left untapped for AOL but, for AOL to successfully exploit those untapped customers, the phone system in this country needs to be brought into the 21st century.

Another factor that comes to mind is the Verizon and Comcast solutions of fiber to the home. Verizon is probably much farther along with the FIOS than Comcast is with their fiber efforts but, a "demerger" does not sound like a swift and expedious thing and these other companies might be to market much sooner than AOL can get "demerged" and be offering a low-cost, high-bandwidth solution. That solution will likely make prices for all ISP services from dial-up to fiber drop across the board. That would destroy AOL's business because even though they are expensive for dial-up, they are still cheaper than the investment needed for even the slowest DSL service. Having to adapt to price drops would kill the profitability of thier dial-up access and they would have to rely too heavily on thier portal based search engines and other services where thier business model is unproven out side the AOL world.

They're really considering it. (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#16545234)

Apparently depressed board members have been playing goodbye.wav on a loop to lift their spirits.

Let them go (0)

thorkyl (739500) | more than 7 years ago | (#16545910)

then we may actually be rid of the damn cd's they keep sending, I think I have over 400 now.

YYYYYEEEESSSSS! THERE IS A GOD! (1)

Wizzerd911 (1003980) | more than 7 years ago | (#16547604)

"AOL might be successful enough to break away from Time Warner" Okay that's total BS but still, YES! They need to get the hell off the backs of Time Warner. I'm sick of them wasting bandwidth that decent road runner connections could have used. I suspect I only get 4.5 megabits out of 5 because of them (still beats every other ISP ever) Now if they could just dump Adelphia and I think Comcast they own too, they'd be free to actually be a good business. One of my friends is currently trying to switch from Adelphia to Road Runner and they're actually fighting over who keeps the modem and can't seem to disconnect Adelphia at all. Why do they even offer like 5 different internet services when Road Runner blows them all away?

We can finally fill in step two... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16547872)

However, Miller stressed the probability that AOL would be snapped up quickly by a rival if Time Warner decided to sell the business.

Step 1: Collect underpants.
Step 2: Buy Time Warner stock before the split, and sell short on aforementioned rival.
Step 3: Profit!
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