According to the NY Times' Tim Arango today, Time Warner is looking to divest itself of AOL as soon as possible. Also in question is the enormous Time media group, including, of course, Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and People.
As a former AOL employee (back in the dark ages - Stonehenge Web .01), I found this humorous, because it was hardly the best-run company back then and I have no impression that there's a whole lot of improvement to this day. The early web wars seemed to be about "what's a cool web address" - i.e., an AOL email addy (which I still have - ha ha) was "uncool," while, oh, I don't know - Compuserve or Netscape (now - combined!) were supposedly cool. They are so cool now that the home page has the look of Weekly World News (RIP) - with the "Need to Know" box featuring: How to Tell If a Marriage Will Last; Look Who Is in Playboy--at 45! (Lisa Rinna, courtesy of her cosmetic surgeon - I got this lecture last Thursday and it's still bugging me - i.e. "better do cosmetic surgery" - oh well to that, I say "Jenny With the Stars in Her Hair") and 10 Items You're Too Old to Wear(I'll reprint - this is advice for those over 35 or 40);
And of course, no start page would be complete without: The World's Weirdest Weather.
AOL at least has what is to me, a vibrant home page full of the current Obama news, true crime, freakish international incidents, and the daily Global Warming gloom-off (giant ice shelf breaking free - 10 screens worth of disaster scheduled for between now and 2080).
The big news to me about this little business depression-meter was that Time Warner's merger with AOL cost shareholders more than $100 BILLION. AOL's quarterly revenues were only slightly more than the Time group's, at $867 million. Run out for another three quarters, that is $3.4 billion in annual revenue. Sounds like a lot? Compare that to what was lost by shareholders, as well as to the Los Angeles Unified School District's $35 BILLION annual budget. In business terms, AOL is now Wheezy, not Mighty Mouse. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. By the way, CS/Netscape look to be running lower-budget ads - than yours truly. But I'm really glad I read that article which was posted in the WOMEN'S FORUM (you got that right - it is still a "women's forum" with a "sysop") - because otherwise I would have totally worn my cheap, unflattering underwear today and thought nothing of it.