The Great Divide
Time Warner plans to split AOL into two factions, an advertisement unit and a dial-up unit. The plan will be to sell off each unit to potential buyers.
Dial-up users do not make up the majority on AOL so giving them away won’t be such a big deal. Plus this means that AOL will finally have no use for India call centers, although they still might work as online tech support.
The advertising unit also known as Platform A, accounts for the whole AOL community, but mainly focuses on Ad.com. Platform A consists of tons of websites and brands all across the internet. Its a very lucrative spot to potential buyers as they will have ad spots in tons of areas including the massive AIM user base.
I am a Dial-up User, Where do I go?
Earthlink has been in talks to take over dial-up subscribers. I believe dial-up users will be switched over to an entirely new Earthlink email address, Their AOL account will automatically be switched over to free and they will be encouraged to use both emails. This is just purely speculation.
I am a Broadband User, Where do I go?
As for the advertisement unit, it looks like we’ll end up joining Microsoft or Yahoo, or hopefully someone else who wants to step up to the plate.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
The most interesting part of this merger is the drama between each of the major companies. Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft are battling it out to gain the largest footprint over internet advertisement revenue. If AOL merges with Yahoo, Microsoft gets upset. If AOL merges with Microsoft, Google gets upset. Added to this problem includes the recent deal Yahoo and Google are making to share advertisement plans. Microsoft isn’t so happy about that either and wants the decision blocked. I’m hoping neither of these companies buy AOL. As you can see its already a tangled mess. Joining forces with AOL will only complicate matters.
If Microsoft or Yahoo does indeed buy AOL, interoperability will finally be on the table. Whoever buys AOL will now have to integrate all AOL screennames together with the buyer’s IM service. For the first time we may finally have AIM with the ability to add Microsoft and Yahoo subscribers to the buddy list. I know many have have been clamoring for that.
The other great feature is advertisement revenue. Now Yahoo or Microsoft will have an even larger audience to host advertisements, including non-AOL owned websites that Ad.com serves.
The Buzz Around the Internets
There seems to be no agreement as to who should buy AOL. One thought is that If Microsoft buys AOL, it could allow Yahoo to prove themselves to investors that they can run independent of Microsoft. Another speculates that AOL won’t be able to save the Microsoft brand. We may find ourselves watching the same thing happen years from now when Microsoft announces it will try to sell off AOL.
During this battle, users are always the victims. If I were to choose a company that could attempt to save the AOL community to bring them back together, I would choose Yahoo. Yahoo has proven its expertise in this aspect with sites such as Yahoo Groups and Yahoo Answers.
What do you think will happen to AOL?
Post a comment on your ideas and thoughts as to what might happen to AOL. You’ll have to wait until 2009 its announced what plans AOL will be forced to make.
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