Fortune Magazine says Time Warner, their parent company, is in talks with Yahoo! to buy AOL. A source at TW denies it, but Yahoo! sources say it’s true. Yahoo! lost their chance last year after AOL inked a deal to give Google 5% of revenue in return for ads and search optimization that AOL lacks over dynamically linked pages and other shortcomings. They haven’t made the how-to-cancel page much easier to find, either.
No Ads on Wikipedia, For Now … AOL Sells Call Centers; Others to Close
10-28-2006: Jason Calacanis, who runs Netscape for AOL and thinks he can wave his Magic Money Wand and buy the world, and even buy your humble author (page no longer exists ), tried to buy Wikipedia last week. He claims by not letting AOL put leaderboards on Wiki pages, they’ll lose ad revenue to the tune of $100 million a year. “Jimbo” Wales rolled Jason’s offer around, even asking members what they’d do with that money. Then in a stunning about-face he told Jason “No,” and was applauded for not letting AOL’s sponsorship control Wikipedia.
10-14-2006: The Consumerist says AOL’s laying off 1,400 call reps “trained to trick you into not canceling your AOL account,” when they close their Albuquerque, NM, and Tucson, AZ centers and sell their Ogden, UT call center “in mid-December, just in time for Christmas.” Wow, not even an AOL-branded lump of coal for brainwashing us into thinking we must have it: “Free anti-virus software! Parental controls! Keywords! (give me a f***ing break) Ads, ads, more ads, AIM, chat rooms!” Oh wait, maybe they don’t say all that…The Consumerist is clucking unhappily that the Ogden center’s been sold to a company that will hang onto every AOL employee except John, but it’s quite common for AOL to outsource them. Contract workers can’t be much worse, I promise you.
AOL Sells Off Properties
10-11-2006: Time Warner sold AOL UK to British telecoms firm Carphone Warehouse for $686 million, AOL Deutschland to Italy’s Telecom Italia, and AOL France to French telecoms group Neuf Cegetel, further liquidating their European ISPs to focus on ad-driven portals and gaining ad revenue for remaining ISP divisions. They’re even launching a new Indian portal.
Walled Garden, Version II
10-04-2006: AOL just released a beta of their OpenRide software. It replaces AOL 9.0 SE’s browser for broadband surfing. They claim it’s the new, improved version of their walled garden, which was confining at best. It uses 4 panes arranged into a screen-sized quad to show your browser, email, contacts, and “media center”, and (for once) you won’t have to sign in to use the browser. You still sign in to get email and see your contact list.
AOL recommends keeping 9.0 installed — along with older versions going back to 1.0 Beta, I suppose. What I wonder is, when 9.0 isn’t in use, it leaves 5 programs running — so if I download OpenRide, will 10 programs run, and up to 25 with both browsers open? (Update: No. Open both and get 16 running processes, bad enough.) System requirements are “IE 6.0 or higher, 300 MHz Pentium II Processor and 256 megabytes RAM minimum,” not that it matters — their requirements are a joke, they’d kill any computer with that little to run on, so there’s no telling what I need to use it — probably a mainframe.