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back to article Google's AOL stake walks the plank

Google recently stomached a $726m write-down thanks to its stake in the increasingly-irrelevant America Online. And now it looks like the search giant wants out of its AOL investment entirely. Today, during his quarterly earnings call with reporters and analysts, Time Warner CEO John Martin said that Google recently asked if it …

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Does anyone still sign up to AOL?

Does anyone (apart from techies wanting 50Mbit and fixed IPs) really care which ISP they go with these days? So long as they get a free wireless router and they can get Google as their homepage I doubt it very much.

Unlucky Google on this investment, although it's probably chump change to them.

I'd be glad to see the back of AOL with it's bizarre proprietory systems and irritating configuration.

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To see the back of AOL?

There will be many, many folks who would be glad to see the back of AOL, and would do so themselves if they were able to uninstall all its trendrils from their OS... Alas its already too late if you didn't do a clean OS reinstall when the machine first turned up.

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Paris Hilton

Who is AOL?

I use AOL maybe 10 years ago. As for google as my homepage, no thanks. How long before AOL disappears I wonder?

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Silver badge

AIdDelivery Vehicle for Warrens Underground in Communities

"I'd be glad to see the back of AOL with it's bizarre proprietory systems and irritating configuration." .... By Russ Tarbox Posted Thursday 5th February 2009 00:09 GMT

Russ, were is so Intelligently Designed to BetaTest for CyberIntelAIgent Space Flight, is IT an Open Secret to Source and Sauce and Semantic Sorcery 42.

And that would transform IT into an InterNetional Treasure to Liquidate/Release Equity Flow to Currency Supply for Consumer Customer Power Generation.

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Coat

meeeeeeeeeeeeeeemories!

@Russ: actually, yes - I work from home 90% of the time, so many nines and good support are worth a premium. So I pay more for my 8Mbit line than most people for their 20Mbit line. But its been down only about 2 hours in 5 years, so I won't complain.

As for the back of AOL: will noone lament the passing of the AOLamer? And what about the classic numerical compuserve email addresses? It'll be the end of an era, to be sure...

Mine's the one with the 1200 baud VT102 dialup account details in the pocket

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Irrelevant

If 20% of AOL is worth $274m, the whole thing is still valued at $5.5bn. That's quite a lot.

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Gates Horns

Noooooo!

This will be the end to free coasters in the shape of AOL install CD's!

Oh well, confined to distant memory...

@Edwin - I wholeheartedly agree mate! I used to work from home and quality xDSL was a must-have.

However, I also feel that ALL xDSL should be quality rather than some of the muck on the market. Decent kit does go some way to a decent connection though!

Broadband HAS become a necessity rather than a luxury - think of all the things you can do online like tax the car, banking, supermarket shopping, etc. Some may think this trivial, however, when you live in a rural location and your nearest bank branch is 20 miles away, digital banking is a saviour.

Unfortunately, it is us rural folks that tend to get left behind in the infrastructure upgrades due to economies of scale. My village is enabled and I enjoy a nice 7.1 Mbit/s connection which is relatively uncontended due to the population being mostly ancient. However, this took me quite some time to campaign for and nigh on constant calls to our friends at BT. I shudder to think in what century I will have FTTH or FTTC! This latest report on "Digital Britain" seems to have missed the point entirely. 2 Mbit/s? Don't make me laugh! Once we all start pumping VOIP, TV, web browsing, streaming radio, VPN to work, etc. down our pipes, we'll need a little more than that Mr. Carter. You're the ones pushing us into this revolution, you're the ones that need to enable it. Cough up, lay fibre and the ROI WILL come. Think long term, not next week or election.

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Tom
Bronze badge

$5.5bn

"If 20% of AOL is worth $274m, the whole thing is still valued at $5.5bn. That's quite a lot."

Why, is that just the rubbish 20% or something?

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Boffin

@Ian Johnston

I think you need a calculator...

Press windows key & R. type calc. now multiply 274 by 5 (20% is 1/5). I think you'll find the answer is somewhat different to $5.5bn...

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Coat

@Ian Johnson

>If 20% of AOL is worth $274m, the whole thing is still valued at $5.5bn.

Interesting math. I suppose you mean 5% is $274M, which is what the OP claimed. Then your $5.5b works.

>That's quite a lot.

$5.5b and it still generates nearly $1b in revenues. Wonder what the net is, but I can't be bothered to look it up.

If I was Steve Case, mine would be the one with wads of cash in the pockets.

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Boffin

@Ian Johnston

Back to maths class for you.

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Stop

@Ian - calc.exe ?

$274m x 5 = $1370

I make that $1.3b

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Anonymous Coward

Not exactly the time to IPO

Is google getting a little cash strapped?

Is the Register joining adsense not enough to swell the coffers?

Should be fun, the web is about to devolve, enough of these empires, little principalities are far more fun.

You know there was a time, and AOL was part of it. There was virtual places, altavista, funky websites, an upstart of an IT news website, a buzz and we can have that time again. It just means, dropping the templates, rolling up the sleeves and getting back to good ole basic fun.

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The reason why AOL is making so much money

Most people in America used AOL at one time back before broadband. Now that they have canceled their AOL account, AOL continues to charge them $5 a month for their email address. and then about a year ago they started charging all those millions of people $20-25 a month without their knowledge or permission with the excuse that "The $20 dollar monthly charge is for a dial-up account in case your broadband connection goes down." Millions of people in America have been paying AOL monthly charges for nothing for years because they don't know a lot about computers and they think that AOL is charging them for something legitimate.

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Thumb Down

Irrelevance can still equal 5bill market worth.

the thing you're looking for is right there in the Q4 annoucement. subscription revenues dropped 25%. whilst AOL can certainly coast along on unwilling and ignorant customers for a good long time (like the last 5 years)people are jumping ship. the original crop of cutomers are being forced to leave, mostly by their kids who cant understand why mom and pop are paying $25 a month for a sometimes-on DUN and the rent of an email address.

Google might have wads of cash, but long term, they dont have enough cash to act stupidly; cashing in their AOL chips now to claw back 250mill is better than waiting a year and losing another hundred mill. Frankly Im wondering when the AOL truck is finally gonna run out of power, and if its going to sink Time warner along with it.

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Boffin

AOL gone? Not likely

AOL is about as entrenched as IE5. Its going to die slowly, taking as many of the ignorant masses as it can with it.

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