back to article AOL haunts Time Warner's Q2

Ridiculously unwieldy web/telecoms/publishing/TV/music/film production giant Time Warner continues to be tormented by its dial-up Banquo, AOL. The group today posted total profits that were dragged down 26 per cent by declining sales. Group profits were $792m for the second quarter, down from $1.07bn a year ago, but slightly …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    They already sold AOL

    They already sold AOL's access business in the UK, to Carphone Warehouse, and based on CPW's recent statements re the financial effects of absorbing AOL ("our numbers are affected because we may have made a mistake buying AOL" - almost), Time Warner won't find it easy to get any worthwhile amount for those bits of AOL which they still own.

    Has Tiscali's ISP access business been sold yet, the one which back in June was going to be sold "tomorrow"?

    Seems you can't *give* ISPs away at the moment. Not crap ones anyway.

  2. Tim J

    "They" ain't sold AOL in the US (...yet)

    Which is hardly an insignificant bit of AOL after all!

    Whether it's worth any money is another matter.

    I can't believe that the Time Warner / AOL merger ever happened - AOL's plans to conquer the broadband market (in the same way in conquered the dial-up market) never really seemed to exist - and a rock-solid plan of how to survive and prosper in the broadband age was definitely needed.

    AOL is only ever going to be a niche product - for all its infinite faults, it got lots of people used to being online, but the public at large just don't need to have their hand held in the same way they did when the internets was new to consumers (though there's certainly still room for a bit of guidance given the murky depths of the net, what with phishing and the like).

    As everyone has said since, AOL was massively over-valued at the time of the merger (which was in fact ludicrously technically speaking an AOL takeover of Time Warner). Why anyone bought into this at the time still defeats me - it sounded like a shit deal even back then.

  3. Zmodem

    they could survive

    the only that comes to mind with is theyre patheticly crap and childish browser they force you to use, then a isp is just a isp

  4. Paul

    Time-Warner's mistake

    When TW paid so much for AOL they probably never thought of AOL's future potential, they just looked at how well it was doing at the time and assumed it would continue that way forever in the typically myopic way companies seem to operate these days.

    AOL is dependent on clueless newbies. There were lots of these back when the merger happened, but it's a finite pool, and the newbies eventually realized they could get dial-up internets for about 1/3 the cost of AOL. Or broadband for a little less than AOL dialup. The younger generation is accustomed to normal, non-AOL internet access through school, libraries, etc. so no need for the awful AOL suite and overpriced dial-up.

    The newbie supply is almost exhausted, and when it's gone, AOL are done.

  5. Davin S. George

    AOL Profits

    Why are we not surprised? The company has already sold AOL Europe including France, Germany and the UK and apparently their profits are down? AOL UK alone use to make some 330 million pounds so take into account the exchange rate at some 2:1 and there on its own you're missing 650 million dollars, not a small amount by any stretch of the imagination. And what about Germany and France?

    Personally I think this is a case of Time Warner having under estimated AOL as a company and channel for its advertising so they're blaming their lack of direction and foresight.

    Plus of course if you have TW literally pulling any and all profits from the AOL component and not re-investing in the infrastructure then you're going to see profit loss. A company needs to re-invest and during these times probably even more so to keep the customer active within their site.

    Good Luck AOL but personally I think TW is saying screw you in a big way!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AOL made profit because of adverts

    Now that some of the business is concentrating on selling adverts to other websites they may start making money again.

  7. James Pickett


    "possible fit for Yahoo! instead of Microsoft."

    How about MS rescue AOL? That would kill so many birds with one stone...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AOL, and Stealing Time

    If you read the book "Stealing Time" it describes the growth of AOL from inception until its ill-fated takeover of TW. It's a good read, but definitely not a recommendation for AOL as a consumer!

    Just before Win95/MSN launch M$ did indeed sniff around the 'new kid on the block' that was AOL. The management team at AOL were so aggressive to any proposals then, I doubt M$ would return without their baseball bats....

    It's hard to blame TW; they were an old dinosaur during the takeover days, and it was definitely AOL pushing the merger.

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