Bonum Certa Men Certa

AOL Takeover by Microsoft is Just a Rumour from One Unnamed Source

America Online logo



Summary: Catchup with Internet news; AOL is reported to be considering a Microsoft takeover and its new CTO, Alex Gounares from Microsoft, possibly contributes towards this

ON THREE occasions in the month of May we warned that Microsoft was increasing its influence inside AOL [1, 2, 3]. Alex Gounares, who had worked with Bill Gates, joined AOL where he immediately became the chief technical officer. It is hard to tell whether one man alone can have that much impact, but it definitely contributes to overall judgment, which involves several minds.



There is one single report suggesting that Microsoft might buy AOL. "If Ballmer really does try to buy AOL, the shareholders should revolt," says our reader Ryan Farmer, who further argues that they should "force him out."

AOL, which currently outsources search to Google, began negotiating a new search deal last week, CEO Tim Armstrong said yesterday at the D8 Conference out in California.

Tim is just being coy. AOL isn't negotiating a search deal. It's negotiating a sale.

A source familiar with Tim and AOL's strategic thinking suggests that an outcome of these negotiations could be AOL's sale to Microsoft.


That source is not named and this is the bit which everything else is hinged on. This Business Insider report also appeared here, but it's the exact same report and we try to narrow down the possibility that there are independent reports independently agreeing. A copy of this article also appeared here in Forbes. These are all the same article. The Microsoft de facto PR folks cite Business Insider:

AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong this week said the company is beginning talks on a new search deal, but a speculative report at Business Insider suggests that the company could end up selling itself outright to Microsoft.


Another new perspective:

The headline of the day proclaims that Apple is both the “new AOL” and the “new Microsoft” but neither comparison holds water in the larger view. America Online made getting onto the internet possible at a time when the rat’s nest of other geeks-only options made it otherwise literally impossible for most consumers, but AOL never offered a subsequent ounce of innovation and was before long passed up in usability by nearly every other internet option on the market.


The report from Business Insider had enough impact to affect the stocks:



TechFlash called it just a "rumor" and acknowledged that stocks should not be affected. A lot of the mainstream press did not take this rumour seriously enough to report on it. After all, it's just a single source which caused all of this (unnamed source referenced/quoted) and there is no apparent corroboration. So again, it's just a rumour.

Microsoft to buy AOL? That's the rumor being floated by Business Insider's Nicholas Carlson, who reports that insider sources have suggested that AOL's next big search negotiation—as announced at this week's D8 conference—is anything but.


This whole discussion comes about because AOL's Google deal ends. AOL executives are not just looking at Microsoft; they also speak to Google [1, 2] and look at their choices now that Microsoft extinguished/killed Yahoo! -- to the point in fact where Yahoo! executives report to former Microsoft executives (see this coverage from Joab Jackson and others [1, 2, 3]). There is a lot of coverage about Yahoo!'s new CTO and the new management from Microsoft that he'll report to [1, 2]. It's like Microsoft is speaking on Yahoo's behalf now, but then again, both are diminishing, just like AOL. None of these is a growth company. How about VMware/EMC? A "Hyper-V technical architect at EMC" writes about EMC's relationship with Microsoft while Eric Savitz reports on Microsoft's fear of VMware (which is run by former Microsoft employees and EMC after disruptive intervention). Last week we showed how Novell helps Microsoft in HPC and there is still some more coverage about that. It's all just a good lesson about the impact of hiring from Microsoft.

Microsoft's losses online are quite significant:

Microsoft has lost more money on the web than any company ever (we think). Since 1998, it lost over $10 billion in the online services division. We think it's fair to say Microsoft doesn't get the web.


According to some reports, Microsoft tries using Apple to compete against Google.

Well, Microsoft has already released a Bing iPhone app and its uptake has been relatively strong, but in terms of search engine optimisation, the relatively new service is still lagging behind its main rivals Yahoo and Google.


Microsoft's deal with Verizon [1, 2] shows the piggybacking Microsoft has already attempted as it now tries using Apple [1, 2]. "Bing will be featured in Safari 5 as a search option," Ryan Farmer tells us based in the news which extends even further. When it comes to Internet Explorer, Microsoft is in a tough position, so it resorts to silly ideas and the Seattle Times uses the word "open" in s slightly deceiving way. The good news for the Web is this:



Microsoft’s oft-lamented browser, Internet Explorer 6, may finally be put to rest. This will make many a Web developer happy – but also Microsoft itself.


Opera seems to be doing OK too, especially in particular areas of the world.

No. 1 in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Belarus. It might not be a slogan to attract an avalanche of American Internet users, but the Norwegian company that makes the fastest Web browser you've never heard of sees a major opportunity in the United States and the rest of the world.


One area where Microsoft is still hurting the Web a great deal is Silver Lie, which is buggy:

Note: Much to my surprise, my Silverlight version went down, from 4.0.50541.0 to 4.0.50524.0, after I installed this update on a Vista system. I reported this to Microsoft through normal support channels and will report back with results.


Fortunately, Silver Lie never really took off and Web video may change with wider adoption of HTML 5. These RIAs are mostly being used because of video.

Recent Techrights' Posts

In Malawi, Windows Down to 10%, GNU/Linux Growing
it's not a small country
[Meme] Featuritis
Newer is not always better
Ireland Last to Report Election Results
Daniel Pocock's involvement in Australian politics goes back to his university days
Never Sleeps, Never Slumbers
We're going to try to improve not just in quantity but also in quality
EPO Has Gotten So Bad That Workers Need to Ask to be Allocated a Desk (at Work)
Wow!!!! An “allocated workplace”!!
 
Nationwide Eventually Did Listen
Miles better than their original nonresponse
The Corruption of Open Source Initiative (OSI), a Front Group of Microsoft and GAFAM, Openwashing Proprietary Things and Even Plagiarism, GPL Violations
Stefano Maffulli (and Microsoft's staff that works with him) basically profits from anti-FOSS
"AI" Tech Bubble
How much "hype quotient" does this whole "hey hi" (AI) thing have left in it?
Links 13/06/2024: Science, Politics, and Gemini
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, June 12, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, June 12, 2024
Gemini Links 12/06/2024: The Rodent Revolution and Adding Twisty Puzzles
Links for the day
Links 12/06/2024: Ukraine War Updates and Many Patents Being Subjected to Squashing Bounties
Links for the day
[Meme] The Purpose of Life is to Find a Desk
dogs have desks
Tux Machines Parties Going Well Do Far
Cross-posted from Tux Machines
In Many Countries, Both Large and Small, Vista 11 is Losing Market Share (Despite New PCs Coming Preloaded With It)
One need not even consider large nations in isolation
By "Going Public" the Raspberry Pi Ensures It'll No Longer Serve the Public
It'll be owned and controlled by whatever people wish to control it
Dave Wreski Also Plays the Bot Game (Chatbot) at LinuxSecurity to Fake 'Articles' About "Linux"
How much longer can they fool search engines (SEO) and readers?
[Meme] Indisputable Success
MICROSOFT buys shares of MICROSOFT
Links 12/06/2024: 'Hey Hi' (AI) Bubble Imploding Already, Danish Media Threatens to Sue OpenAI
Links for the day
Links 11/06/2024: Floods in Germany and Brazil, Political Violence
Links for the day
Gemini Links 12/06/2024: Sketching Plants, OpenBSD Pubnix
Links for the day
"2025 the year of Linux on the Desktop"
Charlie Stross quote
In Bahrain, Historically Low on GNU/Linux Adoption, Things Change for the Better
They have some people who understand Free software
Daniel Pocock Received Twice as Many Votes as Andreas Tille (Debian Project Leader After 2024 Election)
From the media yesterday...
Debian is Built by Hundreds of Volunteers and 524 Irish People Voted for Daniel Pocock
524 in that area went to the polling station to vote Daniel Pocock (Ind)
[Meme] RMS is 'Too Old', Says Company Run by a Person 5 Years His Junior (Ginni Rometty) and 10 Years His Junior (Arvind Krishna)
Never again?
[Meme] Women in Computer Science
Grace Hopper, Ada Lovelace etc.
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, June 11, 2024
IRC logs for Tuesday, June 11, 2024
Togo: GNU/Linux Growing Fast This Year, Now Measured at 6%
Sending Bill Gates with a suitcase to bribe African officials isn't enough anymore
Free Software Projects Need to Chase Away Men Who Attack Women Rather Than The Women Who Complain
A just society holds people accountable rather than covers up such blunders
Improving the Image of Women in Free Software by Hiring and Promoting the Proficient Ones
Million's shaman background isn't the problem, or even the superstitious ghost-chasing. The problem is that she has absolutely no background in Free software.
They Say Cash is King
People who value their freedom will pay with cash any time they can
'Team Microsoft' Wants to Leverage Our Popularity as a Weapon Against Us
In the past 2 days we published 64 articles and served over a million HTTP/S requests
[Meme] Microsoft Has Enough of Its Own Problems (Layoffs Abundant), It Won't Rescue IBM or Canonical
"It's OK, we're partners"
Know Your Allies, Know Your Enemies
The answer to censorship attempts is more speech, not less speech
Debian is Back to Taking Money From Microsoft, the Company That's Attacking Linux From the Inside
If Debian fails to understand what's wrong with it, that's a problem
Ghana: Windows Down From 97% to Just 15%
The doors are closing on Windows
Links 11/06/2024: Practice of Retaliatory Layoffs at Microsoft
Links for the day
Gemini Links 11/06/2024: GMID 2.0.5 and More
Links for the day
The United States Will Cut Off or Cull Firefox
It is only a matter of time
[Meme] Firefox Is Not an Alternative to Google, Only to Chrome (and It Has Become Proprietary or OSPS Like Chromium)
The illusion of remaining "choice" on the Web
No, the World Wide Web Isn't Open (and Hasn't Been for Years)
It's proprietary all the way now
The War on Free Software Reporters - Part VII - Groupthink, Censorship Demands, and Ultimatums
There's a lot of groupthink in the Free software community
Microsoft Told Us That LLMs Were a Boon for Azure and 'Clown Computing', But the Thousands of Layoffs This Month Prove That It Was a Lie All Along
Azure is collapsing
Why We Post Statistics About the Usage of Operating Systems Worldwide
We're hoping to see GNU/Linux at over 10% (on desktops/laptops) some time in the coming years
Winning Defamation Cases is Incredibly Difficult (for Plaintiffs), Even in the United States and the United Kingdom
SLAPP should always backfire
In Kuwait, Microsoft's Windows Fell From 97% to Just 15%
According to statCounter
GNU/Linux in Philippines Climbs to New Levels
This is an all-time high
Links 11/06/2024: Windows Outcry and Climate News
Links for the day
Tux Machines Was Always a Women-Run Site (the Real Voices of GNU/Linux, Not Political Props in Corporate Events)
Corporate "diversity" is more of a marketing/PR gimmick than real, genuine diversity
Macao: GNU/Linux Desktop/Laptop Operating System Market Share Rising Close to 7%
GNU/Linux Rises to Record High in Macao
FSF is Now 50% Female, Unlike Red Hat (Which Moaned About Lack of "Diversity" at FSF)
Isn't the hypocrisy just astounding?
Since COVID-19 Lockdowns Windows Fell From Almost 50% to Just 10% in Loas
According to statCounter
[Meme] Quantity Says Nothing About Worth, Value, or Quality
People will generally gravitate towards things of quality and reputation
Microsoft's Windows in Gabon: From 20% 'Market Share' Down to Around 10% in a Few Months
Gabon is not a small country
Meanwhile at canonical.com
Canonical knows exactly what Ubuntu users want
[Meme] Microsoft (and the NSA) Will Never Forget
The user trying to permanently disable 'recall'
Windows Falls Below 20% in United Arab Emirates This Month
According to statCounter
"Windows 11's Recall AI, known to take snapshots and recordings of user computers regularly, including key presses, was discovered to store all its information in an unencrypted local folder."
"You can copy the data from another user's "recall" folder as another user."
Fedora Week of Diversity (FWD) 2024 Outsourced to Proprietary Spyware of GAFAM
Need to use proprietary software to participate
IRC Proceedings: Monday, June 10, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, June 10, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
[Meme] Clown Computing is Better For...
Clown: they said clown computing enhances security
One in a Thousand Voters Chose to Vote Daniel Pocock (as First Preference)
He got about 4 times more votes than what had him win FSFE elections
Daniel Pocock on Good Performance in His EU Election Campaign: Thanking the voters of Midlands-North-West, Ireland
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
The 'IT Industry' is Already in Ruins
The "powers that be" do not want the "hoi polloi" to possess skills and systems
Microsoft's Windows is Sliding Away Into Minority Platform Territories, Even in Rich Countries With Affluent Computer Users
We seem to be striking a nerve at Microsoft every time we say this
Self-Hosting Should be Taught and Embraced, Outsourcing Creates More Problems (or Risks) Than It Solves
One can control one's destiny...