Yahoo Leaks AOL Interest To Drive Up The Price

from the yeah,-sure,-we're-interested... dept

So, the Friday afternoon story appears to be that Yahoo is joining the process of thinking about a bid on AOL. This is a bit silly. If you read between the lines, it sounds like Yahoo put in a call to see if AOL is really up for bid, and then someone (gee… wonder who…) quickly leaked that info making it sound like Yahoo was really bidding. So, of course, if either Microsoft or Google is serious about bidding on AOL, the price might have just gone up a bit. If anything, it seems like this is the obligatory check by Yahoo just to see what’s going on, rather than any real interest at this stage. Of course, given Yahoo’s media ambitions, and AOL’s history, it might actually be a better strategic fit than the other two providers. And, certainly, Yahoo wouldn’t mind sticking it to Google by swiping 12% of Google’s revenue out from under them. It’s amazing how this supposed flop has suddenly become a hot property. The question now is which of these three players (or, potentially more… how long until Barry Diller puts in a call?) is serious about buying AOL, and which is just hoping to drive up the price to make make any final deal look even worse down the road? Update: Dave Pell has the right idea. Anyone else want to “consider” buying AOL?

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Comments on “Yahoo Leaks AOL Interest To Drive Up The Price”

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macbeach (user link) says:

No Subject Given

Yahoo has also learned (by its own mistakes) not to just buy anything that moves. Sometimes the best way to do something is to just do it yourself.
Everyone wants to just “pull a Microsoft” and just buy the competition and merge it all in, not realizing that it helps to have a monopoly to make that happen.
Still no word on the changes being quietly made at AOL? I don’t get it. Are they working in Maxwell Smart’s cone of silence or something?
La la la…. I can’t HEAR YOU!

KB says:

Who would buy that POS?

AOL isn’t worth anyone buying, they provide nothing more than dialup access, web accellerators and McAfee (of course the accels and AV are 3rd party and available and used already by MSN and others). Yeah, they have a large customer base, but many of them are unhappy and will be upgrading away from AOL over the next 2 years. AOL broadband is the same as MSN Broadband, just their software sutie over top another provider’s DSL. This is stupid. I knew someone about 3 years ago that was working as AOL tech support and he was telling me about how their #1 job was to not lety people cancel. I told him to blow the wistle and he was affraid. Luckily it came to light recently anyway in some way and they were busted for these practices. I would bet Microsoft will buy just to finally prove who wins between AOL/Netscape and MS/MSIE. But it is s tupid purchase by anyone!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Who would buy that POS?

You’re right about AOL’s practices, I needed dialup for a short period of time because I was in the process of moving. I was looking for a cheap dialup and, I was willing to pay but AOL had a free trial thing so I went with that. After a week I had finished moving and didn’t need it anymore so I called to cancel and the guy gave me a long speech about how my month wasn’t over and to call when it was. I said “no I don’t think so, cancel it now” and after all the drama he told me that me free trial would still be active until the end of the month anyways. It’s obvious that they just wanted me to keep it longer in hope I would forget to cancel.

How fscking sneaky is that?

Hamid Schricker says:

Re: Who would buy that POS?

AOL, actually, provides more than dial-up access.
Ever since AOL shifted strategies from a subscriber paying model to a content-free, ad supported model, they’re up there head to head with Google, Yahoo, and MSN (explaining their interest in a stake of AOL).
Take, for example, their music site: no free offering music service beats AOL Music in terms of content and rich media – the Live 8 concert series was awesome with their live streaming.
In terms of breadth and depth of their portal properties, I think, they’re great. AOL is much more than a dial-up access business.
AOL’s back…

KB says:

Re: Re: Who would buy that POS?

I will agree with you that the AOL Music portion is worth something, but there is seriously not much else worth anything. I know their model, and their model went thin…to the point where the only difference between AOL and any generic dialup was that AOL was kind enough to spam you with ads, direct your browsing (yeah, I know some ppl need hand holding) and keywords a la the old AOL that had it’s own network content. And let’s not forget the AOL only chat rooms. *bah*

The AOL Music portion is all that has any value, funny enough…that is the only part of AOL I would think Time-Warner would want to keep (think Warner Records and it’s subsidiaries).

Don Columbo (Columbo's Computer Repair) says:

Yahoo's interest in AOL?

It seems to me that if anyone takes over AOL they could only prove to improve it. AOL’s intrusive role in the internet and home computer market is very exhausted. The average computer owner is finally catching on to AOl’s schemes. Their techniques of installing software that people aren’t aware of during the installation of their “free” hours of internet surfing CD’s has now become common knowledge. This big advertising campaign of their virus protection and spyware blocking only leaves me asking one question: Who is protecting the consumer from AOL? I tell all my clients that the best use for those AOL CD’s that they get in the mail, grocery stores and every other imaginable place is as a drink coaster. So I guess AOL serves as protection after all, they will protect our furniture from unwanted water rings!
I don’t care for how much or who buys it, I only care that someone takes it away from those greedy, irresponsible, careless executives who are ruining the company exponentially daily. The public has caught on!
I hope Yahooo’s interest was sincere for all of our’s behalf!

Bob says:

AOL is terrible

I agree with pretty much what everyone is saying about AOL except for the good things. I think AOL is completly terrible. You pay alot of money per month to get this service you could easily get other places for free and yet they blare more adds at you then a freaking porn site. There are so many anoying huge commericals that it’s hard to even find your mailbox when you go to
I love Google and everything about it because it stands for everything AOL does not. It is the exact opposite. While AOL charges money for everything, and even has many scams to charge you money for stuff behind your back, Google is almost entirely free and totaly upfront about everything they do. While AOL spams anoying comercials at you, google shows very vew adds that are not colorful or big or in your way, and best of all they are actually pertinant to what you are looking for.
I pray that for the sake of Google, and everything they stand for, they do not buy AOL, because it would just be a degredation to their company.

Hamid Schricker says:

Re: AOL is terrible

Some points mentioned above are valid.

However, you have to differentiate between the dial-up access software/products and their Web Audience products/services (portal, music site, etc).

To compare the dial-up access software, like the AOL client software, to Google’s services, is like comparing apples and oranges. Comparisons between the pure web platform products such as AOL and Yahoo homepage, AOL Instant Messenger vs Google Talk, AOL Music vs Yahoo Music, etc are more meaningful.

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