Are You There God? It's Me, AOL.
Former AOL CEO Jonathan Miller did a lousy job of divining his future at the world’s largest Internet service provider, but he might not have been so bad at envisioning AOL’s. In October 2006, Miller intimated that Time Warner would consider divesting itself of the service provider. He was sacked a few weeks later.
Apparently, it wasn’t AOL’s future that was in doubt. At least at that particular moment. Because, as we all know, AOL’s future is always in doubt. Indeed, speaking at a Merrill Lynch media investor conference in London yesterday, Time Warner Chairman and CEO Dick Parsons said the company expects to make a decision on AOL’s fate before 2008. “By the end of this year we can make the call on AOL [on whether] we have found a business model or approach that can result in sustainable growth over time,” he told conference attendees.
Interesting, yeah? Parsons’s comment will no doubt fuel further speculation that the company might spin off a portion of AOL, as it did with Time Warner Cable, or merge it with another Internet property.
One last thing to leave you with here. Asked about Time Warner’s push into digital, Parsons said there’s a lot of work left to do to complete the transition to online. Then he offered this telling quote: “I’m going to say something I shouldn’t say. I worry about CNN more now than I do about CNN.com.“