Some news leaked today has cast a bit of a shadow over Time Warner's
It's not hard to imagine why AOL's having problems, since its service is wedded to old-school dial-up, at least in the perception of many people. The high-speed Internet access now widely offered by cable and telecom firms and bundled into existing bills continues to woo Internet users away from AOL.
Indeed, AOL has been feverishly trying to develop other avenues for revenues, such as anti-virus products, content products for broadband users, and even a nod to its previous life as a portal-like site. There was also its recent acquisition of Advertising.com.
If AOL's recent initiatives aren't successful, that makes an extended search for lucrative niches a necessity for survival. Even with AOL's evolving face, one might think of the myriad popular, free options technophiles have these days. Yahoo!
Where does AOL fit into all of this? In recent memory, AOL has offered lots of products that do fulfill proven needs -- but also have potent rivals like the ones named above.
It seems to me that AOL needs to search out undiscovered needs. And that's going to take some serious creativity. That may be asking a lot, in my opinion, since historically, AOL aimed for Internet newbies, not cutting-edge, first-adopter Netizens. (There is an exception -- its AIM product, which blew us all away with its ability to woo both novice and geek alike.)
However, a wait-and-see approach on today's news is likely a wise move. Some clarity is definitely needed, as AOL obviously continues its ongoing struggle to remain viable.
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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.