If you read blogs and live in the US, you probably don't use America Online (AOL) as your ISP. The company that boasts that it taught America how to surf the internet, now is mainly known as the company that brings its customers a trivial cross section of that internet.
AOL offers subscribers a "fenced off" version of the internet with unique content and protection against worms and viruses version. The company charges $23.90 per month for a dial up connection. That makes it a very profitable bussiness, but it is also loosing subscribers by the dozens.
At the height of the internet boom, AOL made waves with its $99 billion acquisition of Time Warner. It signalled the beginning of the end for the internet hype, and the demise of AOL as an online powerhouse.
As the internet evolved, AOL stuck to its business model. But now that subscribers are replacing AOL with faster broadband connections, it is time for a change. "What I'm trying to get to over time is a balance" between subscriptions and advertising, AOL Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Miller told the LA Times (free registration).
AOL is slowly and quietly making some of its premium content, such as AOL Music and a price comparison service called Pinpoint, available to non-subscribers.
In the future you can expect the company to start offering email accounts and a new version of the AOL instant messenger to the general audience. Looks like even the dinosaur of the internet is getting ready to evolve.
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