AOL has hinted that it may not renew its search partnership with Google this year, and could consider Microsoft or other search companies instead.
AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong, who used to run Google Ad Sales, made a speech at the Citi Media and Telecommunications Conference yesterday in the US, in which he said that his loyalty lies firmly with AOL, rather than with both firms.
"I had a Google sweatshirt on for almost a decade, and I have an AOL
sweatshirt on now. That's really what I need to do and our team needs to
do: make sure we get the right deal for AOL," he said.
Armstrong explained that Google had been a "great partner" and would get " first dibs" when the search deal is open for renewal in December this year. However, he also said that Microsoft would be an "interesting partner".
The AOL chief believes that the next search partnership for the company would last five to 10 years, and that he wants the ads in search to link to AOL content rather than advertisement information, which fits with the company's new image.
AOL recently started branding itself foremost as a content provider, and claims that 80 per cent of the content it provides is its own.
Armstrong also said in his speech that AOL would be "aggressive" when confirming the details of the search deal.
Google declined to comment on the news of its not-so-loyal long-time partner.
AOL first partnered with Google in 2003, but has always been secretive about the details.
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