In a strange turn of events, Verizon buys AOL for $4.4 billion



We’re not sure why Verizon would want to buy a company that was once considered a dial-up king and has since turned into a multimedia conglomerate, but they did. Verizon and AOL have entered into an agreement for the former to buy the latter for a whopping $4.4 billion.

We may joke about being surprised AOL exists and fall back on our nostalgia of “You’ve Got Mail”, instant messages and late night chat rooms, but AOL is still a significantly relevant company in today’s internet. The company commands the likes of TechCrunch, the Huffington Post, Engadget and Joystiq — in case you haven’t realized, these are some of the biggest names in online media, and the entire lot of them combine to drive over $600 million annually.

With Verizon, AOL hopes to strengthen their already potent video, news and advertising platform to drive company growth to new heights. Perhaps not the same heights they enjoyed during the good ol’ dial-up days, mind you, but potent enough for them to be able to pay the bills and then some.

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong made remarks about the acquisition in an internal letter to employees obtained by The Verge. Thankfully none of the fine folks associated with the company will have to worry about losing any jobs. In fact, he expects a vast majority of the company’s employees will see better benefits and compensation than they ever have. He also gave a quick spiel on how the deal would help both them and Verizon in the future:tim armstrong

The decision to enter into an agreement with Verizon was made over a long and thoughtful time period and both companies see significant opportunity to service consumers and customers in a differentiated and exciting way.

On a personal level, the decision to go forward with an agreement was predicated on giving our talent the best opportunity to build a multi-decade business that would be deeply growth oriented and aimed directly at the platform shift that video and mobile are offering the world – today and 20 years from now.

We can’t argue with that. Verizon is as well-positioned as anyone to capitalize on a world that’s going increasingly mobile, and adding AOL to their ranks will give them solid footing to tackle this new age of internet going forward. AOL will remain as its own entity as a division of Verizon and run its current properties and business as they always have. They will also take the reigns on managing and evolving Verizon’s existing video and multimedia properties such as NFL Mobile.

It’ll be a while yet before we see tangible results of the joining of these two companies, but there’s no reason to suggest it won’t bring anything but goodness from both sides.

[via CNN]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. I’m callin’ it right now. Verizon is doing this to get their own version of a messenger program pre-installed on phones. I’m thinking RIM style – a variant of the BB Bulletin board as it were except this would handle every bit of messaging. Why? Because ANY other program isn’t good enough (apparently) and it wouldn’t be Verizon if the bloat wasn’t increased in every phone, every year and the assumption out there is that redundancy is a good thing? (Perhaps that last sentence was completely unnecessary, but it’s early and I haven’t been sufficiently been coffee’d yet.)

    1. Verizon currently has a messaging program called “Verizon Messages”.

      1. but only on verizon phones

      2. Indeed. It’s just not too far fetched for another company to buy something else that exists in the wild to augment their current capabilities. AHEM, Google.

        1. Also like AT&T buying DirecTV

    2. Redundancy ceases to be useful when it reaches idiotic/useless levels.

  2. They did it for the “You’ve got mail” patent, plain and simple.

    1. A related joke from the old days: http://i.imgur.com/bygGMDz.jpg

  3. Obviously it was for the content. Content is king!

  4. Coming soon to Verizon – the internet you never knew you wanted! Download images at up to 2 kb/s with our new and improved networks! Surf the Web! Don’t have a surfboard? Don’t worry! With our new software pre-installed on your phone your phone will be about as useful to you as having a surfboard in Nevada! It’s our biggest improvement to our devices and services yet! Join us today!

    1. Do you think it’ll work if you’re on a call or answer the phone and try to access a chat room at the same time? Source: I’m old and had a 28k modem.

      1. Unfortunately it won’t but you just buy two or more phones and you can definitely do it if you wished!

        As Uncle Comcast says: “Providing services and infrastructure in line with what was acceptable/sufficient for users 15-20 years ago is the best way to save money and keep customers!”

      2. I see you’ve played “end a comment on Reddit with ‘source…’ to shut up wiseguys demanding proof” too.

      3. fun fact aol made my 56k modem run like it was a 28k modem. After switching to netscape for a year I was totally blown away because my speed doubled. A year after that it was comcast cable internet. Which blew even netscape out of the water. So yeah AOL sucked as a dialup connection.

  5. In a strange turn of events, AOL still exists and is worth $4.4 billion.

    1. If something that I created 20 years ago was still this valuable I would be living in a castle in Europe right now. Damn.

  6. In other news, TechCrunch, the Huffington Post, Engadget and Joystiq all discover during phone reviews that the Verizon model is the best.

    1. Where I’m working, VZW wireless equal to Sprint in data and voice. TechCrunch, The Huffington, Engadget and Joystiq, nothing more than a bunch of media talkers. Reporting more as much money they getting.

  7. Verizon should just stay a dumb pipe, this deal will float past antitrust though since Nbc-Comcast managed too and it’s way bigger, remember Verizon isn’t just wireless they are also landline.

  8. You got Fail.

  9. “You’ve got Bloatware”

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