Humans of a certain age will remember the brief period when accessing the internet meant shelling out a monthly fee to AOL. For most of us, this gave way to better business models well over a decade ago. But as Recode points out today, 2.3 million souls never got the memo. Not only that; their rates have somehow gone up.
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AOL posted its fourth quarter financial results today, and we relearned, as we do each quarter, that AOL still earns most of its money from subscribers who for whatever reason actually pay to connect to the internet using AOL. Worse, some people pay for AOL services while paying someone else for internet.
In an internal memo sent out this morning, AOL informed employees that it will sell 800 patents for $US1 billion to Microsoft. Translation: AOL is severing organs and handing them over to Microsoft for badly needed cash. Microsoft, in turn, walks away with an arsenal of patents it can use to fight critical battles with bigger foes down the road.
A great collective whine is currently echoing across the interent as people find themselves locked out of their AIM accounts. It turns out getting customer support with a decade (plus!) old AIM account after AOL abandoned it is tricky.