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Google partnering with Comcast to get AOL
according to rumor from WSJ

 2:41 am on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google Inc. and Comcast Corp. are in serious discussions with Time Warner Inc. about buying a minority stake in America Online, according to people familiar with the situation.


<added by lawman> Another link [thestreet.com] for those without a subscription </added by lawman>

[edited by: lawman at 8:21 am (utc) on Oct. 13, 2005]



 9:28 am on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

If ever MS wanted a prod in the ear with a big stick, this is it. Will be very interesting to see if the sleeping giant wakes up and (finally) pounces.

Go Google though, this would put the Google Talk IM client right up there.

Next stop, Google Voice will get polished up and we'll all be making audio searches over our Wifi enabled mobile devices.

The internet has once again become an exciting and evolving place.



 10:03 am on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Reuters Article [today.reuters.com]

Google and Comcast will have to move quickly as Microsoft continues its own overture to AOL. Comcast and Google have not yet drafted a formal plan to invest in AOL, the sources said. One source said the deal, albeit attractive to Comcast, was not "critical" to the company.

AOL's talks with Microsoft are much further along, one source said.

"Microsoft has had a head start," the source said. "There have been deal terms and term sheets."

This is going to be a slugfest.

MS and Google have been circling each other for the past year or so, looks like they're ready to finally stop dancing and go toe to toe.

With the Google/Sun deal just announced, and all the other recent threads about the various partnerships among the online giants, (MS/Yahoo joining IM clients, etc), who are we going to see picking sides next?

EBay/Verisign maybe going to the MS side, worrying about Google's new online payment system?

The Open Source community backing Google, out of an inbred fear/hatred of the mighty MS?

The European Union following it's "Anything but Microsoft" tendencies and going with Google as well, maybe in an indirect way?

And the entire Blogging community thinking "Who cares who wins, I'm going to make a pile rumor mongering and writing speculation for the next two years!"


 11:50 am on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

just came accross this on the bbc


Time Warner's chief executive has denied reports that it may be about to sell a stake in its America Online unit to Google and Comcast.
Richard Parsons also said there were no plans for a tie-up with Microsoft's search-engine technology.


 12:10 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Time Warner's chief executive has denied reports that it may be about to sell a stake in its America Online unit to Google and Comcast.
Richard Parsons also said there were no plans for a tie-up with Microsoft's search-engine technology

I wouldn't hold my breath for CEO-statements concerning mergers. I would bet that TWX is talking to both MSFT and GOOG and maybe even others. TWX probably want to get rid of AOL even if this may be a not-so-clever move, now that the Internet gains momentum again.

Personally, I would prefer that AOL goes to MSFT just because GOOG needs to sort their business first before acquiring such a giant. Also, it would take MSN (almost) to eye level with Google, so we would see a healthy competition which in the past has always turned out to be good for the market.


 12:36 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> Time Warner's chief executive

he's loving it. he will sit and watch till the price is high enough, if he wants to sell.Unless Google pays with stock, they don't have enough money (compared to MSFT), MSFT can write a nice check at anytime.


 1:06 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I doubt the amount of cash that changes hands will be a primary factor in the decision making at TWX. As far as I know, they aren't in dire needs of a big cash infusion.

TWX wants a deal that will provide the largest boost to their stock price; preferably one that provides the maximum possible long term strategic benefits.


 1:19 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Remember the eBay/Skype shocker after all the talk of MS/Google buying Skype?

eBay : Community/eCommerce
AIM/AOL : Portal/Community/Search

eBay buys AOL, eBay = Community^2/Portal/Search/eCommerce/IM/VoIP

Would be funny wouldn't it...


 1:26 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> I doubt the amount of cash that changes hands will be a primary factor in the decision making at TWX

Oh no, they'll just take Google's $300 stock. it worked great with the old AOL and they'll do it again ;)


 3:11 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Frankly, I think the best thing for webmasters would be if microsoft got AOL lock, stock and barrel....dumped Google's listings and plugged in MSN's.

This would be the first big step to decreasing google's share of the search market, which I think is vital. The only way we'll see more stability is if google's share of search is decreased.


 3:31 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

They have enough cash, the content side of AOL is valued at 10 billion, and time warner only wants to let go of 49%. Between AOL and comcast they can come up with 5 billion.


 4:51 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Would Google really want something as crappy as AOL? (tongue in cheek. kinda.)


 5:36 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Note that they only want a piece of it. They are not going to "get AOL" as the headline on this thread says, even if these reports are true.

The point made about msn search needing AOL should be well-taken. I don't understands Comcast's interest, but for G it would be a defensive move with little downside risk, depending on the price.


 5:43 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Interesting question. Is it and should it be legal for a minority stakeholder of a private company to invest and redirect resources of the company for its own benefit while the rest of the shareholders don't benefit?

In this case for example, if G would be minority stake, and AOL could make more by switching to MSN search, could G strong arm AOL into accepting the lesser deal?


 7:14 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> Would Google really want something as crappy as

Content. But even if you ignore AOL's content, it gives them a foot in Time Warner's door. I can't think of any company with as much content as Time Warner. [cjr.org...] (Columbia Journalism Review link so it should be kosher :)) From books, to magazines, cable, HBO, movies. Maybe NewsCorp and Viacom come close.


 7:15 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

so it should be kosher

Not today.


 8:30 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

If Google does a deal, their focus will probably be mostly defensive -- keeping AOL's traffic out of reach of MS. This could be achieved with some sort of strategic alliance which includes a long term contractual commitment to show Google's ads, and possibly Google's natural search results.

If Google ends up with a minority ownership position in AOL I will be mildly surprised, but in any event that would likely be a relatively small part of the overall deal. In contrast, I would expect Comcast to have a greater interest in holding a more substantial equity stake in AOL.


 5:03 am on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Now we know why Google sold $4 billion in outstanding stock recently. Google partnering with Comcast is the real news...acquiring a stake in AOL is just a side issue. Comcast being in the equation would have a much more significant impact on the expansion of the Google Empire than anything AOL has to offer.


 6:28 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Partnering with Comcast would presumably put Google onto a firmer finacial footing, with a diversified revenue stream - much like the SBC/Yahoo deal did for Yahoo.

I would probably not be much affected by an MSN/AOL merger; I have in the past subscribed to both services. MSN's sleazy tactics, such as disabling all POP mail and trying to force all users to use Hotmail, pretty much exclude my ever again patronizing their services. I think that AOL would be better served by a joint venture with a broadband carrier like Comcast, so as to give its customers additional options. If the whispers about Google's investment in broadband over power lines are to be believed, it is possible that both Comcast and AOL could benefit from the expansion of their reach into broadband markets presently controlled by other cable monopolies.

If AOL were spun off into a joint venture with Comcast and Google, would (what is left of) Netscape also end up as part of that venture? Because it would certainly be interesting to see what Google (as a partner in the venture) would do to advance the Netscape brand and browser, as well as the long-neglected Open Directory Project (dmoz). If they went to Microsoft as part of a merger, Netscape would be dead and the ODP would likely continue to fade away.

JAB Creations

 10:12 am on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

While I think aol/nutscrap both suck I think Google's partnership with Comcast to get AOL is a dam smart move. Google has a major share in online searches but lacks the obvious financial background Microsoft has aquired. Microsoft has been REALLY slow and even regressive in most of it's products (in example, XP, IE, total f-tard keyboard layouts) and I am FULLY for Google heating up any competition. Without Firefox putting the heat on IE there would be no way IE7 would have been given any consideration before Vista. Hell if IE completely dominated and no one stepped up to challange it in a serious manner (Opera is WAY too geared towards technical people) then I would NOT be surprised to see a VERY IE6 like IE be built in to Vista.


 6:56 am on Oct 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Depending on the situation, I can see benefits if Microsoft OR Google take AOL. As said in a previous post, getting AOL could really boost MSN's chance for a better search engine which would be great for me anyway -- as I have high serps for msn but low at the moment for google. Though, google getting this opportunity would make a huge impact on the rivalry between the two, possibly giving Google the upper hand for a long time.

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