Deal puts advocates for Net Neutrality, Open Internet under Verizon control
As predicted by Verizon when it announced the deal, Verizon Communications and AOL today announced the successful completion of Verizon's tender offer to purchase all outstanding shares of AOL for $50 per share in cash. As a result, AOL shares will no longer be traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and AOL is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Verizon. The sale includes AOL properties like Engadget, The Huffington Post, and Tech Crunch -- all staunch defenders of Net Neutrality and the US Federal Communication Commission's Open Internet regulation.
AOL purchase provides Verizon with major online advertising, publishing business
Verizon has signed a deal to acquire AOL, the telecoms company has revealed. The purchase will see Verizon paying out $50 per share of AOL stock, a transaction estimated to be worth $4.4 billion, which the company claims will help its LTE wireless video and "over-the-top video strategy," along with helping it support Verizon's Internet of Things (IoT) platforms.
Migration assistant set up; users have until March 31, or could lose purchases
Along with the death of AOL logins for use in Messages, the ability of AOL members to use AOL credentials to log into iTunes and its various stores is ending next month, Apple reports. The move, which appears to have been instigated by AOL, will mean that users who use AOL logins will need to migrate to an Apple ID in order to preserve purchase records and access to purchased items from iTunes, the iOS App Store and the iBookstore.
News from the gaming industry for the week of February 1
Every Sunday, Electronista and MacNN compile some notable news items from the world of gaming in a bumper post. In this week's edition of Weekly Game Replay, Nintendo's YouTube policy woes, a TV show based on Zelda, and some notable offline game items are overshadowed by the loss of one of the games industry's major news sources.
AOL shutting down enthusiast sites, even as communities go mainstream
AOL's decision, revealed on Friday, to rid itself of its "enthusiast" sites has cut deep into the hearts of several communities. It is shutting down Joystiq, which has been covering the gaming community for the past 10 years, and all its sub-sites; and more to the point relevant to us and our readers, The Unofficial Apple Weblog - one of our competitors, yes, but also part of a small community - is leaving the scene.
AOL expected to fire some 150 people
[Updated with UK rumors] Later today, AOL will announce the closure of two of its best-known websites, Joystiq and TUAW, reports say. Both publications are expected to be folded into Engadget in some fashion. Another site, AOL Autos, is being merged into Autoblog. In the process, AOL will allegedly fire some 150 people, most of them in sales.
Potentially millions of users affected by data theft that includes addresses
AOL is notifying email account holders that a recent data security breach has allowed intruders to make off with identifying information on about two percent of its user base. Data compromised in the attack includes AOL email addresses, postal addresses, contact information including cell phone numbers and backup email addresses, some employee personal data, encrypted passwords, and similarly-encrypted answers to security questions.
Terms of the deal not known, products to be absorbed into existing offerings
Following the announcement that it was going to shut down Shoutcast and cease support and downloads for popular but dated music player Winamp, AOL has today announced that it has finalized a purchase deal. Belgium-based online radio aggregator Radionomy is purchasing the assets from AOL, with the terms of the deal currently unknown.
Apologizes for 'confusion and frustration' caused by previous announcement
AOL will continue supporting iCloud on its Alto webmail service after all, according to an email sent to users. Alto lets people check multiple webmail services simultaneously, such as AOL, Gmail, and Yahoo. In October, however, AOL said it would halt support for email addresses ending in @icloud, @me, or @mac after December 2.
Winamp media player closure after long lifetime
AOL will be shutting down Winamp on December 20, after operating for 16 years. AOL, which acquired Winamp parent company Nullsoft in 1999 for $80 million, will be closing the Winamp.com website and associated web services, something which will affect existing Winamp installations, and will stop offering the media player for download.
Home and work bookmarks speed up navigation
AOL has issued a major update of the MapQuest iOS app, v4.0. The app handles both general map searches and turn-by-turn navigation. Version 4.0 has been redesigned to fit the flat and clean look of iOS 7; accompanying this is a new look for the maps themselves, which should be easier to read. Search, meanwhile, has been improved to make finding destinations faster, and users can specify home and work bookmarks for quicker navigation.
No reason given
AOL is dropping iCloud support from its Alto webmail client, according to a notice being sent out to users. Alto is a multiplatform service, allowing people to check mail for AOL, Gmail, Yahoo, and custom providers. As of December 2nd, however, Alto users with an @icloud, @me, or @mac address will no longer be able to check associated messages there.
Laws would only offer more precision in reporting gov't. requests
Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Yahoo are among the companies that have signed a new Center for Democracy and Technology letter asking the US Congress to pass Rep. Zoe Lofgren's (D-CA) Surveillance Order Reporting Act of 2013, and Sen. Al Franken's (D-MN) Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013. The bills were first introduced in August, and would let companies be more precise about when and how often they receive national security-related requests and hand data over to the government.
Adap.tv doubled revenues yearly prior to purchase
AOL has revealed it is acquiring video advertising marketplace Adap.tv, in what has been called its biggest purchase since Tim Armstrong became chief executive of the company. Said to be worth $405 million in combined cash and stock, the deal is higher than the $315 million paid out for the Huffington Post two years ago.
No iPhone version in sight
Online service AOL has launched a new, self-named iPad app. Unlike its other apps the new one serves as more of an umbrella, letting users access news, video, AOL Mail, and weather forecasts from the same location. Categories appearing in the news stream can be customized to reflect personal interests.
Google, AOL, Facebook, Twitter to share data, combat threat
AOL, Google, Facebook, and Twitter have joined an alliance that was born to counter malicious ads, including malware gateways, ads for scams, and sale links to counterfeit goods. Nonprofit StopBadware, the 6-year-old promoters of the alliance, hosts a clearing house which lists identified websites containing the "bad ware" links.
WD TV Live and TV Live Hub get new features and services across the world
WD on Tuesday has updated its TV Live and TV Live Hub media players with new, country-specific and worldwide services and features. Existing owners of either product will get access to the features thanks to a downloadable software update. The new services include Red Bull TV, ABC iview, Acetrax, Maxdome, the BILD TV-App, and the AOL On Network.
Facebook IPO to be delayed due to SEC process
Facebook's Initial Public Offering (IPO), believed to be scheduled for May, could be delayed, insiders have revealed to CNBC. This is reportedly due to a number of acquisitions and other distractions, which could lead to a delay of selling shares from the originally-believed week of May 14. Initial trading is now expected to come sometime in early to mid-June.
AOL raises cash through patent deals
AOL made an important deal to raise cash Monday by selling patents to Microsoft. Under the deal, AOL would sell 800 patents to the Windows developer and license out 300 more. The terms would give it an immediate payment of $1.06 billion in cash, and Microsoft would give AOL a perpetual license back.
Several dozen employees cut from AIM team
AOL has quickly denied speculation that it was planning to cease its AOL Instant Messenger service. The company recently acknowledged that it would cut the AIM division staff by approximately 40 employees in the near future, igniting rumors that the layoffs were a sign that the company was stepping away from the service.
Proposed web privacy bill has seven stipulations
President Obama and his administration this week released a white paper (PDF) outlining proposed new online privacy rules. A big part of the regulations includes Do Not Track technology for behavior-based web advertising. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will oversee and enforce these rules.
David Eun to serve as executive VP
Samsung has announced that it has hired a former AOL and Google executive, David Eun, to lead the company's media groups. Eun is credited with overseeing media strategy at Google, forming the search giant's global content partnerships unit, before heading to AOL to help the company expand its reach with new content.
AIM on desktop and mobile gets new look
AOL on Wednesday launched a redesigned AIM for both desktops and mobile devices to compete with modern alternatives like Facebook Messenger or Google+. The service now syncs message histories and makes sure users can follow what was missed, even if they were signed out. As a nod to privacy, users can turn syncing off if they don't want a conversation to stay on the server.
Winamp 1.2 brings Mac syncing in beta, more
AOL has just released Winamp for Android 1.2 (free, Android Market), which brings with it Mac support, albeit in beta. It allows syncing with Macs with WinAmp for Mac Sync Beta, letting users import their iTunes libraries]. There is also wireless syncing between desktop and phone.
AOL CEO pitches $1.5B in cost reductions
AOL's CEO Tim Armstrong has been meeting with top Yahoo shareholders in an effort to convince them that a merger between the two companies is in the best interest of shareholders, tipsters claimed Wednesday. The Reuters source said Armstrong believed that if his company were to be sold to Yahoo, up to $1.5 billion in costs could be saved by the combined company. It came despite Yahoo's focus on putting itself up for sale.
AOL and Yahoo may unite in post-Bartz era
AOL and Yahoo are considering merging in the wake of Carol Bartz' ouster from Yahoo's CEO spot, according to leaks. AOL chief Tim Armstrong purportedly believes uniting the two would strengthen them and was in talks with Yahoo advisors. He may have wanted a deal as early as last year, Bloomberg's Emily Chang said, but was shot down as long as Bartz was in the lead.
Kootol sends notice to Apple on messaging patent
Unknown software house Kootol on Friday sent notice to many companies claiming that they allegedly violate a messaging patent. It targets a wide swath of the industry that includes Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Foursquare, Microsoft, Nokia, RIM, Twitter, and others all allegedly violate a patent for "Method and System for Communication, Advertising, Searching, Sharing and Dynamically Providing a Journal Feed." Unusually, Kootol doesn't actually have the patent and is instead acting on a Notice of Allowance that lets it act on the patent but still requires that it pay for the patent later.
AIM and Google Talk now working directly
AIM users have reported that an expected direct federation between AIM chats and Google Talk is now working properly. Any message from an AIM user can go through by messaging someone at their Gmail address, and Google Talk users can do the same by messaging someone's screen name with "@aol.com" attached. Messages not only skip any lag in the network hop but include typing notifications, and status updates show for contacts on both sides.
WP7 Mango to get multi-network IM and Office 365
Microsoft's upcoming Mango update for Windows Phone 7 had even more features unveiled Sunday through the latest episode of the Windows Phone Dev podcast. The release is now due to have built-in instant messaging not just for Windows Live Messenger but AIM and Facebook as well. Microsoft's system would be smart and weave into the people hub, automatically detecting whichever is the best network and create group messages.
AV by AIM now official, revamped as Web 2.0
The new AIM video chatting service, AV by AIM, recently leaked is now official. The service and interface has been given a much more contemporary look and Web 2.0 functionality. It also has a unique way of operating by launching within a userís browser, and not requiring a user to sign in. It also does not even require friends to be on the same service and is interoperable with Google and Facebook.
AOL AV leaks in beta for video chat
AOL was spotted last night running a beta test of a new, very simple video chat system. AV by AIM is designed to work entirely without a login and lets users join in solely by sharing a link, not a contact list. It works with as many as four participants at once and has a text chat component that flows over the video feed.
Lion does Yahoo audio and video chat
Another finding late Saturday has shown Apple expanding iChat AV to Yahoo Messenger. Marck Unkow has found that users can now sign into Yahoo for both audio and video conversations, much as they could with AIM in the past. The client's only non-AIM support in the past had been for Jabber, which led to support for Google Talk, but only for text.
AOL Editions magazine app coming for iPad
AOL has taken its first concerted step into iPad apps with the tease of AOL Editions. The title takes a cue from Flipboard but, as teased in a video (below), may be more reactive. Instead of the user creating custom feeds, it would work based on interests and collate the content into a very stylized, magazine-like format with a clearer theme, such as music.
Interval resubmits dismissed lawsuit
Interval Licensing took a second shot at its dismissed lawsuit with an updated filing. The Paul Allen-owned company's new complaint still accuses Apple, Facebook, Google, Netflix and others of infringing on e-commerce patents but now includes specific, claimed examples of how the companies allegedly copied Interval's technology. In Apple's case, Interval cited the iTunes Store's album purchasing view (pictured) as a primary example.
Comcast-NBC merger may force non-exclusive
The FCC's leaked Comcast-NBC merger terms may host Hulu its main advantage, an early analysis brought out. Hulu's requirements for semi-exclusivity with free content, where studios can only either offer it on Hulu or on their own sites, might be challenged by an FCC mandate to syndicate video to competitors. NBC might have to not only allow syndication to outside providers but might have to do so outside of Hulu, possibly depriving any chance for Hulu to do so itself.
Court says Interval patent lawsuit too broad
Judge Marsha Pechman on Friday dismissed Interval Licensing's patent lawsuit against major online providers. The official tossed the complaint for being too "spartan," as it didn't identify what devices or services actually infringed the patents with "any specificity." The case, filed in a Western District of Washington court, accused Apple, AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google's YouTube, Netflix, Office Depot, Staples and Yahoo of copying technology Interval owned patents for Internet commerce.
Winamp for Android official with wireless sync
AOL today launched Winamp for Android with a pair of new features and commentary on why it has no iOS plans. The final release now adds Wi-Fi syncing and will update an Android phone's library from a Windows instance of Winamp. Listeners can also now tune into Shoutcast MP3 radio streams without needing a separate app.
Google and Apple file to dismiss Interval lawsuit
A union of companies led by Google, as well as Apple on its own, have filed motions to dismiss a sweeping patent lawsuit launched against them by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's Interval Licensing. The alliance, which includes AOL, eBay, Facebook, Netflix, Office Depot, Office Max and Yahoo, called the lawsuit "scattershot" in its motion this week since it not only targeted many varied companies but couldn't identify the specific services that were allegedly infringing on its browsing and notification system patents. Without enough details, it wasn't possible for Google to even mount a defense, the Seattle court motion read.
Yahoo looks to Goldman against takeover bids?
Yahoo will work with Goldman Sachs to help it defend a takeover bid, unnamed sources said in a Bloomberg Thursday report. While no bids have yet been made, AOL has been rumored to be putting together an offer. Private equity firms, bankers and some Yahoo investors have also been trying to takeover Yahoo with the help of AOL of News Corp, the sources said.
AOL exploring chances of buying Yahoo
AOL is in the very early stages of exploring a buyout of Yahoo, a leak this evening indicated. Private equity groups such as Blackstone Group and Silver Lake Partners have considered buying the search engine out but have reportedly talked to AOL about joining on a deal. Prospects mentioned to the WSJ would have China's Alibaba buy back Yahoo's 40 percent stake in its efforts to simplify a merger or even letting the normally much larger Yahoo buy AOL.
Interval says Apple, Google, Netflix tread patents
Interval Licensing today hoped to profit off the back of technology and retail companies today as it sued several top firms. for alleged patent infringement. It claimed that AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo and YouTube specifically for purportedly infringing on four patents for "fundamental" web technology used for online commerce and search. The patents touch on a form of browsing as well as means of generating attention through design or through a notification system.
InNova claims Apple and others copy spam filter
Little-known patent holder InNova hoped to seize on the success of others today as it filed a lawsuit claiming that a large range of companies violate a patent on e-mail spam filtering. It accused high-profile technology firms such as Apple, Google and RIM as well as 3Com, AOL, Dell, Ericsson, HP, Symantec and Yahoo of copying technology allegedly invented by InNova founder Robert Uomini 15 years ago. Companies as diverse as Capital One Auto Finance and Frito-Lay were also implicated in the suit.
MS Kin could finally add IM support soon
Microsoft could significantly expand the functionality of Kin phones with future updates, well-known firmware hacker Conflipper has discovered. References in the code point to AIM, Windows Live and Yahoo instant messaging and imply that one or more chat clients should reach the feature phones. Further parts allude to a USB mode likely to be used for mass storage.
DST buys ICQ from AOL for $187.5 million
The largest Internet company in the Eastern European markets, Digital Sky Technologies has purchased instant messaging program ICQ from AOL, the two companies announced on Wednesday. ICQ is the leading IM service in Russia and other international markets, and Digital Sky purchased it for $187.5 million.
Beats Amazon in web brands
Apple was one of the top 10 US brands on the Internet in November, says ratings firm Nielsen. The company was precisely 10th in terms of parent company rankings, with just under 62.1 million people visiting at least one website owned by Apple, or launching an Apple-owned application. People spent an average of an hour and 18 minutes looking at Apple content.
Morgan Stanley sees Apple leading mobile
The iPhone and iPod touch are pushing the entire industry towards the mobile Internet, Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker said at the Web 2.0 summit yesterday. With about 57 million of Apple's devices shipped since June 2007, their growth has not only been much more aggressive than landline Internet access in general but the entire home electronics industry. Three times as many iPhone-based devices exist as did AOL and Netscape users two years into their respective histories; Apple is also already outselling the Nintendo Wii despite its products coming half a year later.
Steve Jobs on CEO survey
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has placed near the top in a list of most-liked bosses, according to the user review site Glassdoor. In compiling its first annual CEO rankings, the site lists Jobs in second place with a 90 percent approval rating; to qualify for the list a company must have at least 50 reviews, and Apple presently has over 290. Number one in the rankings -- at 93 percent -- is Art Levinson of the biotechnology firm Genentech, who also sits on Apple's board of directors.
AIM 1.0 for Mac launched
AOL has released AIM for Mac 1.0, adding features from the PC version of its instant messaging service, as well as new abilities. AIM 1.0 also forms a part of the just-released AOL Desktop for Mac 1.5 update, which features improved parental controls. Available as a stand-alone application, AIM now includes expressions and one-click e-mail support, plus the previously PC-only file transfers, friendly names and tabbed IM conversations. Users can select buddy sounds, wallpapers and animated buddy icons, and finally take advantage of Apple's VoiceOver feature.
AOL Yahoo Merger Rumor
AOL and Yahoo have revived and even accelerated merger talks and may be ready to strike a deal by the end of October, say alleged sources of TechCrunch. The claimed proposal would have Yahoo pick up all of AOL's content business as well as a $2 billion cash infusion in exchange for a one-third Time Warner stake in the resulting company.
AIM for Mac public beta
AOL has released the first public beta of a new AIM for Mac client, the first major update since February of 2004. In the new software, users have access to AIM Expressions, allowing them to customize their AIM sounds, wallpaper, emoticon set and Buddy Icon. AOL is also looking to implement some of the more popular features from other versions of AIM, such as file transfers, tabbed conversations, AIM Groups, and AIM Blast.