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AOL/MS: Out with the Old

Time Warner and Microsoft continue their dance while Yahoo and TiVo get down to some real business.
November 7, 2005

Microsoft and Time Warner-AOL (not AOL-Time Warner, as we all thought it would be) continue their dance over a potential partnership. According to this New York Times piece, the two companies are negotiating a potential merger that would create a massive Internet business group – and frankly, one that probably makes more sense than the Time Warner and AOL partnership that has largely floundered as the old media and new media companies never quite got their acts together.

What are the odds of this merger happening? Well, not great if the terms of the deal hinge on this quote from the NY Times article.

A chief sticking point in a potential Microsoft deal is how it would be governed, and thus far Time Warner has taken the position that, barring a very rich offer, it will not cede control.

And there is a certain irony that the NY Times is writing about a potential partnership – a partnership that seemingly has been in the works for ten years – that might be stalled over control issues even as Yahoo and TiVo – two disparate companies looking to regain the marketshare each has lost over the last few years – announced that they would combine their resources to give users more control over digital media.

Yahoo hopes to reinvigorate the Web’s first major search portal by pushing its services out to users beyond the PC, while TiVo has been looking for a way to differentiate itself from the myriad competitors who now offer TV recording.

What will we be seeing? According the NY Times:

The first fruits of this arrangement are relatively modest: this month, TiVo users will be able to use Yahoo’s television listings to find programs and, by checking the appropriate boxes, send instructions to their TiVos to record those shows.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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