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More Massive Layoffs at AOL 220

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the you've-got-a-pink-slip dept.
dawnzer writes "It looks like AOL read the comments from Slashdotters saying that 950 employees do not constitute a 'massive' layoff. Several news sites are reporting that AOL is getting ready to cut 5,000 jobs, or roughly 26 percent of their global workforce. Now that's more like it."
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More Massive Layoffs at AOL

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  • Sweet (Score:5, Funny)

    by Umbral Blot (737704) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @10:42PM (#15844215) Homepage
    Does this mean that AOL is going away, because I'm getting excited just thinking about it.
    • Re:Sweet (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LostCluster (625375) * on Thursday August 03, 2006 @10:52PM (#15844251)
      Nope. This is just the HR side to AOL's decision to only charge for ISP connections... much fewer paying customers, much fewer people needed to handle the support, sales, and retention operations. AOL figures they'll get more cash from ads being shown to many more eyeballs than they're currently getting for subscription revenues.
      • Non-ISP customers are not the ones that need support. The ISP customers, which are still the backbone of AOL's existance as a viable business despite doublespeak from Time Warner and AOL execs, are going to take the major hit. AOL is has a fever, and theres just not enough cowbell to cure it.

        And more importantly, now all the noob AOL ISP ass clowns are going to be taking MY high speed cable bandwidth as they finally give up on quality support!

        Cheers.
      • Re:Sweet (Score:3, Funny)

        by andrewman327 (635952)
        "[...]fewer people needed to handle the support, sales, and retention operations"


        Uh, support? LostCluster, I think you need to remember that we're talking about AOL here.

    • Re:Sweet (Score:3, Funny)

      by Da_Weasel (458921)
      nah just the 5,000 customer service reps that refuse to allow you to cancel your service...
    • Re:Sweet (Score:3, Funny)

      by Schemat1c (464768)
      Does this mean that AOL is going away, because I'm getting excited just thinking about it.

      ME TOO!!!!
    • Even if it doesn, that September won't end now :-/
    • Re:Sweet (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04, 2006 @12:06AM (#15844510)
      The Coaster Association of America embraces this development whole-heartedly and expects growth rates of up to 10,000%.
  • It was predictable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Marcos Eliziario (969923) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @10:44PM (#15844220) Homepage Journal
    AOL is a dinossaur now. Their market doesn't exist anymore and they stuck upon their past until it was too late.
    • AOL could recover, but it is very doubtful that they will. To do that, it will require them to quit trying to compete head on against MS in MS's backyard.

      They could roll a linux distro and even offer it on their own system. In fact, they could create the system and target the newbies or those with old windows systems. This would allow them to quit trying to compete with MSN under MS's rules. But I have always given them little chance of doing it.
    • Some people argue that AOL means Time Warner. Time Warmer staff has to eat snakes on a plane and fried worms [timewarner.com]. Those who think it was funny may stay. Lord of the Rings was a recent Time Warner success. So our Lords of the ringtones think it makes sense to provide AOL's special features for FREEEEEEE [aol.com]. It will end up like this. Citizens will get paid by AOL for testing spyware, watching advertisement and the resurrection of Harry Potter [aol.com].
      • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Friday August 04, 2006 @12:15AM (#15844559) Journal
        AOL is Web 3.0!!! Where do my eyeballs sign up for this pay-per-click multilevel marketing bonanza. Both of them missed the first two bubbles. They blame me; instead of blogging like I was supposed to I wasted (am currently wasting) my talents getting modded off topic on slashdig. We want some of that Web 3.0 cash. Now. Referrals. My eyeballs might like Roland Pickypail if he kicked down. We want referral fees for my teflon eyeballs. How many frogclick ringtones did my clickthroughs sell for you? APIs!! APO's!! IPI's! PAP's! Frog click. Frog click bad. Class action.
    • >AOL is a dinossaur now. Their market doesn't exist anymore and they stuck upon their past until it was too late. Or to paraphrase from the press release... "Well, we made truckloads of money with our access unit before, now we're only making buttloads. Our market is going away, so we need to get another one. Hey, wait, we've got a pretty large market already... lets focus on that." Contrary to what we'd want to believe... AOL wasn't first to dialup access, nor was it "the Internet" first... their
    • by daBass (56811)
      AOL is doing just fine here in the UK and that is because here - and elsewhere in Europe - telcos have been forced to let other ISPs on their ADSL lines.

      So while they are cutting in the US, they may well keep growing in Europe. So rather than thinking of AOL as being EOL, maybe they should just change their name to that and get on with it.
  • Conspiracy! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Linkiroth (952123) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @10:44PM (#15844222)
    26%!!?? AOL is cutting their employees by AMD's marketshare. Intel's in bed with AOL! It makes perfect sense!
  • by Fazlazen (626923) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @10:44PM (#15844224) Journal
    You're talking about displacing 5,000 other people from their job, their primary source of income (most likely), and you think that it warrants a "now that's more like it"?

    I'll bet you'd be a lot less glib about it (and way more pissed off) if it was your job on the line. Especially if you saw people making comments like that!

    • by XanC (644172)
      Those people will now be employed doing something useful, instead of perpetuating the existance of AOL. Everybody wins!
      • by 70Bang (805280) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @11:23PM (#15844367)

        They do serve a unique function: Spam control.

        They've been known as the 800 lb. anti-spammers for several years now. Read what you want to in the news about Microsoft's efforts, but fan away the smoke and there's nothing left but the mirror you're standing on. Microsoft has made some money, directed it to their "big three" (Huey, Dewey, and Louie - aka Marketing, PR, and Sales), and Dewey has done a good job of ensuring they make a lot of press by looking terrific. When you hear a consensus of HotMail issues and bCentral.com ratified in the anti world, then perhaps it's safe to venture back online. Microsoft's anti efforts are supposed to be a hammer, looking at 2003-U-CAN-SPAM as a blueprint. Has the volume decreased?

        Aside from AOL, how many other Fortune 500 companies are actually doing something about spam generated by their resources, either by providing online services or have zombies?

        By-and-large, AOL has had at least one person monitoring SPAM-L beyond the PORN (Post Once, Read Nothing) factor, where others such as Tropica have done. When questions have arisen, AOL has been pretty open about what they're doing and resolving issues. If they were like everyone else, they'd have left the guy who walked with their member list go. They pursued his hairy ass and taped his buns together.

        Oh, and Louie could be generating more local (U$) income if the piracy@microsoft.com address actually worked. If you send them too little info, they tell you they need everything. Send everything along with an explanation at the top, and it'll be rejected, telling you it looks too much like spam. Send them text asking which way they want it and silence. Send plaintext message + ROT13 for the headers+payload, silence. Plaintext explaining you are unable to send anything, the response is, "We're working on it." So much for being a good guy. (actually, it started as an experiment and I had to see what happened all of the way around.

    • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @10:47PM (#15844233) Journal
      There's a breed of people with no empathy. They think its funny when bad things happen to other people. Anyway, all companies seem to be doing lately is going bankrupt, doing massive layoffs, or shipping jobs overseas. Finding a job that pays more than minimum wage in all this turmoil is very difficult and you should be thankful you got one.
      • Nah (Score:5, Insightful)

        by XanC (644172) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @10:58PM (#15844278)
        It's just a shift to smaller companies or self-employment; we just don't hear about it. A company laying off 10,000 people is news. 1,000 different companies hiring those people the next day isn't.
      • Jobs at AOL? CD-packagers?

        Wait, I guess AOL does it because intellectual property protection is too weak in the US. Another DMCA++ is needed. Net neutrality is to be blamed for the lay-offs. Legislators have to combat net neutrality to secure jobs...

        They will have to move jobs abroad. AOL CD will get distributed to new emerging markets such as Iraq or the Democratic Republic of Congo. New markets such as home decorating [photobucket.com]...
      • Finding a job that pays more than minimum wage in all this turmoil is very difficult and you should be thankful you got one.

        That's exactly what corporate stakeholders want you to think. It keeps your compensation package low and retention high because you're content with simply having a job in the first place.
      • Maybe your comments are an indication of a shining future...
      • by Danga (307709) on Friday August 04, 2006 @12:10AM (#15844527)
        Finding a job that pays more than minimum wage in all this turmoil is very difficult and you should be thankful you got one.

        This is simply not true unless you have no skills and nothing to offer. I got bored and posted my resume to monster.com and the response I got was overwelming, I eventually took it off of there because I was getting so many calls/emails. It was also not all headhunters, only about 25% (if that) were not people who actually worked for the companies that the jobs were at. I don't think I have anything exceptional to offer other than a pretty good understanding of c/c++ and the STL and I also can learn new concepts quickly. Sure, some of the companies offered shit salaries but there were quite a few that were between $75k-125k+, all for around 4 years of experience (and I have 2 but they still were interested) which seems damn good to me.

        Two years ago the job market was tough, it took me six months to find the job I am at now and it was very frustrating. The job market nowadays however is worlds better if you at least have something to offer.
        • >The job market nowadays however is worlds better if you at least have something to offer.

          Bull
          I know several people who are very smart, can jump into just about anything, and beat the pants off anyone... with years of experience to show for it.
          But, because they were managers, and don't have 10 years of experience with version a.b.c of a specific financials package, the hiring company doesn't want to waste their time.
          Or they make the interview and get rejected because of a bankruptcy 6 years ago that was
          • Why are they not contracting?

            Or heading their own bussiness?

            Sorry pal, the jobs are out ther, but it is only for people with some skills and determination.

            If recrutiment is so draconian that even your credit rating is scrutinized in order to get a new job, then one should move to a different state or country.

            There are options, but people want the easiest one, which is not necessarily the best one.
    • I take it you're not a TWX shareholder...
    • No, this falls under feeling bad for the contractors that worked on the second Death Star in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Anyone one working at AOL should have seen this coming years ago and if they had any clue and any talent they moved on to somewhere with a future. It's not like they couldn't have seen this coming, years and years ago.
    • Sorry, but it's kind of hard to feel pity for folks who chose to work for a company with customer service and marketing tactics as horrible as AOL's.
    • If you don't want people to be happy when you lose your job don't work for a company that everyone hates. Consider this an opportunity to do just that.

      I'll bet you'd be a lot less glib about it (and way more pissed off) if it was your job on the line. Especially if you saw people making comments like that!

      You're talking about AOL, I'd be annoyed but at least from now on I wouldn't need to hide what company I work for when people asked.

      Honestly if you can't handle losing your job you will not do well in the
    • by chromozone (847904) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @11:46PM (#15844442)
      I had AOL dial-up for one year. I had AOL for Broadband for 2 years. I finally got tired of FORCED updates I didn't want and endless ghetto content. When I called to end all my services from AOL I was raked over coals. I was interrogated (and I mean interrogated) about my reasons for wanting to end service. I said I just wanted to end my service. The interrogation contiuned and I got pressed for my adware/spyware software usage. I was now fighting with the AOL rep to get my service ended. Despite my very obvious desire to end my service my rep proceeded to give instructions for downloading some browser.

      At that point I reminded my rep that the Attorney General in my state (NY) had already filed a case against AOL for doing exactly what she was doing then (strong arming people and not allowing them to cancel their services when asked). I told her I would call the AG with a compliant and use her name. At that point she finally cancelled my services.

      AOL has a well established record of legal violations and disgraceful business tactics (not to mention dumb ones). The people who willfully and knowingly performed these things are sleaze bags (and it seems AOL had LOTS of them). I find a lot of things deserve compassion in the world but f00kin AOL and its army of creep employees aint one of them.
    • Not just 5,000 people. 5,000 people that work for AOL. Anyone with half a brain should have seen the writing on the wall years ago when they came up with that half-assed "AOL for Broadband" joke.
    • You're talking about displacing 5,000 other people from their job, their primary source of income (most likely), and you think that it warrants a "now that's more like it"? I'll bet you'd be a lot less glib about it (and way more pissed off) if it was your job on the line. Especially if you saw people making comments like that!

      Actually, this is a prime example of why capitalism beats out other systems. Yea it sucks for those 5000, but it is the best thing in the long run. AOL is a dinosaur that has n

    • If it were my job on the line, I would *hope* I had the foresight to realize that my days working for AOL were going to be numbered. I'm not saying it's a good thing more tech. jobs are being lost in America -- but the majority of these were "bottom of the barrel" jobs doing phone support and sales. It's really only a couple steps above the "bad old days" of telemarketing. Most of 'em are still reading off of scripts, and don't really know much about what they're trying to sell/sign people up for.

      I can't
    • You know, there is this thing called sarcasm. Take it or leave it, but it may be less "joke" and more "veiled social criticism" so to speak...
    • ...in Europe, so Slashdot doesn't care.

      Though it is important to note that AMERICA Online doesn't sell very well in EUROPE.

      On the upshot, after 14 years of AOL, my parents have made the transition to DSL and real IMAP email access. Days before they cancel, they find out that all the hassle of making sure people had the new email addresses they get to keep them. Thats good customer service, being good to customers even after they stop paying you.
    • .... allow me to introduce you to Miss Irony.

  • It looks like AOL read the comments from Slashdotters saying that 950 employees do not constitute a 'massive' layoff. Several news sites are reporting that AOL is getting ready to cut 5,000 jobs...

    I wonder if this works for other things...

    One year delay in Vista a "small" delay? Hell, back in my day when the Duke Nukem Forever team said small delay they meant it would only be a few more decades!
  • by Yonder Way (603108) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @10:47PM (#15844230)
    ...one person just sent an email to everyone at the office that says "OMG I just got my pink slip" followed by thousands of replies that say "me too"?
    • Doubt it. Usually they either call everyone at home or gather everyone into a big room then escort them out of the office with the police standing by.
  • Not Cool... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrWhitefolkz (751859) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @10:48PM (#15844238)
    Its never cool when any company does layoffs. If Microsoft did a layoff, I know people would be happy because "the tide is finally turning." That is very sad. You should never be happy when someone gets laid off... you don't know who they have to support with that income. It may be their family suffering now that someone got laid off, so be a little more of an adult and don't praise layoffs, from any company.
    • by symbolic (11752) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @11:26PM (#15844382)

      It's one of the risks inherent in participating in a capitalist economy. The potential exists to do very well, but there is also the potential that things might slip in the opposite direction. Is it cool? Not really, because it does tend to disrupt peoples' lives. Do I feel sad for them? Not really, because it's all part of the game called "US of A". And let's not forget that there are other parts of the world where just getting a single meal is the biggest worry.
      • I've survived layoffs and I've been laid off. I love business and I understand its part of our economy. I don't have a problem with layoffs. I have a problem with people being happy about layoffs just because they don't like the company.
    • by Moraelin (679338) on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:46AM (#15844972) Journal
      At the risk of sounding like a libertarian (which I'm not), that's how capitalism works. A crappy company goes under, and in the process some people lose their jobs. Then some other company rises and those people get another job.

      Note that there's no need to get doom and gloom about it. I know that for the average citizen unemployment and inflation are signs of the apocalypse, and politicians use them as such in campaigns... then proceed to forget that they promised solving both. That's because they're not. Read something about keynesian economics [wikipedia.org], which is how the economy works nowadays, and especially about the Phillips curve [wikipedia.org].

      In a nutshell, there's a corelation between the two, and if you push one down, the other one goes up. And what governments can do is pick a point on the curve and try to keep the economy around that point.

      What does this have to do with this? Well, it's darn simple: for the last 60-70 years (depending on the country) everyone had the unemployment basically where they wanted it. In spite of the constant "waah, another company lays off 5000 workers, our country is doomed" scares, that's never actually been a long term problem. So some other company or several smaller companies will figure out "hey, look at all the workers we could hire in city X" and proceed to do so.

      Incidentally that kind of a correlation isn't even just an effect of the last century, but you can see effects as far back as, say, the 1300s and 1400s. The plagues and resulting utter lack of unemployment for, say, peasants, caused a massive inflation and were in the end the cause of the Renaissance.

      And you can see the same economics at work on a smaller scale in the limited domain of IT in the dot-com bubble, where lack of enough workforce caused the salaries to spiral up out of hand, and the cost of any resulting program reflected it. There the impact was absorbed by the rest of the society, but imagine the same economy-wide. If for every job there wasn't a pool of unemployed workforce, and companies had to pay a premium even to get receptionist, you'd see the prices rising accordingly.

      It may seem calous and lacking empathy to say that someone has to be unemployed for the economy to work, and it partially is, but that's how it works. Rebelling against it is like rebelling against gravity: not very productive. We have to work with what works, not with what would be an idealist utopia. All we can do to make it more palatable is to offer some unemployment benefits and some government demand for work and move on.

      And at the risk of going off topic, that's another reality that we have to live with: that governments actually have to do that kind of thing. In spite of bullshit pseudo-economic theories idealizing lean governments and some idealized image of unrestricted 19'th century capitalism, it stopped working that way in the Great Depression. That's when the economy of scarcity ended. The countries that got out of the crisis fast were the ones whose government overspent: be it FDR's New Deal, or Germany's and Italy's spending on armament. The countries which didn't, got to enjoy a jolly good depression until WW2: e.g., Canada.

      Funny what things you get to learn when you take your economic theories from real economists, instead of from novelists. (*cough* Ayn Rand *cough*) But that's another discussion for another time.
    • ... labour laws are crap.

      In civilized countries workers get some compensation to help them while they find a new job.
  • by dduardo (592868) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @10:50PM (#15844244)
    Pftt, only 5000? You can do better AOL.

  • Invest now: http://www.aolmemorabilia.com/links.html [aolmemorabilia.com]

    I saw a fish wall sculpture out of disks some guy did that looked pretty good. And never again will I be able to open my door and say, "I've got mail!" as one of their packages propped up by my mailman falls before me. Actually, the wood/pressed cardboard boxes they got into made nice remailers. End of an era.
     
  • Definitely layoffs are not fun; I was laid off from a web firm during 2001 and faced a stressful job search. However, I wonder if this news isn't necessarily as bad as it sounds. I suspect a good percentage of AOL jobs involve call centers, and I know from personal experience that these can be terrible jobs. Granted, (almost) everyone just needs a job sometimes... all I'm saying is that losing a really crappy job isn't as painful as losing a good one.
    • More details in the Washington Post [washingtonpost.com]

      At least 45 people whose jobs involved ordering and distributing AOL's free promotional CDs were told last month to take paid leave and look for new jobs, according to one executive who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the news media.
      A larger portion of the cuts are expected to come from AOL's business in Europe, where AOL has said it is negotiating to sell its dial-up-related business to European telecommunications firms.
      Since t

  • AOL is offering services for free that they used to charge money for. They can't afford to employ everyone they used to with that business model. If you work for AOL, I hope your resume is current. Still repeating myself...users have too many other options for ISP's to spend money on AOL without any real benefit. The non-techies don't need AOL anymore.
  • MISQUOTE (Score:5, Funny)

    by NoGuffCheck (746638) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @11:02PM (#15844298)
    I'm sorry but the article has misquoted John Miller AOL CEO. His actual statement went more like this:

    Following last nights board meeting, the AOL directors would like to confirm the rumours that we have decided to move away from our core business, the manufacture and distribution of drink coasters and frizbees. We are now seeking to restructure the relevant departments and pursue a profitable business model of providing our internet services at no cost to non subscribers. [ Long Pauses ] As a result we belive that within 6 months anyone in our employ today with half a brain will no longer be with the company....*phone rings* ahhh, hello?. yes Satan... sorry I gotta take this
  • by QuantumFTL (197300) * <justin@wick.gmail@com> on Thursday August 03, 2006 @11:09PM (#15844319)
    Here's AOL's most recent mailing to all of its customers:

    Dear AOL Member,

    I want to let you know about some exciting changes happening at AOL. Our service has always been an all-in-one solution for our members, consisting of:
          1. Connectivity - a way of connecting to the Internet (through a dial-up or high-speed connection), and
          2. Content and Services - bringing you useful tools and features like email, security and an entertaining online experience once you're connected.

    Today we are announcing that AOL's software, email, and other compelling AOL features will be free to everyone who has an Internet connection -- including your Address Book, Screen Name, the Buddy List® feature and more. AOL will continue to provide a dial-up connection for you, and we will continue to offer several reliable and affordable options for getting online.

    What Does This Mean for You?

    Nothing about your service arrangement with us will change unless you want it to. Your current plan, which includes Internet connectivity, 24/7 customer support, unlimited email storage, your email addresses, and all the AOL content and services you rely on, will still be there for you.

    If you do at some point choose another provider to connect you to the Internet:
            * You can keep your AOL Screen Name and email address for as long as you want to use it, completely free;
            * You can continue to use your AOL software, and you can still get all your favorite features and content, completely free;
            * You will still get AOL's comprehensive safety and security tools, protecting you from online hackers, spammers and identity thieves, completely free.

    All of this is free, no matter who provides your Internet connection.

    Why Is AOL Doing This?

    We're simply changing with the times. There are many options for Internet access, whether it's dial-up or broadband. At the same time, a lot of online content and services are now available on the Web free of charge because they are supported by advertising. So, while your Internet connectivity needs may change over time, what you love about the Web does not. We are now able to ensure that the familiar AOL experience, your Screen Name, your Address Book, your Buddy List, your Favorite Places, and other content and features you enjoy, will always be available to you for free.

    In September, you will be hearing more about changes at AOL. Until then, you can visit AOL Keyword: New AOL for more information and to sign up for informative email alerts.

    Sincerely,

    Jon Miller
    Chairman and CEO
    AOL LLC
  • Anti-AOL, I'm superior blah blah blah eliticism aside. Isn't this obvious? It doesn't make sense to keep people on staff when the companies business model has changed from retaining paid customers to offering AOL for free.

    Just off the top of my head I can see customer service and marketing employees jobs not being as needed.
  • As commented before, how does AOL think they will make money by more eyeballs viewing ads? the same question could be asked of television ads but is OT so i wont go there. I mean say is more people do indeed view a lot of AOL ads.. if they dont purchase anything then how are they making money? i mean sure the advertisers they are teamed up with will give them money but if said companies are getting sales off ads then eventually the money has to stop. just curious as its obvious that dont plan on making any
    • You have to remember how large of user base AOL has. Sure its not as big as it was a couple years back but its still pretty huge. My girlfriends mom had AOL for a long time till she got broadband. However she kept AOL even when they didn't offer free (5 dollars a month). The reason for this wasn't because she loved AOL but, since she didn't want to go through and change her emails over to another provider. Now if 1/2 to 3/4 of people who have AOL keep their emails accounts that is a lot of people view
    • How do billboard companies expect to make any money from ads? I mean, there isn't even any content there! It's all just an advertisement or structure propping that advertisement up. People do indeed look at billboards, but if they don't purchase anything, then how are they making money?

      AFAIK, the billboard companies gave up on the subscription model a really long time ago. =)
  • It seems like lots of companies are planning small to medium size layoffs. AOL is just one of many here in the states.
  • by quokkapox (847798) <quokkapox@gmail.com> on Thursday August 03, 2006 @11:14PM (#15844344)
    I manage a team of Retention Specialists in Reston (posting AC for obvious reasons). I'm not so sure about all this talk of layoffs. They need us more than they realize, and they would surely be willing to keep us around a little while longer for a slightly lower salary. I mean, if they really decide we aren't needed anymore, they can always reconsider and cancel our employment next month. I'm sure they'll find they really really really miss us after we're gone.
  • by poormanjoe (889634) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @11:28PM (#15844388)
    If after 45 days you are not completly satisfied with your Employment Service Provider, cancel at no charge!**
     
    **You must call to cancel your employment status or will continued to be employed at the standard rate.
  • .... As you're still going to get their CDs in the mail.
  • by mgkimsal2 (200677) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @11:43PM (#15844434) Homepage
    If AOL has, what?, around 20 million subscribers, and each was paying on average $20/month, isn't that $400 million dollars a month that will be pumped back in to other areas of the economy? Given that 'only' 5000 are being laid off right now, I suspect that the increase in other spending on 'net related (or entertainment, or whatever) will, on the whole, be able to create jobs for those 5000 somewhere... I realize I'm talking somewhat in the abstract, but *damn*, that's a lot of hard cash that will be freed up on the consumer side.
  • Just need to know. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by guabah (968691)

    Which employees are these?

    The people who work at the AOL booths giving away coasters(CDs)?

    The Mexicans who work customer support in Spanish?

    Coders and network admins?

    Because the article doesn't give much details.

  • When I interned at Ford in 2002 the worldwide employee population (salaried+hourly) was near 500K. As I left the company in January of this year it was lower than 330K with a major revitalization program on the way.

    I'm sure there's more examples like that to mention. Although everything is relative to the size of the company, but, the numbers are way more telling.
  • AOL doesn't suck. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kahrytan (913147) on Friday August 04, 2006 @12:20AM (#15844573)
    /. users do not need AOL any more but new computer users do need them. They have made internet easier to use. It is unfortunate 5,000 or more workers are loosing their jobs but the economy is growing so they won't be out of work for long.

      It would seem that AOL is still in reorganization and are trying to find it's niche in the broadband market. And the AOL software will change as a result. AOL Explorer is probaly the beginning of that change.
     
    /. users may not need AOL but others do need aol and will continue to need aol or similar service.
  • i see more ads for aol on indian billboards here in bangalore recently.
  • by TheNoxx (412624) on Friday August 04, 2006 @12:24AM (#15844593) Homepage Journal
    I've been waiting for the symptoms of AOL's impending doom for years upon years. All I can say is: Good fucking riddance, you CD-spamming, English-torturing hellspawn of a company. You took my precious CServe forums from me, and now you will perish. I do, in fact, believe I've been saving some champagne for when AOL finally dies. I'll go dust it off in anticipation.
  • by tnk1 (899206) on Friday August 04, 2006 @01:11AM (#15844734)
    People forced to leave a job that they use to support their families is never a "good" thing. It may be a necessary thing, or it may be an inevitable thing, but it is nothing worth being happy about. I am disheartened, but unsurprised about the almost gleeful reaction of some posters in this thread and the other. It's the same sort of drivel you get when you take anyone who is more concerned about their idea for "improving humanity" than actually caring about humans.

    Of course, if this happened to a relative of yours or a friend, I doubt that you'd be so cheery. Happily, in this case, you've got an axe to grind and you have no personal stake in the lives of the people affected. Congradulations, you have scaled the moral high ground and can now lob down spitballs on the people beneath you without worrying about friendly fire incidents. I bet from all the way up there, they just look like ants anyway.

    Stay tuned for the posting of the layoff dates so that you can be ready to show up at your nearest AOL office and jeer the people being escorted out by security. I'm sure they deserve everything they get because they worked for AOL. Make sure and wear your "Don't be Evil" T-shirts for maximum effect.

    • Prop up a company that lost the clu-o-meter 10 years ago?

      Sorry pal, we can't have it both ways. Most people, rightly, dislike AOL, this reflects and lower marketshare, lower profits (or both) which eventually impacts the workforce.

      People in general gloath about AOL problems, not about the individuals affected by this measure.

      Come down from your high horse, you have no reason to be riding it.
  • by DrXym (126579) on Friday August 04, 2006 @04:36AM (#15845187)
    My thoughts on some places where AOL went wrong.
    1. Underestimating the intelligence of their audience. Yes, their audience is clueless, but they're getting a clue. The AOL client is still stuck in a world where they believe users can't deal with more than 6 bookmarks
    2. Dumping Mozilla / Gecko. AOL had a chance to free itself from the decrepit browser made by their main competitor and they blew it for a set of golden handcuffs.
    3. Arrogance. Hey we have 30 million customers, so squeal piggy! Oh wait, 29 million, 28 million...
    4. Risk averse. See Gecko for big example. Scared of changing anything for fear of negative press when the VBScript and MIDI attachments on some retard's homepage no longer works.
    5. Adverts, adverts, adverts. All over the place. Why are people paying for this shit again? It's like adware but you pay for it.
    6. Expense and hassle. Costs more than a regular ISP service, insists on loading your machine with shitty software to make the service work.
    7. Treat your customers like shit. Under no circumstances should customers be allowed to unsubscribe. If they dare to try, lead them through a barrage of questions designed to confuse, stall, waiver or otherwise keep them paying.
    8. Golden cage mentality. Try escaping from the AOL world by following links. It's hard than you think!
    9. La, la, la, I can't hear you! The rest of the web builds up its own content models that are far richer and far more flexible than anything in AOL
    10. Marketing morons. Every technical feature in the product is dictated / vetoed by marketing. Innovation sits in the corner weeping.
    11. Sack the talent. Anyone who is capable of innovating, e.g. Netscape, Nullsoft etc. should be sacked. Any talent that remains should have all individuality sucked out of them. Force them all to adopt indecipherable aol.com addresses, e.g. sbob0345@aol.com and sap their will by forcing them to do all their business through the shitty Thunderbird-esque "AOL communicator".
    12. Punching a gift horse in the mouth. What to do when you have THE Windows music player in your portfolio, capable of streaming, videos, online content? Nothing. Nothing at all. Finally and belatedly throw some half-assed music store into it, a mere 5 years after it no longer matters.
    13. Synergy or lack thereof. What to do when merged with a massive multimedia conglom? Why very little of course. Pay lip service to synergy but don't bother to do anything to generate revenue such as sell video on demand, music, skins for WinAmp / Netscape etc..
  • by 2e (93074) on Friday August 04, 2006 @04:56AM (#15845225)
    AOL REPRESENTATIVE "JOHN": Hi this is John at AOL... how may I help you today?
    AOL HUMAN RESOURCES: We wanted to terminate your employment.
    John: Sorry to hear that. Let's pull my account up here real quick. Can I
    have your name please?
    HR: Vincent.

    John: I've had this job for a long time.
    HR: Yup.
    John: I work here quite a bit. What was the cause of wanting to terminate my employment today?
    HR: We just don't use you anymore.
    John: Do you have outsourced or subcontracted employees elsewhere?
    HR: Yup.
    John: How long have you had those...
    HR: Years...
    John: ...the ones in India?
    HR: ...years.
    John: Well, actually I'm showing a lot of hours of this employee.
    HR: Yeah, a long time, a long time ago, not recently...

    John: Okay, I mean is there a problem with my performance?
    HR: No. we just don't use you, we don't need you, we don't want you. We just don't need you anymore.
    John: Okay. So when you use me... I mean, use my services, I'm saying, is that for business customers or for... for home users?
    HR: Dude, what difference does it make. We don't want you working at AOL anymore. Can we please terminate your employment?

    You get the idea...
    -Steven
  • by roman_mir (125474) on Friday August 04, 2006 @09:10AM (#15845843) Homepage Journal
    but will the severance packages be paid in AOL CDs?
  • by nightsweat (604367) on Friday August 04, 2006 @09:10AM (#15845844)
    It's a feature, not a terribly flawed cashflow model.

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