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America Online The Almighty Buck

AOL To Be Purchased By T-Online? 232

Sique writes "The german newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reports on its website, that the german ISP T-Online wants to buy AOL. The article is titled American Dream, but the actual wording is german. Ask the fish for help." There's also the article in Der Spiegel about the potential purchase as well; you can also check out T-Online's site.
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AOL To Be Purchased By T-Online?

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  • Not surprising... (Score:3, Informative)

    by swordboy ( 472941 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @09:00AM (#7463059) Journal
    This isn't surprising considering that they just dropped AOL from the "AOL Time Warner name [com.com].
    • Re:Not surprising... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @09:14AM (#7463141)
      Yeah, but that's ALL they did... it was a name change only, it's not like the company split.

      As an employee, I wish they would - AOL consumed Time Warner because they had artificially high stock prices and decided it was time for something with real value. They've been dragging us down ever since.

      Don't get me wrong - the press is really hard on AOL. Yes, customers are leaving, but they still have the most customers and charge the highest price. They are still making tons of cash, they're just making less and less of it.

      While I wish the company would split, I don't see how another ISP could buy out the largest ISP in the world. Wishful thinking.

      Full disclosure: I don't read German, I didn't read the article, so maybe I'm missing something.
      • Don't forget also that last week EMI and Time Warner were in talks to merge their music divisions

        AOL/Time Warner demerger on the cards

      • Re:Not surprising... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by BigBir3d ( 454486 )
        Not just an ISP. The also own T-Mobile (cell carrier - biggest in Germany I think, and growing in the US). They are tied in with Bergelsmann group (not sure on that spelling). Unlike AOL, there is real money backing up T.
      • Re:Not surprising... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Zeinfeld ( 263942 )
        Don't get me wrong - the press is really hard on AOL. Yes, customers are leaving, but they still have the most customers and charge the highest price. They are still making tons of cash, they're just making less and less of it.

        I see AOL as the Apple of the space. If you wind back to the days of the original Mac Apple was making its money from being the easy to use personal computer and charging a premium for doing so. AOL is in pretty much exactly the same niche and with the same limitatations.

        The Mac

        • Exactly why would I pay AOL to screw up my broadband connection for me

          I guess you are not an analretentive cretinous fuck which does his best to make sure his children never ever get any sexual education. That is the market AOL is fishing in Europe now - the tight parental control one. Providing the parents with the means to spy on their children net access and censor it.

          And frankly there is plenty of people who buy it.
        • Kodak has adapted quite well to changing technology. They sell digital cameras (including pro-level digital SLRs), online printing services, paper for inkjet printers, the printers themselves, software, and tons of other products that have to do with digital photography. And they still do film, and they will probably do it for a long time, though it will probably be a smaller and smaller division as the years go by. I would hardly expect Kodak to dissappear, unlike AOL or the RIAA.
        • Actually, I wouldn't worry about Kodak too much. Not only do they sell digital cameras, but they also are beggining to sell photo printers, paper, etc. I would say that Kodak doesn't have to worry too much. AOL on the other hand, is in trouble. Most of the people I know who used to use AOL have moved on to broadband, and haven't looked back.
    • by markxsd ( 718350 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @09:20AM (#7463181)
      Surely 80% of the Instant Messaging market is the only asset AOL have that's worth anything to anyone?? Apart from that, what else is there? Millions of Joe 6 DDoS drones... Netscape seems to have been abandoned, it's worth nothing now, if it was ever worth anything in the first place...

      If this is more than an American Dream, let's hope that an outcome will be that AOL will loosen their grip on the IM market. The closed model they've been trying to enforce has been holding back a world of possibilities for Jabber and IM client development.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Maybe T-Online can do for AOL what Daimler did for Chrysler.
  • So.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by rf0 ( 159958 ) <rghf@fsck.me.uk> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @09:01AM (#7463066) Homepage
    Does that mean they would be called Time Warner Aol T-Online or TWAT for short? :)

    Rus

    • why not "GoT" ??
    • God I hope that sticks.
  • Uh Huh (Score:3, Funny)

    by Talisman ( 39902 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @09:01AM (#7463068) Homepage
    "...german ISP T-Online wants to buy AOL..."

    I want to buy AOL, too. I just don't have the money for it...

    Talisman
    • Well, looks like T-Online is getting a bargain. Time Warner paid 106 Billion for AOL. From the articles, T-Online is offering only 1 Billion. At that 10 cents to a dollar, maybe you got enough money ;-) .
  • by UnderAttack ( 311872 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @09:01AM (#7463069) Homepage
    T-Online got probably the most useless abuse department of all major ISPs. I wonder what they will do to AOL? Gut whatever security they got to make it profitable?
    • T-Online got probably the most useless abuse department of all major ISPs. I wonder what they will do to AOL?

      Both AOL's and T-Online's abuse departments aren't that bad. If you know some people who work there and inform them directly about abuse, they'll react quickly and correctly.

      What's wrong on both ISPs is the way abuse notifications are being handled officially, that is, if you don't know any people there and inform them via official addresses. abuse@aol.net seems to be equivalent with /dev/null -

    • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @09:32AM (#7463244)
      AOL got security? What's that? An inhouse media player replacement?

      Honestly, when it comes to security or any other area that requires basic brain function I'd say the big ISPs are a all the same: Utterly useless.

      It's countless times I've called the T-Online Hotline, asked if their mail server was down or the TDSL dialin node was down or some other informal question and every time I've gotten something like this:

      Blockhead:"What's your error message?"

      Me:"I don't think my error messages are of any use to you."

      Blockhead:"What Mailer do you use?"

      Me:"*SIGH* K-Mail."

      Blockhead:"We only support Outlook or Netscape."

      [Meanwhile down in Hell: Satan marks up another Eternity Candidate]

      Me:"I know.(I'm not gonna explain to him that E-Mail is a Service while Outlook and Netscape are Mailers and what that all means) I actually just wanted to know if you Mailserver is down."

      Blockhead: "What Windows do you use?"

      Me: "I use Linux."

      Blockhead: "Oh. Well, we don't support Linux." (NOTE THE SIGNIFICANCE: We're in Germany, so he's actually heard the word 'Linux' before)

      [Back in Hell: Satan marks Mr. Blockhead up for extra special skinning, boiling and chainsaw subdividing treatment upon arrival.]

      Me: "I know.(I'm certainly NOT gonna explain the difference between an Internet Service and an OS to him) I just wanted to know if you Mailserver is down... Could I speak to second level please?"

      Blockhead: "Well, all I can say is that due to our troubletickets the Mailserver is up and running and second level won't tell you anything different."

      Me: "Thank you very much".

      *KLICK* *Duuuuu* (german dialtone)

      I seriously doubt it is _any_ better with AOL right now.
      • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @11:29AM (#7464087) Journal

        Hahahahaha, I used to go though that with my old dialup ISP after the local teleco [frontiernet.net] bought them out. They had messed up DNS configurations (A records for the IPs but no PTRs) that made using ssh and irc (amoung other things) range from a general pain in the ass to nearly impossible.

        Have you ever tried to explain to a Level 1 tech how DNS works? "Sorry, we don't support IRC or Linux sir.". After a couple of weeks yelling at them I finally got to talk to the manager of the tech. support ppl and get a name of the head tech guy at corporate to complain to.

        Called him up and explained the principal of correctly configured DNS. Problem was fixed two days after that. I no longer use Frontier at home, but my company has a commercial DSL line with them in one of our satellite offices. That can be a fun call to Level 1 too...

        Me: Is your DSL in Whitney Point down?
        Blockhead: What lights on your router are on?
        Me: I don't know, I'm not in that office. Just tell me, is the service down or not?
        Blockhead: What OS are you running?
        Me: (sighing) Linux, we run a VPN setup
        Blockhead: We don't support that.
        Me: Actually yes, according to your sales people, you _do_ support VPNs. All I need to know is if the service is down and when it is expected to come back up.
        Blockhead: Sir, we don't support non-standard operating systems.
        Me: Do you support ICMP Pings? Because I can't ping my box. Is the connection down or not?
        Blockhead: I don't know what that is. What lights are on your router?
        Me: Let me talk to your supervisor please.

        I'm also famous for calling in and demanding a supervisor right off the bat...

        Blockhead: Thank you for calling [insert company name here] support, my name is Steve, how may I help you?
        Me: Let me talk to a supervisor please.
        Blockhead: Sir I can help you.
        Me: Steve, you don't want to help me. Let me talk to your supervisor please.
        Blockhead: No, sir I can help you.
        Me: Ok you asked for it... [begin running explanation of how to maintain an ISP with decent uptimes, explain my experience in the ISP business and the uptimes we managed when I was running things, explain how much money my company pays for this connection, which currently appears to be down, regardless of what lights on my router are currently on, off or blinking]
        Blockhead: Let me get my supervisor for you sir....

        Ah, sometimes I actually take a twisted form of pleasure in it ;) How sad is that?

        • Hi, this is Steve. Why don't you just stop and leave me alone? Is there no end to your torment?
        • "Me: Actually yes, according to your sales people, you _do_ support VPNs"

          I use to do support for a major competing DSL provider and we'd get all kinds of stories that sales told customers. Trust me when I say that sales will promise whatever you want to get the sale. Why? They get commission whether they lied to you or not, and if it's easier to make a sale by lying then they'll lie to customers all day long.

          • I use to do support for a major competing DSL provider and we'd get all kinds of stories that sales told customers

            WOW! The sales department lied and/or exaggerated what they could deliver? NO WAY! My world is falling apart!

            Sorry, that might have been out of line. My point being, that regardless of what sales promised (and it was hardly the salesman on the phone pushing it to get commission -- they do mass mailings touting how "ideal" their platform is for business VPN use), blaming my problems on my "

            • blaming my problems on my "non-standard OS" and the VPN that "We don't support" (contrary to every published piece of literature they have -- AND their own webpage) is a piss poor excuse for a simple network outage.

              If you're using anything not supported don't expect to call support and ask them anything, even if it is just a simple "is the network down?" question. Why? They could lose their jobs for helping you.

              You'd be shocked the number of people I had to tell "sorry, we don't support 64megs" and en

              • If you're using anything not supported don't expect to call support and ask them anything, even if it is just a simple "is the network down?" question. Why? They could lose their jobs for helping you.

                That's not my problem. I will get the answer I am looking for. It's just a matter of having the right attitude to cut though the "I don't care about my job" mentally that exists at these places.

                Regardless of supported or not, I will call them. Even if only for the "Getting it placed on our account history"

                • " It's just a matter of having the right attitude to cut though the "I don't care about my job" mentally that exists at these places. "

                  just remember, the "I don't care about my job" mentally is taught to them. They come in as average IT folks and are taught to ignore and avoid helping customers, and if they do and caught they're fired, or at least reprimanded.

                  Here's a story about that: I once had a customer call complaining about pop-ups even then they weren't surfing and blamed it on our software and

  • Why would anyone want to buy AOL after when Time Warner dropped AOL from it's name? I thought it was already a fact that AOL isn't making money.
    • Why would anyone want to buy AOL after when Time Warner dropped AOL from it's name? I thought it was already a fact that AOL isn't making money.

      Well, first off, T-Online sure is making money and this whould be a way of buying a huge amount of customers. T-Online wants to grow and will have a hard time doing so by just attracting new customers, must people are online somewhere allready, so it's either convincing people to switch to T-Online wich will costs loads of marketing money and will require massive
    • Our survey says *engh*

      AOL actually makes quite a bit of money. AOLs problem is that they do have a good growth projection meaning that they aren't a good investment as their business model and profits are stagnant. When the advertising market returns, and unfortunately it appears to be returning quickly - AOL will be in the money again.
  • Already denied... (Score:5, Informative)

    by DarkDust ( 239124 ) <marc@darkdust.net> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @09:07AM (#7463097) Homepage

    According to Heise online [heise.de] this has already been denied by T-Online [heise.de] (sorry, German only).

    Basically, what they are saying in that news article is that some spokesman from T-Online claims buying AOL would be "economical nonsense". But T-Online has about 4 billion Euro cash with which they'd like to buy some companies. And while T-Online is the biggest online provider of Europe it is largely unknown outside of Europe, thus buying AOL would make sense to some people because T-Online likes to expand and conquer markets outside of Europe.

    • "expand and conquer"

      Those Germans really need a new business model.
  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ ( 559379 ) * on Thursday November 13, 2003 @09:07AM (#7463098) Journal
    Sie haben Post (You've got mail)
  • by ogiller ( 3107 )
    I remember when AOL started its German division it was a joint venture (50/50) with Bertelsmann (Who also bought Napster). I wonder if they are buying the whole thing or just a portion?
  • Incredible (Score:4, Funny)

    by arvindn ( 542080 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @09:10AM (#7463120) Homepage Journal
    They're thinking of a purchase price of a mere $ 1 billion. That's less than a hundredth of what Time warner acquired them for 2 years ago!

    • They're thinking of a purchase price of a mere $ 1 billion. That's less than a hundredth of what Time warner acquired them for 2 years ago!

      Why the surprise? AOL served its purpose by getting hundreds of millions of people online and aware of the internet. It is a dead duck and many people have made tons of money.

    • No, that's less than a hundredth of what AOL paid for Time-Warner two years ago.

      AOL bought Time-Warner, not the other way around.
  • The Germans (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @09:19AM (#7463179)

    Consider - worlds largest post company - Deutsche Post. The airline that carries the most passengers - Lufthansa. The Germans own a good many of the biggest companies in the auto industry. And Deutsche Telecom (which I believe includes T-Online) is one of the world's largest telecomms.

    I think people fail to realise how powerful the German business sector is. If Germany was the same size of the USA, I'm sure it would be the top dog at the moment, not the USA. And now that the European European Union is creating the biggest single global market, Germany should be able to increase it's economy even further as it is at the heart of Europe.
    • Germany has some huge problems that it's dealing with, though. Unemployment is high, and their current social welfare system gives little incentive for people to go to work. Plus, with over 10% of the workforce unemployed, I would hardly the economy "strong"...

      As my old advisor (in Germany) told me, he could not find anyone to work on his horse farm because almost all unemployed people he could find were paid more to sit at home on the couch than he could afford to pay at his part-time positions. The t
    • Wow, something I'd never thought I'd see on Slashdot -- shilling for the krauts!

      Go get 'em, Werner! Raus! Raus! Mach Schnell!

      Q: Why are French roads lined with trees?

      A: So the German army can match in the shade!
    • Re:The Germans (Score:3, Informative)

      I lived in Germany last year and not all is grand. Unemployement is still overing at a national average of 10% and as high as 20% in some parts of the former east Germany. Their high social program costs are also a problem. I was living in Lueneburg southwest of Hamburg and up until mid december last year, it cost me 10,40 Euro to ride the train round trip with a youth ticket. Then they did away with the youth fare, much to the dismay of all of the students at the Fochhochschule.

      The only reason that G

    • >The airline that carries the most passengers - Lufthansa.

      As I hold Lufthansa stock I would be happy if it was as you say - but I seriously doubt LH carries the most passengers. Last time I checked the worlds largest airline company was United Airlines. I am happily proven wrong on the point, however.

      Alex
    • by tsangc ( 177574 )
      Here's your obligatory Simpsons quote:

      Burns plays hardball, managing to repurchase the plant for only $50 million.
      The Germans reluctantly agree...

      Horst: [threatingly] We Germans aren't all smiles und sunshine.
      Burns: [recoils in mock horror]
      Oooh, the Germans are mad at me. I'm so scared! Oooh, the Germans!
      [hiding behind Smithers] Uh oh, the Germans are going to get me!
      Horst: Stop it!
      Man 2: Stop, sir.
      Burns: Don't let the Germans come after me.
      Oh no,
    • Re:The Germans (Score:3, Interesting)

      by torpor ( 458 )
      I just moved to Germany after a 15-year stint in Southern California.

      All I can say is this:

      German business is a blatant economic force to be reckoned with, if you're an American business. Germans are hot on your heels in pretty much every sector, and then some...

      It is only after actually living here for a while that I've come to sense a value in the characterization of Germans by Americans.

      The West is a Wilde place sometimes ...
  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @09:22AM (#7463191)
    The german newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reports on its website, that the german ISP T-Online wants to buy AOL.[snip] Ask the fish for help."

    Running AOL's profit/loss statements and investor reports through The Fish are about the only thing that could explain someone actually -wanting- AOL right now...

    About the only thing I've ever found The Fish useful for was once confusing the crap out of a friend visiting Italy by making her think I 'spoke' formal Italian. That was good for a few days before another friend spoiled it and told her...

  • If I remember correctly, T-Online is owned by Deutsche Telekom ( Some financial info here [t-online.net]).

    While T-Online is profitable, Deutsche Telekom is not... I wonder (a) if T-Online has enough cash to buy AOL and (b) if European Authorities won't try to block this operation, given the size of the two companies...

    Of course, if there are German Slashdot readers who have better info, I am ready to stand corrected!
    • Re:Hello? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ponxx ( 193567 )
      T-online is a publicly traded company that was spun off from Deutsche Telekom. ~80% of the shares are still owned by Deutsche Telekom. The article claims T-online has 4 Bn. Euros in cash reserves, which would be more than enough to buy AOL.

      I'm not sure the European authorities would block the deal as T-online so far is almost completely restricted to activity in Germany while AOL has very few customers there, so a merger would not change the diversity in any market significantly... but it's still a big ris
    • Re:Hello? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ahillen ( 45680 )
      f I remember correctly, T-Online is owned by Deutsche Telekom

      Right. ;)

      While T-Online is profitable, Deutsche Telekom is not...

      Wrong. Deutsche Telekom [which has the 4 divisions T-Online (Internet), T-Mobile (cell phone service), T-Com (fixed line service, basically the German fixed line network), and T-Systems (something like extended IT services)] is quite profitable right now. They still have huge amount of depths though from the times they purchased expensive 3G UMTS licenses and bought Voicestream
      • Deutsche Telekom [which has the 4 divisions T-Online (Internet), T-Mobile (cell phone service), T-Com (fixed line service, basically the German fixed line network), and T-Systems (something like extended IT services)]...

        We just signed up for a T-Mobile phone for our daughter -- would you believe they've taken all the pay phones out of the school gym? She's going to be going to Europe on a school trip, and T-Mobile's phones are the only ones compatible with the European standard. Why waste money on phone
  • english translation (Score:5, Informative)

    by ponxx ( 193567 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @09:26AM (#7463215)
    by yours truly... in a rush so don't complain if it's not 100% accurate (apologies for the dodgy english as well):

    "American Dream"

    T-online has lots of money and high ambitions, one option is the take-over of AOL

    For years it was a duel that electrified the internet public. Deutsche Telekom with T-online vs. the conqueror from the US: AOL.

    The opponents used all means to fight for markets in europe, including law-suits, dumping prices and advertising campaigns. A Particular twist was added when the (german) media company Bertelsman headed by Thomas Middelhoff, worked together with the Americans.

    Today, all has changed. Since Spring 2000 Bertelsmann is not involved with AOL anymore and Middelhoff is a partner with Investcorp in London.

    He searches for investment opportunities in the entire world and has particularly good contacts to the US, where he is on the board of the NYT. From the deals of the 90s he still knows many people at Time Warner, who euphorically bought AOL 4 years ago but is now unhappy with the online-business.

    Time Warner already dropped AOL from the name and are apparently thinking of seeling large parts of the company. The most likely candidate is according to sources of the SZ the T-online AG who has been striving for international expansion for a while, but not achieved its aims in this area.

    One idea is for the germans to hold 80% of AOL shares while 30% stay with Time Warner, a cooperation that would change the media-landscape. It would happen due to the deal-making of Middelhoff.

    It is the old Bertelsmann Boss and now Investment banker who has aided the talks between T-online and Time-Warner. Information from T-online sources suggest that a meeting between TW boss Richard PArsons and T-online Boss Thomas Holtrop has already occured.

    The suggested price-tag is ~1 Bn Dollars. That's a long way away from the former astronomical valuations of the company once promoted by Middelhoff friend Steve Case.

    At it's maximum AOL bought Time Warner for 112 Bn Dollar. Recently AOL lost customers, currently there are about 25 Million.

    It woudl be easy for Holtorp and Col to pay for the deal. T-online still has 4 Bn Euros. This capital needs a targe so that publicly traded T-online corp can achieve its ambitious growth targets.

    Middelhoff was not available for comment. A t-online spokes-person didn't want to commen on the rumours: "Every quarter we're asked "What are you doing with your money?"

    Fundamentally there are two major parts of strategy. One is inorganic growth, by purchases and by waiting on consolidation of the market,.

    A deal with AOL would have the particular advantage that T-online would get a foot-hold in the american market. Co-operations with sister-firm T-mobile are important as the companies work together on "T-Zones" where T-online supplise contents, which could be important for the US investments of T-mobile.

    The Project AOL is top secret. A final decision has not been made. There are risks, in particular in terms of regulators. In Germany AOL never made major inroads. It is likely that after a merger AOL germany would disappear.

    On Tuesday T-online has declared a quarterly profit for the first time. T-online now has 12.9 Mn customers, 9% more than last year. 4/5 of these live in Germany, so it's time for a jump. Yes, t-online is on the look-out says Holtrop, and it would not be years until he has something to announce...

  • As if Bush and Wolfowitz wouldn't declare war on Germany... pfft ;)

    Would be neat though to see that annoying little yellow man get replaced with a volks... Wait those beetles are just as annoying. Mercedes? Ok so we could turn the little man into a gangster with a gold chain emblem around his neck and have the rappers chip in on this...

    Commercial with Master P scene one
    ehhhhhhhhhh

    Nope wouldn't cut it... Snoop?
    foshizzlemahnizzleyougotsmailbizzle

    Hrmm nah... JayZ?
    A to the izzO...

    Damnit all we have lef

  • by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @09:46AM (#7463325) Journal
    T-mobile are the only company in the history of humanity to have a more-annoying jingle to their adverts than intel.

    God I hate that jingle.

    Simon
  • Not a big effect (Score:3, Insightful)

    by El Volio ( 40489 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @09:57AM (#7463404) Homepage

    Disclosure: I work for a telecom company with a pretty successful ISP and wireless unit that obviously competes with both T-Mobile and AOL. This is my personal opinion, though, and I don't represent it as being that of my employer.

    These two fit together well, if for no other reason than that they're both pretty bad about responding to security complaints. T-Online is notorious as a simultaneous source of scanning/exploit activity and a sink for abuse reports. AOL doesn't fare much better. Also, they'll probably end up keeping the brand name AOL since most of their customers could be easily confused by that sort of switch (most still don't know that Voicestream got bought by T-Mobile). So the sum effect of this would be that another company gets owned by Deutsche Telekom. Works for me: when I tell friends who really owns T-Mobile, more than one has decided they'd like to go with a domestic provider, even if it's not my employer.

    My real question is, will Catherine Zeta Jones be in the new commercials? :)

    • I might actually consider adding an AOL account if it came with a soundbite of Catherine Z-J saying "You've Got Mail"!
    • These two fit together well

      Yes they do. A huge ISP and a huge wireless provider. I can already access AIM from my t-mobile phone. The possibilities here are endless, think of all the teeny-boppers with AOL accounts and t-mobile phones.

      T-Online is notorious as a simultaneous source of scanning/exploit activity and a sink for abuse reports. AOL doesn't fare much better.

      on the scanning part: yeah, and who's not?
      on the sink for abuse part: yeah, and who's not?

      Seriously, I have the email address of no
    • My freind and I went to a german trade show and the AOL girl was handing out CD TOPLESS. She had body paint on - that's it.
  • by DerOle ( 520081 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @10:38AM (#7463680) Homepage
    .. in English. See it here [theregister.co.uk]
  • by onthefenceman ( 640213 ) <szoepf@hot[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @10:57AM (#7463828)
    BURNS: Ooooh! The Germans are mad at me! I'm so scared, the Germans! Oh the Germansare coming after me...

    GERMANS: ...Stop it, Mr. Burns!...
  • by saddino ( 183491 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @11:09AM (#7463905)
    So it appears we have an official denial [forbes.com] now (as reported by Forbes this morning).
  • by KC7GR ( 473279 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @11:43AM (#7464240) Homepage Journal
    T-Online has a big problem with spammer infestations and mucho compromised broadband-connected systems being (ab)used as spammer zombies. I've got large chunks of their IP space blocked locally because of these issues, mostly T-Dialin.net.

    In contrast, though I may think AOL is nothing more than training wheels for the real Internet, I see maybe one or two spams a year from them, and the moron responsible quickly disappears once a report is made to AOL abuse.

    Given these two obviously contrasting views, I think a buyout is going to be most interesting to watch. I wonder if Steve Case has taught himself German yet?

  • by mackman ( 19286 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:04PM (#7464447)
    The actually story says T-Online is going to buy an AOL account. The 1 billion dollar price tag is a little steep, but that's what happens if you go over your 10,000 free hours in the first month.
  • from http://www.t-online.com/

    "With over 11,849 million customers..."

    Maybe they *do* have the cash to buy AOL...

    (yes, I know that's 18.849 million US)
  • by Zhe Mappel ( 607548 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:34PM (#7465517)
    Tell your representative that we need a bill to keep America Online...American!

    Tell him or her that you don't want to see any further loss of American jobs in important sectors of the economy -- like producing endlessly wasteful sign-up CD-ROMs, policing the speech of adults as if they were children, and shoveling load after load of unwanted ads down the throat of miserable subscribers!

    (P.S. Dear Germans: would you mind buying Microsoft, too?)

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:48PM (#7465663) Homepage
    AOL lost money for six years and hid it with funny accounting until the SEC caught them. They were treating those giveaway AOL disks as a capital expense. Really.

    Now they're in decline. Why would anyone want to acquire them, except as a distressed company? Their "content"? Yeah, right.

  • It'll still suck like a Hoover...

I consider a new device or technology to have been culturally accepted when it has been used to commit a murder. -- M. Gallaher

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