David Liu, a longtime exec at AOL and vice president in charge of Global Messaging, will make his exit from the company next month, according to an email. His departure comes just one month after the hiring of ex-Yahoo Brad Garlinghouse as president of Internet and Mobile Communications.
Liu, who was in charge of overseeing AOL's AIM, ICQ, and more recent Lifestream social aggregator, said he was leaving to "pursue outside opportunities," but his desire to suddenly look elsewhere was most likely fueled when AOL decided to go in a different direction with Grarlinghouse.
So what's next for Liu? According to TechCrunch, Liu has a few things going on, including becoming an angel investor in startup SimpleGeo, as well as talking to private equity firms about joining as a partner in search of realtime startups. And considering Liu's history (earlier in the decade he launched and grew AOL.com's free portal to 50 million users), he shouldn't have too much trouble setting up meetings with investors.
By 1996, Netscape had captured 80% market share. Development was rapid, seeing the incorporation of CSS and table layout features as time passed. Microsoft put out the first version of Internet Explorer a year after Netscape, but found little success.
The good times couldn’t last forever, though. Microsoft released IE 4 in 1998. Thanks to some advanced features, IE captured the number one spot in only 12 months. A series of poor decisions left the Netscape browser in the hands of AOL, and we all know how that went. Development slowed, and the once great browser languished. Support was finally completely dropped in 2008.
Amid all the dark times, one great thing did happen with Netscape. The browser code was open-sourced in February 1998. It wouldn’t become apparent until years later how well that worked out for the web. From Netscape, the Mozilla Foundation built Firefox. Many feel that the Firefox browser is the best available, and it enjoys a healthy 27% market share. Let’s all have a moment of silence to remember Netscape on, this, its 15th birthday. Was Netscape your first browser? Any fond memories of those dial-up days?
AOL has begun integrating its popular instant messaging service with two other social networking moguls: Facebook and Twitter. In July, they released a beta version of the AIM Client that connected the services to the application. With the updated beta version you were able to view friends’ status updates from Facebook and tweets from Twitter.
In a more recent update to the beta client, AIM now also gives you the power to update your Facebook status, as well as tweet from your Twitter account, all from within the AIM client. The updated “Lifestream” section of the application also features integration into other popular networking tools such as Flickr and YouTube.
A seemingly smart move by AOL, they’ve moved past their competitors, Yahoo Messenger and Live Messenger, by providing these additional, and in some cases, exclusive features.
Gmail shed its beta tag in July, after having been around for five years. However, Gmail has acquired a different tag now: that of the third most popular webmail service in the US, at least according to internet research firm comScore. Gmail leapt past AOL to take the third spot during the month of July, a month in which it entertained 37 million unique visitors as opposed to 36.4 million users that visited AOL.
It now has Windows Live Hotmail – currently second with 47 million monthly unique visitors – well within its reach. Gmail’s unique visitors swelled by 25% during the first 7 months of 2009, while Hotmail only managed to increase unique visitors by 8%. Yahoo Mail is the most popular webmail service with 106 million unique visitors.
Most of you probably remember CompuServe as a popular online service from the late 1990s, but the company has been around since 1979, and even earlier prior to a name change. It was also the first online service to offer real-time chat online, and it did it way back in 1980. Now, after thirty years, CompuServe is closing its doors.
"Many innovations we now take for granted, from online travel (Eaasy Sabre), online shopping, online stock quotations, and global weather forecasts, just to name a few, were standard fare on CompuServe in the 1980s," said Davide Goldes, an early CompuServe users who is now president and senior analyst at Basex.
AOL, who bought the company in 1997, is urging the few remaining CompuServe Classic customers to move on to the company's sub-brand ISP, CompuServe 2000.
Business schools around the world often study the January 2000 merger of Time Warner & AOL under the headline “Worst Mergers In American Corporate History”. It is not unusual, or unnatural for content creation companies to enter the distribution market, but AOL and magazine publishing arm Time Inc. have dogged their parent companies earnings for years now. Looking to cut its losses, Time Warner announced on Wednesday that it was close to spinning off America Online, an acquisition that has cost the company more than $100 billion in shareholder value.
According to the filing; “Although the company’s board of directors has not made any decision, the company currently anticipates that it would initiate a process to spin off one or more parts of the businesses of AOL to Time Warner’s stockholders, in one or a series of transactions.” When asked about the future of Time Warner, CEO Jeffery L. Bewkes claims the future “may well include publishing” but made it clear that this could change at any time. The company is likely holding out on making any decisions about Time Inc. until the recession eases and it can see if weakening print sales are a result of the recession, or the shift of its readers to online mediums.
Time Warner has already spun off it's cable division, and is clearly looking to focus on content creation, rather than delivery. I also can't help but wonder whether or not an independent AOL would become an acquisition target for Microsoft. The ad network was one of the primary drivers behind the Yahoo talks, and this is one area that AOL still does reasonably well in.
Can AOL survive on it's own? Hit the jump and let us know what you think.
It seems inevitable that ISPs currently training their guns at p2p traffic will soon start fretting over video sharing websites, which are gaining in popularity and gradually conquering more internet bandwidth. November 2008 proved to be another prolific month for online video websites. According to data released by comScore Video Metrix service, there was a 34% year-over-year increase in online viewership in the US in November. A staggering 12.7 billion online videos kept online viewers riveted to their computer screens.
Google websites accounted for 40% of the total views in that month. Google obviously has its Youtube juggernaut to thank for being in the ascendancy. Youtube contributed 98% of Google’s market share. Google websites also triumphed as far as total number of viewers goes with 98 million viewers in November.
One website that has come up by leaps and bounds is Hulu, which retained the 6th spot in the high-stakes online video market in November 2008. Hulu scored a major victory over its competitors by emerging as the website with most riveting videos as the average duration of each video viewed at Hulu was 11.9 minutes – way higher than the industry average of 3.1 minutes.
This past Thursday both Facebook and Google announced their own separate “Connect” features, designed to extend social networking capabilities further across the Internet. The connect programs, named Google Friend Connect and Facebook Connect respectively allow users of the two sites to port content they have entered (such as photos, contacts, notes, comments and status updates) to other partner pages.
Google’s service is already available to any site publisher that chooses to implement it. The features become available with a simple copy and paste of some code, so advanced coding knowledge isn’t required. Once it’s been added to a site, users can log into the service using their Google, Yahoo, AOL or OpenID accounts.
Facebook is looking to their users for help in convincing web sites that their service is worthwhile. “Obviously our launch partners don't cover all the websites you use on a daily basis, so if you want to see this list grow, get in touch with your favorite websites, developers, and services, and tell them you want to connect. With your help, we can all share more information across the web,” wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The New York State Attorney General’s office has won another battle in its war against child pornography on the Usenet. AT&T and AOL have joined Sprint and Verizon to drop large chunks of the alt.* hierarchy, thereby limiting access. This comes as a major disappointment to Usenet surfers who make legitimate use of the alt.* service. Internet service providers have been under increased public pressure to address Usenet abuse since a recent investigation turned up over 11,000 child porn images scattered across 88 different newsgroups. Intervention by ISPs was inevitable, but they are treading very carefully into the foray. Network providers maintain a strict policy of noninterference when it comes to moderating the content of their networks. Improper filtering of content can be seen as promotion and has lead to lawsuits in some cases.
Want to know more about Usenet?
Click the jump to see what else this little known corner of the web is used for.
Instant messaging is a great way to stay in touch, but anybody who uses it extensively knows the pain of having friends spread out over different services. Ever install a bulky and bloated IM client for just one friend? Or wished you could instant message all your groupies without running 5 different chat clients in the system tray? Well IM providers and a handful of crafty open source programmers have listened to our cries. Free browser-based alternatives exist for all the major platforms, and all in one desktop clients are finally able to bring the competing services together.