Microsoft Said Leading The Race For Part Of AOL

Many Suitors, and Pitfalls, as AOL Seeks a Partner
from the New York Times
says Microsoft is now the "front runner" in a potential sale of a stake in AOL.

The article highlights comments from Microsoft chair Bill Gates last week
saying that interest is more about having a "greater role" in the future of
advertising, suggesting as
we and others
have said before, that this may be more about landing increased distribution for
Microsoft’s new paid search program but outing AOL’s current partner, Google.

The article also says the AOL-Google deal is up for renewal each year. If so,
that’s news to me. AOL has never said how long the last deal it signed with
Google would last, but it was
very, very
when I talked to them about the deal when renewed in October 2003 that
it was a multiyear agreement.

My best
has been that the deal would be up for renewal in October of this year, since
past deals have typically lasted about two years.

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