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AOL & MSN in Talks

The New York Post reported this morning that Time Warner and Microsoft are in talks to sell a stake in AOL to Microsoft

Citing two unnamed sources familiar with the matter, the Post said the talks concern Microsoft acquiring an AOL stake and then combining it with Microsoft’s Web unit MSN.

Microsoft would pay some money to Time Warner for the AOL stake, leaving the two companies approximately equal partners in the venture, the Post said.

It’s an interesting development, that’s for sure.  It smacks of the MSNBC joint venture between Microsoft and NBC.  However, at the time, MSN and NBC weren’t competitors. 

Comparing the companies, AOL has much higher revenues, and a much larger paid install base.  AOL has the better brand as well, and the better media properties (courtesy of Time Warner).   Microsoft, however, has the better technology, and is perhaps better equipped to take advantage of Web 2.0.  And, of course, Microsoft doesn’t have Carl ICahn demanding that they shed business units. 

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