AOL has been in trouble for a long while. At one point, they were the dominant ISP in America. When cable and DSL started to proliferate, AOL hung tough and tried to sell their walled garden service on top of cable for a long, long time. It took them a while to pivot. For the most part now, AOL is known as a content business with Weblogs, Inc., TechCrunch, and the Huffington Post. It makes sense that they’d start selling off their patent portfolio to make some cash.
[quote]AOL has entered into a definitive agreement to sell more than 800 of its patents and their related patent applications to Microsoft, it said Monday. The sale of patents and a non-exclusive license to its retained patent portfolio will fetch the company over $1 billion in cash, AOL said.[/quote]
This is worth noting, I think. Not only did AOL sell off 800 of its patents, but Microsoft has non-exclusive rights to the ones AOL didn’t sell. Considering how much money Microsoft has been reported to make from its patents on Android, it makes all the sense in the world that they’re interested in stocking up for an ongoing war of attrition with Google.
Will this save AOL as a company? Almost certainly not, but it will buy them some time as they continue to flail. Giants of old: AOL and Yahoo, against all odds, are still here. For how long is anybody’s guess.