Case Study: America Online (AOL)

America Online (AOL) is a global Web services company that operates some of the most popular Web destinations, offers a comprehensive suite of free software and services runs one of the largest Internet access businesses in the U.S., and provides a full set of advertising solutions.

A majority-owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. AOL LLC and its subsidiaries have operations in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Asia. [Source: AOL, March 2008]

Things to read:

Questions to consider:

  • What factors help explain AOL’s ascendency to the largest online subscription service, and it’s subsequent decline?
  • What is the strategy behind AOL’s merger with Time Warner? Why did it fail?
  • What problems are at the core of AOL’s recent troubles? How can the company turn around and set itself on a path to success?

Intellectual Property

Selected trademark registrations:

  • AOL.COM ®;
  • AIM ®;
  • Search real-time for U.S. trademarks.

Selected patents:

  • 6,393,469 — Method and apparatus for publishing hypermedia documents;
  • 6,385,656 — Selective recompression of files in a network system;
  • 6,381,599 — Seamless integration of internet resources;
  • 6,339,784 — Self-policing, rate limiting online forums;
  • 6,012,051 — Consumer profiling system with analytic decision processor;
  • 6,009,413 — System for real time shopping;
  • Search real-time for recent U.S. patents granted to AOL.