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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Google's $1 Billion AOL Investment -- Good Will -- Sinking Fast

Two years ago, Google pumped $1 billion into Time Warner's AOL property; these days, the company is saying that doesn't look like such a great idea.

Google's strategic decision was based on AOL's advertising stock, which at the time was the largest portfolio on the Web. The company's investment secured the renewal of its deal to deliver ads across the AOL network.

As AOL continues to sink into the morass as Time Warner prepares to gut its once-proud property, that deal doesn't look so good. On top of that, Google struck a deal with Yahoo -- which would trump the AOL deal, making the massive investment strategically less important.

It's been a bad stretch for Google (at least as bad as a zillion dollar company can have) as it continues to battle Viacom, which is suing the company for $1 billion (it's beginning to sound a bit Dr. Evil-ish for the search giant) for what Viacom claims is the willful infringement of copyright happening on the video site YouTube.

And add to yesterday's Black Hat presentation where security experts claimed Google is more concerned about tracking users for advertising purposed than the long-term security of its users.

Finally -- and maybe most importantly for most of the regular Google users -- the company had an outage that sent Gmail users searching for their inboxes after the company's services went dark for a few hours.

Which isn't to say Google's on its last legs. The eponymous search company will live to fight another day, but it looks like we're in the maturation phase of the company, when investments and expanding technologies need as much maintenance as new development.

By Brad at 10:46 PM | Comments (0)

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