Time Warner's AOL to Offer Free E-Mail, Services

AOL, Time Warner’s Web division, will offer up its popular e-mail and AIM instant-messaging programs, as well as various software and Web-based services, free of charge to its high-speed Internet users, BBC News reports.

Time Warner is hoping its ailing AOL unit will benefit from the “explosive rise in broadband use and online advertising,” according to BBC News.

Time Warner has been under pressure in recent days from shareholders and other critics to improve AOL’s performance and in turn boost user numbers and its share prices.

AOL also announced that it will no longer actively promote its dial-up service, according to BBC News, which helped the firm reach its king-of-the-ISPs status in the late 1990s.

In 2005, AOL shifted much of its content, including news and music information, from fee-based offerings to free services offered on its website, BBC News reports.

The company is currently attempting to move to an entirely Web-based business model for its services—not unlike those of Google and Yahoo—in an effort to bring in more advertising dollars.

According to Time Warner, AOL lost some 976,000 subscribers in the second quarter of 2006, BBC News reports.

Time Warner also announced this week that it took in some $2 billion in net income in the second quarter, much of which came from AOL advertising revenue.

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