AOL

Tim Armstrong, chief executive of AOL, has apologized to employees of the internet company for firing an employee last week in front of more than 1,000 coworkers, writes Emily Steel

During a conference call to discuss the future of AOL’s struggling network of local Patch sites, Mr Armstrong told the group’s creative director to immediately put down a camera then declared that he was fired. A recording of the call has been making rounds on the internet and been listened to more than 1,000 times. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Webmail services have seen little innovation since Google’s Gmail arrived in 2004, but Microsoft took a fresh look with Outlook.com, launched in the summer, and now AOL has unveiled Altomail.com.

Note that Microsoft and AOL are wisely choosing not to force Hotmail and AOL Mail users to switch to the new services – email users tend to be very set in their ways and Altomail looks a radically different interface in some of its views. Read more

Richard Waters

Microsoft just wrote the final chapter in a historic rivalry that defined the early years of the Web – and which became Exhibit A in its anti-trust showdown with the US government.

We hear that the legal remains of Netscape – along with its patents – have just been traded to Microsoft by AOL as part of a landmark $1.1bn deal. More than a decade after it was vanquished in the browser wars, Netscape really does seem to be worth more dead than alive. Read more

Chris Nuttall

RSS readers used to be the standard way for web users to collect and consume news from different sources, but the advent of tablets has brought personalised photo-rich magazine-style experiences rather than long RSS lists of headlines.

With traditional journalism in decline, the seven news aggregators reviewed here make a case that bots and social networks may be able to take the place of good editors by automatically providing a rich and more personalised news experience. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Facebook is pursuing legal action after it claimed it had identified the perpetrator of a virus which saw the site flooded with pornographic and violent images, TNW reports. The social network said in a statement:

In addition to the engineering teams that build tools to block spam we also have a dedicated enforcement team that has already identified those responsible and is working with our legal team to ensure appropriate consequences follow.

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Joseph Menn

Yahoo which is expected to lose its US display-advertising leadership this year to fast-growing Facebook, is trying to shore up its position by striking a mutual selling agreement with rivals Microsoft and AOL. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

AOL has announced that Michael Arrington, founder and editor of the influential technology blog TechCrunch, has “decided to move on from TechCrunch and AOL to his newly formed venture fund”, Business Insider reports. Erick Schonfeld will take over as editor. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Android  is expected to surpass Apple in application downloads for the first time, according to research seen by CNET. A study by Ovum has found that Google’s mobile system is set to notch up 8.1bn app downloads this year, compared with 6bn for Apple’s iOS devices. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Technology industry analyst Gartner has slashed its sales growth projection for PCs for 2011 from 9.3% to 3.8%, PC Pro reports. Gartner attributes the slowdown to pressure from other gadgets such as smartphones and tablets and people holding on to their PCs for longer. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Facebook has acquired e-book publisher Push Pop Press for an undisclosed price, ReadWriteWeb reports. The technology will “become part of how millions of people connect and share with each other on Facebook,” Push Pop Press said on its site. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

The Huffington Post will launch a British edition this summer, its founder announced in London, in what could be the first of a raft of international versions of the blogging site. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

  • AOL has unveiled the first round of redundancies following its $315m deal to acquire the Huffington Post, PaidContent reports. In India, which accounts for nearly 20 per cent of AOL’s 5,000 staff,  400 jobs will be lost with a further 300 outsourced to outside contractors. PaidContent adds that a much smaller wave of cuts will follow in the US and the total number of jobs cut will be close to 900.

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Arianna HuffingtonWhen Arianna Huffington launched The Huffington Post in 2005, critics wrote off the venture as doomed from the start. “The Madonna of the mediapolitic world has undergone one reinvention too many,” said acid-tongued Hollywood blogger Nikki Finke. “She is finally played out publicly.”

Continue reading “Woman in the News: Arianna Huffington”

David Gelles

Bebo founder Michael Birch thinks that becoming a multimillionaire nearly killed him. Shortly after selling his social networking site to AOL for $850m in 2008, a long-term benign defect became dangerous

But just weeks after AOL unloaded the social networking site for pittance, Mr Birch is feeling rejuvenated. In a profile in Wednesday’s FT, technology correspondent Maija Palmer talks with Mr Birch about his health, his investments in new tech companies, and his new company incubator in San Francisco. Read more

Chris Nuttall

It is clear from the moment visitors step into the lobby of AOL’s New York headquarters that this soon-to-be-spun-off internet division of Time Warner remains a work in progress, writes Kenneth Li.

Tim Armstrong, AOL’s chief executive since March, would prefer that visitors based their initial impressions by starting with his office. A giant black-and-white poster of CNN founder Ted Turner in Apple’s “Think Different” advertising campaign hangs on a wall in a room surrounded by pictures of his three children. Read more

David Gelles

  • Intel, the world’s biggest chipmaker, reported its strongest pick-up in business in more than 20 years, giving a major lift to the PC industry and technology sector. Intel reported second-quarter revenues of $8bn, up 12 per cent on the first quarter and well ahead of analyst expectations of $7.23bn. Its profit of 18 cents a share also easily exceeded a consensus of 8 cents. The chipmaker was the first big technology company to report earnings this season, providing a boost to the sector and the wider market.
  • Dell plans to plunge into the crowded smartphone market and invest in other new areas, fuelling investor concerns that profit margins will continue to erode at the world’s second-largest computer maker. Ronald Garriques, president of Dell’s consumer division, said the company would “work with the top three to four” telecommunications carriers “and see what their needs are”.The declaration follows innovations in recent months from other manufacturers of internet-enabled phones such as Apple and Research in Motion, while spending on other computing products is flagging.
  • Microsoft unveiled pricing details and launch plans for Windows Azure, the “cloud” operating system that Ray Ozzie hopes will become the online analogue to Windows on the personal computer – a platform that supports applications on the internet. The formalising of the plans, with Azure services going on sale in November, caps the first stage in an planned cultural and technological transformation of the world’s biggest software company.

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  • The economic slump hasn’t ended yet. That was the word from the executives of Microsoft and Dell, as they countered the recent optimistic views expressed by other big tech companies. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, said: “To think that things would be back in a year seems naive to me.” Brian Gladden, Dell’s chief financial officer, said: “Based on what we see in the marketplace, we’re not comfortable talking about seeing a bottom at this point.”
  • Microsoft and Google took direct aim at each other’s core businesses as they showed off ambitious new services that represent some of their biggest internet development efforts. Microsoft unveiled its new search engine, Bing, to generally positive reviews. Google, meanwhile, stole the thunder by showing-off Wave, a new communication platform that incorporates elements of email, chat and document sharing.

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  • A Yahoo / Microsoft deal could still be struck if it involved “a boatload of money.” That was the word from Carol Bartz, Yahoo’s chief executive, who said her company is no longer in serious talks with Microsoft over a deal to combine their search efforts. But she acknowledged that negotiations between the two companies were continuing “a little bit”.
  • Time Warner is close to a decision to spin off all of its AOL internet business, according to three people in contact with the company. Although a decision has not yet been finalised, executives prefer spinning off the whole division rather than a part. Over the past year, Time Warner has considered spinning off either its advertising-driven “audience business” or its legacy dial-up internet business, they say.

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  • Time Warner moved closer to spinning off AOL, while at the same time reporting a 14 per cent decline in quarterly net profit due to a drop in online and print advertising. Disposing of AOL would untangle what many consider one of the worst mergers in US corporate history, one that has lost shareholders more than $100bn.
  • Google lost its fourth high-profile executive since March, with the departure of display ad chief David Rosenblatt, the former chief executive of DoubleClick, which Google acquired last year. Mr Rosenblatt reportedly doesn’t have another job lined up yet, but is aiming to leave Silicon Valley and move to New York.

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  • Verizon Communications has held talks with Apple about selling versions of either the iPhone or other Apple devices in the US. Currently AT&T is the exclusive distributor of the iPhone in the US, and the company was reportedly trying to extend that deal for another year. A lucrative deal with Apple would be a coup for Verizon, which reported strong quarterly profits from its growing mobile business.
  • Qualcomm, the world’s biggest maker of chips for mobile phones, put an end to legal wrangling by settling a four-year patent dispute with rival Broadcom. Qualcomm has agreed to pay Broadcom $891m over four years in exchange for the dismissal of all court cases and Broadcom withdrawing its complaints about Qualcomm’s business practices.

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