Goodbye AOL, hello TWX

What's in a name?

Time Warner will formally give AOL the branding boot today, as its board considers a plan to revert to plain old Time Warner. The stock ticker will revert to TWX, too.

It's no surprise, as most of the key AOL management have departed, and the conglomerate earns most of its money from old media, with Warner Brothers studios contributing the most. The AOL division brought in $2.1 billion of AOL-TW's $10.8 billion in earnings in the most recent quarter.

In a memo to employees last month AOL chief executive Jonathan Miller wrote "the three letters AOL have ceased to stand for the Internet and the promise it entails".

But ironically, as the "promise" of the Internet gets ever more dubious, Miller may be more right than he realizes. The rationale behind the merger in the first place was to create "synergies" of content. But content is not king, and the areas where the most utility lies - in communications and communities - are things that AOL is very good at. ®

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