AOL prepares to slash staff

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Time Warner’s struggling AOL business is to cut over a quarter of its 19,000 staff as part of its latest self-reinvention.

In another reverse on its traditional strategy, it will also stop cluttering up the world with trial AOL CD-ROMs.

The media giant and its online albatross announced this week that it will scale down its reliance on subscriptions, offer more services for free, and will look to make more revenues from ads.

AOL is aiming to save around $1bn - which should underwrite the fact it is shifting away from its reliance on subscriptions. However, this means many staff, including those who provide paid support to paying customers, and those responsible for producing and distributing the trial disks, will be in the firing line as it looks to make those savings. Other jobs will go as it spins off overseas operations. Its German and French ventures are already on the block.

In all, 5,000 people will be lopped from the AOL payroll. The cuts are expected to bite in late September or October.

The scrapping of the trial CD program is unlikely to bring tears to anyone’s eyes. In the US you can’t even go to the post office without being offered yet another trial CD.

The move could, of course, lead to further destabilisation of the world economy, as it will no doubt free up the oil needed to make the blasted things, while mail workers will be freed up to deliver previously less important mail such as checks, bills, etc. Still, a small price to pay. ®

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