Today's public announcement by Time Warner's new Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes that he plans to split AOL assets comes on the heels of conjecture that the Microsoft hostile takeover bid for Yahoo! leaves AOL out in the cold. As the popular thinking goes:
- Two of the three most likely bidders, Microsoft and Yahoo!, are embroiled in other more important matters
- The third, Google, already holds a 5% share of AOL. Why would they want, or need, more?
- Other possible bidders, such as Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, have already said they have no interest.
Why not Facebook? AOL would offer a plug-n-play portal, email, and IM elements to Facebook's social site, even as portals and engines, such as Google and Yahoo!, are trying to add social elements to their email apps. And if Facebook opened them to developers, as is their pattern, then these could really grow into something special.
I guess it's not likely to happen. But wouldn't it make things interesting?