AOL can trace its roots to Control Video Corp., an early provider of online video games. From there, Quantum Computer Services was born and Steve Case, the co-founder of AOL, was hired to run marketing.
The “You’ve Got Mail” era began in 1991, when Case took over as CEO and renamed the company America Online. Case focused the company’s operations on dial-up Web access.
AOL counted more than 20 million dial-up Internet subscribers during its heyday in the late 1990s. The New York-based company still has approximately 2.2 million dial-up customers.
In January 2000, AOL and media titan Time Warner announced their doomed $183 billion merger.
The AOL-Time Warner deal, often cited as one of the worst corporate mergers in history, unraveled after the dot-com bubble burst. Time Warner detailed plans to spin off the floundering Internet company in 2009.
At the time, AOL announced it would slash 2,500 jobs once it cut ties with Time Warner. The divorce was completed in December 2009.
AOL subsequently reinvented itself. Under CEO Tim Armstrong, AOL turned its attention to online media content and ad technology.
Armstrong led the acquisitions of websites like TechCrunch, Engadget and Huffington Post. AOL also bought Adap.tv, a platform for online video ads.
Verizon agreed to pay $50 a share in cash to purchase AOL, reflecting a 17% premium over AOL’s share price Monday. Verizon touted the combination as a “significant step in building digital and video platforms to drive future growth.”
The deal is expected to close this summer, following the go-ahead from regulators.
AOL agreed to sell itself to telecom behemoth Verizon for $4.4 billion. Here’s a look back at AOL’s rocky history, from its start as an Internet pioneer to its disastrous megamerger with Time Warner, and now as a revamped digital media firm.