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Friday, June 24, 2005
  AOL cracks open the door, does anyone actually care?
AOL takes bold step: Content's now free - Yahoo! News: "The walls guarding America Online's proprietary content quietly started to crumble this week as the company placed most of its news, sports, chats and other features on the open Internet. That's the culmination of AOL's 18-month-old plan to vie head-on with Google, Yahoo and Microsoft as an advertising-driven Web portal. The new strategy is a bid to offset the loss of millions of subscribers.

As part of a test, online users now can access a Web version of AOL's trademark welcome screen and menu of content channels by going to AOL.com and clicking on a link called 'AOL.com Beta Test.' Over the summer, AOL plans to move the programming directly to AOL.com. 'Very quietly, the walled-garden era has ended,' AOL Chief Jonathan Miller said after meeting with USA TODAY's editorial board.

AOL is still the No. 1 Internet service, but its subscriber base has fallen to 22 million from 26 million two years ago as customers continue to defect to cable and DSL broadband providers or discount dial-up services. To stem the bleeding, the Time Warner unit has remade itself as a top broadband content company by offering exclusive music concerts and videos, movie trailers, news clips and sports highlights. But just 5 million subscribers shell out $14.95 a month for AOL's content in addition to a separate cable or DSL broadband fee."
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