In the inbox this morning:The folks at Time Warner have no idea what they are doing with AOL or any other business, they just enjoy playing sadistic little games with each. No one was that impressed with Miller as a CEO, but the follks at Time Warner have screwed up the Microsoft deal, did their best to screw up the Google deal and they certainly screwed this up. Believe nothing they say. Background, and more inside details, after the jump.
In case you're just joining this story: Time Warner is a big media conglomerate, a maker of good television shows like The Sopranos, among other things, which was conned into buying an ISP called AOL. At the height of the last boom. Just as people were switching from dialup to broadband. Oops.
Time Warner hated AOL for a long while and would have loved to dump it, but for the psychic pain of recognizing such a loss. But now that online advertising is finally becoming significant, they're just annoyed that AOL isn't as big as Yahoo. So they fired the unit's head, Jonathan Miller, yesterday, and put in a guy who know about ad sales. Jeff Bewkes, Miller's direct boss, is the man behind some of those TV shows I mentioned earlier.
Anyway, Time Warner HQ and AOL execs really despise eachother now, and, since Miller's execution, they've been bitching about eachother like crazy. That's all you really need to know.
If you remember back to yesterday, the behind-the-scenes Time Warner spin was that Miller had to go because he was terminally indecisive. Our anonymous correspondent, someone in the AOL camp, responds. By the way, much as I might love to get him in trouble with his new boss, the leaker is not Miller protege Jason Calacanis.
As recently as Monday, Jeff Bewkes appeared on a stage at an AOL offsite and told the assembled that Jon was his guy and that he was happy with the way things were going. On tuesday afternoon the rumors start to fly, Miller is getting calls from reporters saying that he is out, he calls Bewkes (note: most decent people who have to fire someone actually reach out and make the contact) and Bewkes tells him the rumors are true. So Bewkes lied to the top management at AOL and didn't have the guts to even call the guy he was firing.