AOL dealmakers meeting with Microsoft, taking calls from Yahoo

An AOL team of negotiators is in Seattle right now, trying to sell the business to Microsoft for a price somewhere between $10 billion and $15 billion. An AOL source told Silicon Alley Insider the probability that a deal gets done on this trip is "low/medium." Perhaps in an effort to speed the proceedings and ignite a bidding war, another source told Reuters that AOL-Yahoo merger negotiations — on since April — "have taken on new urgency." If such a bidding war goes down, bet that AOL goes to Microsoft, which has more cash than Yahoo. More importantly, CEO Steve Ballmer will refuse to get left at the altar by Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang again.

Aside from keeping it out of Yahoo's hands, we remain confused as to why Microsoft would want AOL. Yes, Time Warner's online division has an impressive advertising reach across the Internet, thanks to its Advertising.com network. But it doesn't actually own most of the websites which carry the ads it sells. And of those it does own, how much of their traffic is from people who haven't figured out how to change their homepage? (Photo by AP/Paul Sakuma)