Time Warner has reported its third-quarter results, including AOL's numbers, and they are dismal. Internet-access revenues were down 26 percent, a loss everyone more or less expected, since the dial-up business is moribund. But advertising sales were down 6 percent. AOL management can't blame the market meltdown for this one, since that had barely started by the time the quarter ended. October through December, one assumes, will be much, much worse.What's odd is that Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes isn't getting more criticism for AOL's numbers. As the head of HBO, he was one of a handful of Time Warner executives who loudly opposed the AOL deal. But enacting Time Warner's revenge on AOL by driving the business into the ground seems a strange way of making things right with shareholders. Bewkes's hand-picked boss for AOL, former NBC executive Randy Falco, has been a complete disaster — a short-timer waiting for the company to be sold. Bewkes and Yahoo's Jerry Yang have been holding desultory talks on selling AOL to Yahoo. But Bewkes's negotiating position is considerably weakened by these results. Why didn't he sell sooner — and when will he pay the price for mismanaging AOL?
Submitted discussions can be approved by the author or users followed by this blog.