TEXT OF STORY
Scott Jagow: The CEO of Time-Warner is looking for a buyer ASAP. He wants to sell AOL’s dial-up business. Yes, the dial-up business. Now, who would want that? Well, it turns out there are plenty of people who are still using dial-up. Bob Moon has more.
Bob Moon: If you’re thinking this sound is soooooo 1990’s:
AOL SIGN-ON: Welcome! You’ve got mail!
You may be surprised to learn AOL still takes in more than $2 billion a year from dial-up subscribers.
Parent Time Warner hopes to sell that part of the business off within the next months and focus on its content and advertising. A rival — perhaps Earthlink — might benefit from adding more than 8.5 million dial-up customers.
Forrester Research analyst Sally Cohen says the business still has a future:
Sally Cohen: The cost of dial-up service has come down so much over the last couple of years, and perhaps might continue to come down as the market shrinks.
Cohen says dial-up’s good enough for those who just want to check mail or read the news. And in the LA suburb of Manhattan Beach, Rob Combs thinks it’s just safer:
Rob Combs: There’s one thing about this dial-up — it is slow, but it’s also a very controlled, secure connection.
Combs admits it would be nice to have broadband — especially when I suggested if he missed this story on the air he could always stream the audio over his dial-up Internet connection.
Perhaps that reaction explains why AOL is telling this business:
AOL SIGN-OFF: Goodbye!
In Los Angeles, I’m Bob Moon for Marketplace.
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