Report: AOL cuts more than 40 jobs, mostly from AIM unit

Major job cuts are under way at AOL, with the AIM department taking the biggest hits as the number of layoffs could approach 100.

AOL cut more than 40 jobs last week, which will be effective by the end of March, according to The New York Times' Bits blog.

Specifically, the layoffs are affecting AOL's West Coast offices, primarily within the AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) unit.

Even worse, the number of job cuts is expected to increase to approximately 100 employees in the next few weeks, according to anonymous sources that spoke to the NYT.

It's no secret that AOL isn't in a good place. The beleaguered Internet provider squeaked out fourth quarter earnings that were better than expected in February, although it still drawing poor profit returns from major online publishing purchases such as TechCrunch and The Huffington Post.

Although AOL confirmed to the NYT about last week's layoffs, the company remained mum as to exactly how many jobs were slashed as well as about why AIM, in particular, suffered the brunt of the axe. It's easy to see that AIM isn't what it used to be in comparison to other Internet-based forms of instant messaging, such as Google Chat, Facebook or Skype.

Nevertheless, it is a tad surprising that the unit was reportedly left with only support staff going forward. Thus, that inevitably means that we won't be seeing software upgrades or new features added to AIM in the future.

The unit that is probably on the chopping block next isn't much of a surprise: Patch. Although it seems great in theory, the local news platform hasn't proved to be much of a moneymaker for AOL.

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