During an interview at the Web 2.0 conference, AOL CEO Jonathan Miller said that AOL was changing its official name from America Online to "AOL," solving the problem of taking the brand internationally without offending those countries that don't want to have an America Online in their midst. [video clip here]
Miller was also asked about doing a deal with Microsoft. He dodged the question mostly, talking about considering anything that accelerates the transition from its more proprietary view of the world to one in concert with Web 2.0. "We are the largest swing voter," Miller said in reference to whether Microsoft, Google or Yahoo would service AOL's ad network, "and could go different ways and people are aware of that." Between Microsoft's Yusef Mehdi no comment to the question of his company's intention and Miller's answers, I still have sense that something is underway between the two.
He views Yahoo as a content-oriented portal most like AOL, and a primary competitor. Both share a similar vision for expanding more into video and other forms of content, and to create a more integrated set of services. "It's a real turning point for video consumption over IP, and we want to do a lot more of it," Miller said. "Today we have a lot more video than anybody else [a Time Warner company], more video assets and programs, and we'll take Weblogs (AOL acquired blog network Weblogs, Inc. today) into print and video as well.
Miller also shared a few factoids. AOL took a look at ask.com, which InterActiveCorp bought, but couldn't make the math work, and he wasn't keen on fighting the algorithmic search battle with the likes of Google, Yahoo and MSN. Over the years, AOL shipped out 660 million disk/CDs to promote its services.