AOL: “You’ve got (free) mail”

Time Warnersy says AOL’s software and e-mail,as well as various other products, will be made available for free to broadband users in a move to enhance the growth of its online advertising business.
Time Warner President and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Bewkes says the move was made to help current AOL customers who purchase a broadband service and want to keep using AOL products without paying extra for them.
“This is the next logical step for AOL to capitalize further on the explosive rise in broadband usage and online advertising,” he says. “With its robust and rapidly expanding advertising operation, we expect to put AOL back on a growth path.”

Among the AOL products that will be available for free to anyone with an Internet connection are: AOL’s integrated software; communications features, including AOL e-mail, instant messaging, a local phone number with unlimited incoming calls, and social networking applications; and safety and security features, such as parental controls. To encourage former members to return to using the AOL software, e-mail, instant messaging and other AOL products, they will be able to reactivate their screen names, if given up within the last two years.

In the weeks ahead, AOL will announce a number of free new products in such areas as safety and security, storage, personalized e-mail domains, video and search, as well as an update of its AOL software. Combined with AOL’s video search, video assets, compelling content, blogging and other existing free applications, these new products will allow AOL to compete across the board for new Internet users, both domestically and abroad.

AOL will continue to offer its dial-up access subscription service, but will no longer aggressively market it. Members may continue to subscribe to AOL’s unlimited premium dial-up plan with a monthly price of $25.90 (including such additional features as 50 gigabytes of storage and unlimited premium customer care) or choose from two lower-cost access plans.