It’s definately making sense for MSFT to acquire AOL. Microsoft has been struggling for almost a decade to win the battle of Internet standard but failed. Their prior success is “Internet Explorer" – in 1995 they bought the source code from Mosaic led by Marc Anderson, the predecessor of Netscape (Marc Anderson as its CEO). And then to pay AOL a bunch of money (so-called “investment") to abandon the marketing development of Netscape that cause it to die in the long run.
It’s now another great chance for MSFT to acquire AOL. ‘cuz both AOL and MSFT have losing their competence. But with the merge, it’d be indeed a good synergy, and absolutely a good story to tell to the market.
What can MSFT do with such an acqusition?
They’ve definately losing a lof of chance in the battle of portal. They bought CNBC (now called “MSCNBC") and trying to get more traditional “content" but soonly prove it’s failed. They also bought Encarta, a terrific encyclopedia with both online and offline (DVD) versions but no new story and synergy at that moment. They even bought Hotmail and to even build a portal called the Microsoft Network (MSN actually) but with no success in the portal market.
Their popular MSN Messenger has prove itself a success story around the world in the past few years. And now is a great chance for them to prove they also have great content and great sense of providing a compelling portal services with different properties Internet users would possibly need.
Moreover, Apple is going to enter x86 market very soon (there’s already an un-official copy of x86 compatible Mac OS X under alpha testing). That being said, MSFT is going to face a hard time with a great competitor that they’re stealing ideas from 2 decades ago. Windows Vista (“Longhorn") was postponed for many times. Before it released to the market, Apple is definately able to attract a bunch of users to switch to its Mac OSX (“Tiger"). So to get Longhorn release ASAP and to acuqire AOL would becoming a great chance to stop from losing their competence in the Internet market, moreover, losing the market in the consumer OS platform and even applications.