TheStreet.com reports today that Time Warner and Microsoft are close to making a deal to develop an online advertising service. Time Warner’s AOL has considered an alliance with either Microsoft or Google, and if they go with Microsoft it will end their search relationship with Google:
Time Warner’s AOL Internet unit would drop Google as its primary provider of search, the Journal said, adding that it is still possible that AOL may choose to form an alliance with Mountain View, Calif.-based Google instead. The paper said little cash would change hands in any deal and that the prospect of a big partner taking a significant stake in AOL has receded.
Microsoft and Google have also discussed buying AOL outright but those deals are now said to be off the table. From NYTimes.com:
Time Warner is still in negotiations with Microsoft and Google over a variety of potential deals involving its AOL unit. But most of the possibilities under discussion do not involve either company’s buying a stake in AOL, an executive briefed on the negotiations said yesterday. Rather, they would involve cooperation on Web search, advertising sales and possibly other areas, the executive said.