Google to pay $1 billion for 5% of AOL

Google to pay $1 billion for 5% of AOL: Someone smarter than me is going to have to explain why. Key quote from NYT::

“Google, which prides itself on the purity of its search results, agreed to give favored placement to content from AOL throughout its site, something it has never done before.”

The NYT reports that Time Warner Chairman Richard Parsons called Steve Ballmer this morning “to give him the news that the deal that Microsoft had so eagerly sought – and had thought it had won – was going to Google, which it sees as its most potent long-term rival.”

John Battelle, who wrote the book on Google (literally), says, if Google does, indeed give favored placement to AOL content, it will mean, “AOL will once again be the ramp over which a major company jumps the shark.”

(Or, as we may see on Monday when the market opens, Google perhaps has “top-ticked.”)

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