Ah, AOL. Once America’s biggest online provider, offering a canned Internet for people who didn’t know how to reach it directly, it now is trying to reinvent itself as a content provider, especially since Time Warner realized how useless they were and dumped them like Kim Kardashian looking for a new way to become relevant. Ever since, they’ve been getting into the online content game, buying Patch.com, TechCrunch, and now…HuffPo.
Yes, AOL bought the Huffington Post, for $315 million. HuffPo, founded in 2005 by former conservative Arianna Huffington, and a bunch of other people nobody actually cares about because they’re less photogenic.
The Huffington Post rapidly found traffic by serving as a voice for Democrats on the Internet, where they could come together and snark the Bush administration. Surprisingly, most of HuffPo’s controversies have actually been about science, due to columns about homeopathy and the anti-vaccine movement, and censoring blog posts of scientists who responded. Considering how often the site deals with politics, and how it spent three years shredding George W. Bush, that’s actually pretty surprising.
Anyway, HuffPo operates on a combination of actual paid professionals and bloggers signing up for content nobody ever reads unless they already have an audience elsewhere, or manage to make a total ass of themselves in front of the entire metro area of a major city. AOL tends to operate using paid professionals writing content, so it’ll be interesting to see how it approaches HuffPo’s crowdsourcing technique for certain kinds of content. We’re guessing it’s going to involve either a sharp stick or a mallet.
Meanwhile, Motorola’s Android tablet, the Xoom, has been eagerly anticipated. Able to handle 1080p video, loaded with lots of sensors and fancy technology, and running Android 3.0, code-named Honeycomb, it was looking like an iPad killer for people who actually care which tablet computer sells the most.
We couldn’t have that, so Motorola has torpedoed all that hype with a leak that the price of the Xoom will be $800, or .00000254 HuffPos. That would be great, and reasonably priced, if it weren’t nearly twice the price of the iPad, the current dominator of the tablet computing market, and four times the price of your average netbook. And just to add fuel to the sudden fires of nerd rage, apparently the tablet will only activate its WiFi if you pay for one month of Verizon coverage on their 3G network.
Tech bloggers are already sharpening their knives, or at least prepping their Rage Guy faces to macro “FFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUU” onto when they discuss the news, but we’ll just satisfy ourselves by assuming that Motorola has been doing some seriously awesome drugs. Think about it: they looked at the iPad, decided they could just switch out the OS, add a magnetometer and a barometer to it (for some reason), and charge $300 more than Apple.
Have fun with that, guys.
- Huffington Post sells itself to AOL, then reports on itself. Free Republic declares it to be a liberal conspiracy and demands to see HuffPo’s birth certificate. (Huffington Post)
- Motorola guarantees Apple will be controlling the tablet market for a long, long time. (PC World)
- While we’re at it, take a moment to admire the sheer chutzpah of this Xoom ad. Eventually tech companies will stop riffing on Apple’s 1984 ad, as half their target market wasn’t even born when it aired in the first place. (Business Insider)
- Today in animal news, if you were ever wondering which hand your parrot writes with, wonder no more. Some species are predominantly left-handed, some predominantly right, with the left-handed species occasionally complaining about how all perches and food bowls are built for right-handers. This is important because it proves animals are a lot smarter than we thought. You know, because Simon Cowell still having a job when most species would have driven him away from their territory wasn’t enough proof. (The Age)
- In faking animal news, nine people competed in the finals of deer-calling in Dortmund, Germany. They were impersonating deer mating calls, using various tools. Andreas Toepfer was crowned the winner, and then immediately sexually assaulted by a deer. Toepfer is going to the European finals, while the deer is in custody awaiting trial. (Yahoo!)
- The Huffington Post had 13 million unique visitors last March, a number that presumably caught AOL’s attention. (Business Insider)
- Meanwhile, 80% of AOL’s profits come from people who don’t realize they don’t need to pay AOL $20 a month to access the Internet. Yes, AOL still has subscribers to their Internet-lite. We’re as surprised as you. (Consumerist)