Verizon buying AOL and trusted news sites for $4.4 billion – even Wikipedia has forgotten SugarString
Tue 12 May 2015
Verizon, which earned general opprobrium last year for attempting to launch a ‘gagged’ news portal called SugarString, has bought once-mighty internet giant America OnLine (AOL) for $4.4bn, acquiring with the package some of the largest and most trusted news resources on the web, including The Huffington Post and TechCrunch.
Verizon, headquartered in New York, is the largest U.S. wireless telecommunications provider, with annual turnover at $127.079bn (£811+bn). In an announcement today the company stated that the agreement, which will be concluded in the autumn, will “support and connect to Verizon’s IoT (Internet of Things) platforms, creating a growth platform from wireless to IoT for consumers and businesses,”
Verizon chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam says in the statement that AOL “has once again become a digital trailblazer, and we are excited at the prospect of charting a new course together in the digitally connected world. At Verizon, we’ve been strategically investing in emerging technology, including Verizon Digital Media Services and OTT, that taps into the market shift to digital content and advertising,”
The company caused considerable controversy last year when it attempted to launch a major tech portal, SugarString, with an editorial policy that pre-gagged thorny subjects such as net neutrality and government surveillance. The project was closed after only one month.
Speaking of potential ‘fact-gagging’, it is interesting to note that Verizon’s SugarString ‘incident’, a significant news event in itself in 2014, has left no discernible trace either on its own Wikipedia entry, or anywhere else on the site.
Other sites that will fall into Verizon’s control after the takeover is complete include Engadget, AOL.com and MAKERS.