AOL, which has been described as an albatross around the neck of DC Comics parent company Time Warner, plans to shed more than a third of its workforce as it spins off from the media giant next month.
Although earlier speculation placed layoffs at about 1,000, the struggling Internet company announced this morning that it will ask 2,500 of its 6,900 employees to accept buyouts. If it can't find enough volunteers, AOL will resort to layoffs. The announcement, part of an effort to cut $300 million in annual costs, comes a little more than a week after 100 layoffs.
Founded in 1983 as Quantum Computer Services, AOL at one point boasted 30 million subscribers, a number that shrank considerably after its 2001 merger with Time Warner -- a disastrous deal that resulted in a record $99-billion loss for the (briefly) rebranded AOL Time Warner and the removal of Steve Case as chairman.
AOL, which The Associated Press points out still makes money, counts among its operations the comics blog Comics Alliance, the tech blog Engadget, the video-game blog Joystiq and, in partnership with Time Warner's Telepictures Productions, the high-profile celebrity-news site TMZ.com.