Washington Post: AOL’s users are retreating

My spin: Of course AOL users are retreating. Once one gets comfortable with email and web sites – AOL only gets in the way. Furthermore, it’s a pile of bloatware and source of crashes. I use Eudora for email and IE 6 for my web browswer – why do I need AOL?
When AOL Time Warner Inc. reported financial results Wednesday, the record $98.2 billion annual loss posted by the giant company, and the surprise resignation of media maverick Ted Turner, garnered headlines around the world.
But beneath the surface, another figure marked a seminal moment for Dulles-based America Online Inc., the media company’s Internet unit: The number of U.S. subscribers fell for the first time ever on a quarterly basis, dropping by 170,000 in the last three months of 2002. The dip occurred despite the aggressive launch last fall of the company’s newest software, AOL 8.0; the distribution of millions of free AOL computer disks; and the outlay of more than $1 billion on advertising and promotion during the year.
(full story)