Now that the word is out that AOL is planning to make once-premium content and services available for free, in an effort to boost its advertising base, the proverbial “other shoe” has dropped. A memo from CEO Jonathan Miller to employees, the Los Angeles Times has learned, stated the company plans to reduce its workforce from 19,000 to 14,000 – news which an AOL spokesperson confirmed to the paper.
Customer-service and marketing call centers will be closed as AOL’s subscriber base dwindles further. There are no call centers in California.
The 5,000 jobs that Miller referred to in a companywide webcast Thursday include workers at AOL’s dial-up Internet access operation in France. AOL said it is in exclusive negotiations to sell the business to the French telephone company Neuf Cegetel. AOL also may sell similar operations elsewhere in Europe, the company said during a conference call Wednesday.