Sources familiar with Microsoft tell the WSJ they expect CEO Steve Ballmer to target another large Internet company for acquisition soon. Noting that few companies have the size to boost Microsoft's business, Ballmer himself listed Facebook and News Corp.'s MySpace as properties that could help Microsoft control the Internet as it did the personal computer. Others want Ballmer to buy AOL for its massive and cheap inventory. (What, are they pulling for a Nsync reunion tour as well?) Microsoft could easily better Yahoo's $10 billion offer for AOL, says SAI's Henry Blodget. But there's a reason AOL is cheap, people.
Compete reports visits to AOL are down 21 percent in the last year. It's "people count" dropped from 74 million to 60 million in the same time. Face it: AOL remains popular because old people in middle America are too lazy to change their default home page. If Microsoft really wants a decrepit 1990s Internet brand name cheap, it could probably get Prodigy from AT&T for a lot less than $10 billion.