AOL Inc. (simply known as AOL, originally known as America Online) is an American multinational mass media corporation based in New York, a subsidiary of Verizon Communications. The company owns and operates websites such as The Huffington Post, TechCrunch and Engadget, and spans digital distribution of content, products, and services, which it offers to consumers, publishers, and advertisers.
AOL was one of the early pioneers of the Internet in the mid-1990s, and the most recognized brand on the web in the U.S. It originally provided a dial-up service to millions of Americans, as well as providing a web portal, e-mail, instant messaging and later a web browser following its purchase of Netscape. At the height of its popularity, it purchased the media conglomerate Time Warner in the largest merger in U.S. history. AOL rapidly declined thereafter, partly due to the decline of dial-up to broadband. AOL was eventually spun off from Time Warner in 2009, with Tim Armstrong appointed the new CEO. Under his leadership, the company invested in media brands and advertising technologies.
On June 23, 2015, AOL was acquired by Verizon Communications for $4.4 billion, which turned it into a subsidiary. In the following months, AOL also made a deal with Microsoft and acquired several tech properties, including Millennial Media and Kanvas to bolster their mobile ad-tech capabilities.