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AOL at 25, contemplates its future

SAN FRANCISCO, May 24 (UPI) -- The 25th anniversary of America Online finds the U.S. Internet giant unable to rest on its laurels, co-founder Steve Case said.

The dial-up service that once boasted 30 million members, reported its dial-up revenue down 28 percent to $283 million and its advertising revenue down 19 percent to $354 million in the most recent quarter, USA Today reported Monday.

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It was also ranked No. 5 among all Web sites in unique visitors in April with 115 million, ComScore reported.

"Not bad at all," said Ken Lim, a market analyst at CyberMedia Convergence Consulting.

However, Case said, "The question is, how do you return it to being a leader."

AOL Chief Executive Officer Tim Armstrong likened the company to "the Procter & Gamble of the Web," a mainstay that might have lost some agility, but was not going to perish soon.

"The AOL brand is still one of the most meaningful in Internet history," he said.

Lim said AOL, which is aiming to be a leading content provider and advertiser for the Internet, was stuck with a reputation of being the Internet's pre-school.

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"The growth of search engines opened up the Internet, and made it OK to leave the walled garden of an AOL for safer alternatives," Lim said.

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