AOL's current search deal with Google will expire in six and a half months, and although it looks like AOL's CEO, Tim Armstrong, would prefer to stick with the search giant, his options are supposedly not limited. Armstrong talked today about how things could go in several directions.
To be fair, Armstrong was nothing but polite when speaking about Google at the All Things Digital conference. He confirmed that his company's "starting with Google," and according to Scott Morrison, said, "Google has been [AOL's search] partner for close to a decade. We know what works and doesn't work. Google knows what works and doesn't work."
Armstrong also observed, however, "Both companies' needs have changed."
Then here's the most interesting part: Armstrong said that AOL has "more than two potential partners," which is an unusual way of describing a situation. Google and Microsoft represent two much-talked-about options . . . the identity of AOL's third (and possibly fourth) potential partner is harder to guess.
Is Yahoo trying to demonstrate its independence from Microsoft by making in a bid? Does IAC want to give Ask a major shot in the arm? Or is Armstrong just bluffing for the sake of better terms? Feel free to speculate below.
Anyway, given the deadline AOL's looking at, it shouldn't be long before this matter is settled.