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AOL seeks desktop deals
July 26, 2001: 12:11 p.m. ET

Report: AOL to pay PC makers $35 for each customer signed from new icons
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - America Online is moving to make deals with computer makers to give it more space on computer desktops to pitch its Internet service to consumers, according to a published report.

The Washington Post, citing AOL internal documents, said the world's largest Internet service provider would be willing to pay personal computer makers to include icons, pop-up notices and other consumer messages aimed at giving it better notice on the computers' welcome screen than Microsoft Corp. (MSFT: down $1.62 to $65.86, Research, Estimates), which operates a competing MSN Internet service.

The paper said that AOL is to offer $35 to computer makers for each customer it signs up for its service. The Post said AOL is trying to broker the deal in time for the Oct. 25 debut of Windows XP, the latest operating systems from the world's biggest maker of personal computer software.

"What AOL has sought is to be able to compensate other computer manufacturers for promotional rights that Microsoft has taken for free," said AOL Time Warner spokeswoman Kathy McKiernan. "Microsoft doesn't like that because it has not faced [this kind of challenge] before."

Under legal pressure in its antitrust case, Microsoft said earlier this month it would give computer makers more flexibility in placing icons on the desktop. A Microsoft spokesman objected to AOL's effort in the Post story, while AOL declined to comment.

AOL is a unit of AOL Time Warner Inc. (AOL: down $0.36 to $43.39, Research, Estimates), which also owns CNNfn and other businesses. graphic


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