DULLES, Va. – It's official: America Online Inc. is now known simply as AOL. In an expected move, Time Warner Inc.'s (TWX) Internet unit said Monday it has renamed itself; it also changed from being a corporation to a limited liability company.
"Our company long ago accomplished the mission implied by our old name. We literally got America online," said Jon Miller, chairman and chief executive of AOL LLC. "Our new corporate identity better reflects our expanded mission — to make everyone's online experience better."
He added that consumers already know the service by its initials.
AOL formed as Quantum Computer Services in 1985 and started offering the AOL online service in 1989, beginning with Apple Computer Inc.'s systems. The company changed its name to America Online Inc. in 1991.
The company merged with Time Warner Inc. in 2001 to form AOL Time Warner Inc., but as the Internet access business declined, the parent company dropped AOL from its name and became once again just Time Warner Inc.
AOL had 19.5 million U.S. subscribers as of Dec. 31, a 27 percent drop from its peak of 26.7 million in September 2002. Over the past year, AOL has been increasingly shifting its efforts at making articles, video and other materials available for free through its ad-supported sites.