Case Study

America Online (AOL): Combining internet and media

13 pages
May 2000
Reference: IMD-3-0877

This case describes the evolution of America Online (AOL) from Internet start-up to media giant with a $290 billion market capitalization following its merger with Time-Warner. AOL grew by targeting Internet novices with easy-to-use news, shopping, and chat rooms, and connecting its customer “community” to a large network of Internet “content providers”. Through a series of acquisitions in the late 1990s, including Netscape, Spinner, Movie Fone, CompuServe, ICQ and others, AOL attempted to transform itself into a brand “family” that reached different Internet audiences with its likable, homey interface. The case traces AOL’s strategy and various interpretations of its corporate identity, along with the possible impact of its entry into the media industry.

Internet, Media, Corporate Identity
United States of America
January 2000
Published Sources
© 2000
Available Languages
Case clearing houses
IMD case studies are distributed through case clearing houses. In order to browse the collection and purchase copies please visit the links below.

The Case Centre

Cranfield University

Wharley End Beds MK43 0JR, UK
Tel +44 (0)1234 750903
Email [email protected]

Harvard Business School Publishing

60 Harvard Way, Boston MA 02163, USA
Tel (800) 545-7685 Tel (617)-783-7600
Fax (617) 783-7666
Email [email protected]

Asia Pacific Case Center

NUCB Business School

1-3-1 Nishiki Naka
Nagoya Aichi, Japan 460-0003
Tel +81 52 20 38 111
Email [email protected]


Research Information & Knowledge Hub for additional information on IMD publications

Discover our latest research
IMD's faculty and research teams publish articles, case studies, books and reports on a wide range of topics