Anyone remember all the fuss back at the end of 2005 when, in December of that year, it was revealed that Google had managed to beat off the attentions of Microsoft to ensure that its relationship with AOL remained good? The New York Times reported at the time how Time Warner had agreed to sell a 5 percent stake in AOL to Google for $1 Billion.
Of course, the deal was really all about online advertising share. Not only in helping keep Google right there at the top of the online ad brokerage tree, but perhaps just as importantly to help thwart Microsoft plans to climb that tree itself.
Now, it would seem, the true cost of that deal can be revealed. It would appear that Google has told the Securities and Exchange Commission that the 'investment' if that is the right word, is likely to have less value now than it did three years ago.
Regulations required that Google reviews its investment, and in the report to the Securities and Exchange Commission it said that "we believe our investment in AOL may be impaired." More damning than that, Google then went on to explain that "we do not believe that such impairment is other-than-temporary."
If those analysts who value AOL at around half the $20 Billion at the time of the Google deal are right, that would make the 5 percent stake held worth around $500,000.