Saturday, December 16, 2006
Nearly 450 AOL Employees Are Laid Off
About 450 AOL Workers Are Laid Off As Firm Continues Restructuring Away From Dial-Up Internet
About 450 workers at the Dulles headquarters of AOL were laid off Wednesday as the company continues restructuring away from its traditional roots as a subscription-based provider of dial-up Internet access.
AOL announced in August that it planned to cut about 5,000 jobs -- or roughly a fourth of its global workforce -- as it embarked on major changes designed to shift the company's revenue stream from subscription fees to online advertising. Many of AOL's key features, like e-mail accounts, are now available for free.
AOL spokesman Andrew Weinstein said Wednesday's layoffs essentially represent the final round of job cuts.
Worldwide layoffs roughly matched the 5,000 figure cited back in August, but fewer of the cuts came at the Dulles headquarters than had been anticipated. In all, about 500 were laid off in northern Virginia, compared to initial estimates of about 1,000.
Most of those laid off Wednesday had jobs related to support of the company's dial-up access service.
"The majority of the employees either knew or suspected they might be impacted" because of the company's earlier announcements, Weinstein said.
Since the company announced its broad plans in August, it has closed all four of its domestic call centers in Ogden, Utah; Albuquerque, N.M.; Tucson, Ariz.: and Oklahoma City. All of its call centers are now located overseas, in Bangalore, India, and the Philippines, Weinstein said.
In August, AOL's parent company, Time Warner Inc., said it expected to spend $250 million to $350 million through 2007 to implement changes at AOL. About half of that was earmarked for employee severance.
Wednesday's cuts leave AOL with a global work force of about 14,000, including about 4,000 in northern Virginia.
It's generally not in my nature to delight in the misfortune of others, but hopefully these cutbacks will extend to Corporate Escalations and a certain person I'm not supposed to call anymore. I do hope that Ginger Crissman, who works in Dulles where the bulk of the layoffs are coming from is OK as she was actually helpful to me.