- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 13, 2006

ASSOCIATED PRESS

About 450 workers at the Sterling, Va., headquarters of AOL received pink slips yesterday as the company continues restructuring away from its traditional roots as a subscription-based provider of dial-up Internet access.

AOL announced back in August that it planned to cut about 5,000 jobs — or roughly a fourth of its global work force— 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, such as e-mail accounts, are now available for free.

AOL spokesman Andrew Weinstein said yesterday’s layoffs represent the final round of job cuts.

Worldwide layoffs roughly matched the 5,000 figure cited back in August, but fewer cuts than anticipated came at AOL’s headquarters. In all, about 500 were laid off in Northern Virginia, compared with initial estimates of 1,000.

Most of those laid off yesterday 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, Mr. 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, Mr. 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.

Yesterday’s cuts leave AOL with a global work force of about 14,000, including about 4,000 in Northern Virginia.

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