AOL’s Tim Armstrong, in an interview with Michael Arrington at TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference said that he doesn’t know if he would have purchased Bebo, AOL’s failed and costly ($850 million) acquisition and attempt at being a social network.
Saying that Bebo has been “a huge distraction” since he joined the company, Armstrong clearly said that Bebo is a failure and that for some time AOL has only dedicated programmers (and not marketing, other staff) to trying to save Bebo, but that that has failed as well. He would not confirm whether or not they will completely shut down the service, as has been widely speculated.
Regarding Yahoo!’s acquisition of Associated Content last week, Armstrong said that AOL is a more focused company and that they can continue to compete with Yahoo! despite the acquisition.
Armstrong also said in response to a question by The Next Web, that new hyper-local initiative Patch.com is a very strategic offering that attacks a “large whitespace” that is already in 53 communities in 5 states and will “digitize communities”.