With its potential to redraw the battle lines in the struggle for Internet domination, Microsoft's $44.6 billion bid for Yahoo may end up putting other companies in play. High on the list of potential targets is AOL, which is the middle of a turnaround effort by its parent company, Time Warner.
AOL has long been the subject of takeover speculation, but that chatter is bound to become deafening with Friday's move by Microsoft.
Shares of Time Warner were up as much as 7 percent in premarket trading, suggesting that investors may see AOL a much more enticing prize now.
Google may be among those who take a fresh look at AOL, whose businesses include an advertising platform as well as an Internet service and a Web site. Google already owns 5 percent of AOL, and it may feel compelled to make a dramatic move now that two rivals, Yahoo and Microsoft, may be joining forces.