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Report: Microsoft front-runner for AOL
But several issues remain that could derail a potential sale of part of the Internet service: paper.
November 7, 2005: 6:12 AM EST

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Microsoft has become the main contender in talks to purchase a major stake in America Online, a news report said Monday.

The New York Times, quoting two people involved in the negotiations, said that Microsoft began discussing a possible joint venture with AOL a few months ago, but that there were still other contenders including Yahoo, News Corp. and Google.

As Internet advertising has grown, AOL has attracted interest from companies seeking to boost their reach online.

The report said that Time Warner, which owns CNN/Money and other media properties in addition to AOL -- had the second-most-visited Web destinations in the United States with 119 million users in September.

A main point of contention in a deal is how much control a new partner in AOL would have over the service.

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AOL is now in the music download business -- read more here.

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