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AOL Takes on Apple and Google in Maps: CEO

Wednesday, 9 Jan 2013 | 12:34 PM ET
AOL's CEO Looks to the Cloud
Shares of AOL are up more than eighty percent year-over-year. Tim Armstrong, chairman & CEO of AOL, discusses where he is finding patches of profitability, with CNBC's Julia Boorstin.

AOL is eyeing opportunities to take share in the mapping apps space from Apple and Google, CEO Tim Armstrong told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" on Wednesday.

"We're the number two provider in maps," Armstrong said. "MapQuest was story of another turnaround inside a turnaround. MapQuest over time had lost a lot of traffic, a lot of revenues, a lot of profits, and we've been able to materially change that business in the right direction."

With the Apple iOS mobile operating system and Google Android becoming more closed off, MapQuest is a brand that can be used across all mobile devices, Armstrong said.

Apple launched its own mapping service, and dropped Google's, in early September when it rolled out the highly anticipated update to its mobile software platform iOS 6. But users complained about geographical errors and it lacked features that made Google Maps so popular. Google Maps was made available for the iPhone again in December.

"We have a huge potential wedge to put in the mapping space and we're working really hard on it," Armstrong said.

AOL remains a turnaround story but the company should return to growth in 2013, Armstrong said as it focuses its efforts on four main areas: content, video, ads and commerce.

"When you look at the end of 2013, we'd hope advertising grows and gets back to industry growth rates," the AOL executive said. "We show profitability growth. And overall what you really want to see is expansion of the brands, for us to become a more powerful brand company in the key verticals we're in."

By CNBC's Justin Menza

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