By PHILIP VAN DOORN
Maybe the worst thing about AOL Inc. is its name.
It confuses the coverage of the deal announced today, in which Verizon Inc. plans to acquire AOL Inc. for $4.4 billion in cash.
The name "AOL" associates the current well-run company with one of the worst corporate tie-ups ever. That was the $103.5 billion acquisition of the old Time Warner by the old AOL in January 2001. The all-stock offer made in January 2000 was for $164 billion, but AOL's shares declined considerably before the deal was completed, as just about everyone realized AOL's market advantage as a pioneering provider of dial-up Internet service was going the way of the dodo.