Tim Armstrong optimistic about AOL's future

Direction of jointly operated TMZ.com to be reviewed

NEW YORK -- AOL chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong is "first and foremost concerned with the consumer experience" with AOL, the former Google top executive told reporters Thursday.

Speaking on the sidelines of Time Warner's annual shareholder meeting where the conglomerate announced the planned separation of AOL, Armstrong also expressed support for the company's name despite the negative connotations AOL got over the years following the much-maligned TW merger.

"(We have a) globally recognized brand," he said. "I think we'll be standing very strongly behind the AOL brand name." He said great content, services and products that consumers choose in the competitive Web world over others are key for the firm's future success.

Asked about his management style, he said he is instituting "more of a bottoms-up strategy."

Will AOL keep its Internet access business? "There are clear benefits to it" as it helps AOL get the best distribution possible, said Armstrong. "We made a deliberate decision to keep access with the company."

However, he said his team generally remains open to options down the line.

Asked by THR what will happen to TMZ.com -- which AOL and TW's Warner Bros. unit operate jointly -- after the spin-off of the Web firm, Armstrong said this will be reviewed ahead of the planned separation around year's end. "It's a very successful partnership," he said.