AOL to Offer 5GB of Online Storage

AOL on Thursday announced it would begin offering all Web users 5GB of online storage through its Xdrive product, part of the company's new initiative to make its services available without cost. Separately, AOL said it plans to cut 5,000 jobs.

Through Xdrive, individuals can back up files like photos, documents, music, videos, and more. Uploaded content can be access through any PC or mobile device with a Web connection, AOL said. Users can even share files with others, as well as automatically upload e-mail attachments.

AOL will not charge users for the service, which is currently priced at $10 per month. The free Xdrive will be available to anyone with an AOL or AIM screen name starting next month.

A premium offering with 50GB of storage will be available to those needing more space for a fee that has yet to be announced.

"People are accumulating personal digital assets at a fast pace, especially in areas like digital photos and videos," said AOL Digital Services president John McKinley. "Yet our in-home research shows that few people are taking steps to protect their digital memories from accidental loss or destruction."

Xdrive will join a number of other AOL services that the company plans to make available to non-subscribers in September. The company plans to continue offering its subscription dial-up service, but will no longer aggressive market it to consumers.

The charges will affect AOL's workforce of about 19,000 employees. 5,000 layoffs are expected to take place within the next six months, with notifications expected in October. AOL is also looking to sell its Internet access businesses in France, Germany and the UK.

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