According to an article in today's NY Post Microsoft is in "advanced discussions" with Time Warner to buy about half of its interests in AOL. This deal could take about two months to conclude but offers all types of possibilities.
Apparently, Time Warner has spoken with Yahoo! and Google about this too.
Google is currently providing AOL with both its organic and PPC search results. A partnership with AOL by Microsoft could be seen as a big win by MSN. Yahoo! had already relinquished their spot at AOL by allowing Google to grab up all the foreign PPC and slowly strengthen their position.
The sucess of the AOL portal and the new policy of allowing people to keep their email accounts without having an actual paid account has been a major shift in the AOL business model. If Microsoft gets the AOL portal as a significant publisher they will make a giant stride in the search industry.
Considering they have yet to launch the PPC product in the US - beta is set to start October 18th - MSN has shown it is skillful in the business arena.