After confirming their plans for AOL at the end of last month, Time Warner has issued an update on matter today, announcing that its spinoff as an independent, publicly traded company should be complete around the end of the year. AOL will then focus on growing its web brands and services, as well as its advertising business.

Before the company can once again stand alone, Time Warner will need to buy out what little stake others have in AOL first, which essentially sums up to the 5% Google acquired in 2005.

The decline of AOL as a service provider has not been ignored by Time Warner, and at this point they are clearly seeking to cut their losses. After that, the question is, can AOL survive? Quarter after quarter the company sees profit decline, finding it difficult to compete in a market dominated by cheap broadband and larger ad/search providers like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. Whatever niche they had carved for themselves initially, it has been eroding for years.