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Amazon is huge. But can it be the region’s next AOL?

Greater Washington’s tech community has long looked for a large, local company to serve as a draw for entrepreneurs, a hub for startups and a magnet for venture capital. Internet provider AOL Inc. probably best filled that role in recent memory, growing to about 12,000 local employees before its ill-fated merger with Time Warner. For a short time, there was hope daily deals company LivingSocial Inc. would take its place — and, indeed, it did create some spinoff activity, but ultimately it went belly up sooner than expected.

So now the question is: Can Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), an already mature tech giant, fill that void?

“If they live up to their HQ2, it will be more important than AOL, because they are talking 25,000 people here,” said Ted Leonsis, former AOL vice chairman and current Monumental Sports & Entertainment owner, cautioning that it’s vital it be a true headquarters location.

AOL, founded in 1983 under the name Control Video Corp., minted more than 4,000 millionaires…

Read the full story from the Washington Business Journal.



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