Arianna Huffington Keeping Her Distance From AOL

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NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 20:  Arianna Huffington attends the opening night of "Relatively Speaking" at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on October 20, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
Photo: Cindy Ord/2011 Getty Images

When AOL bought the Huffington Post for a bazillion dollars, the struggling Internet company made Arianna Huffington the supreme ruler of all things editorial, from TechCrunch to Moviefone. The transition was far from seamless — ask Michael Arrington — but numbers are up for the Huffington Post Media Group, and last month, it was reported that Arianna would take over things like technology, marketing, and communications for that part of the company, but back away from working with the outside sites. There was some disagreement about whether this was a promotion or a demotion, but one thing is now clear: Huffington is most concerned with Huffington.

"What I asked for is for us to be more independent, to have technology, marketing and [business development] now into Huffington Post, so that we can accelerate all our growth, and for me to be freed up to just concentrate exclusively on HuffPost," she said at a conference yesterday. Huffington also explained that private-equity groups have approached her about buying the Huffington Post away from AOL entirely, but insisted that the interest went nowhere and that "all is good," including her relationship with AOL CEO Tim Armstrong.

The changes don't quite sound like the acquisition equivalent of couple's therapy, and so divorce is still a way off, but it's tough not to consider this adjustment a crack in the facade of a relationship many believed to be doomed from the start. If you start to notice a decline in the editorial quality of MapQuest, you'll know why.

Related: Maharishi Arianna [NYM]