AOL sells patents to Microsoft's Ballmer -

Software's answer to Marcel Marceau, Steve "softly, softly" Ballmer, has written a cheque for $1.056 billion to buy 800 of AOL's patents.

AOL is a bit short of cash so this amount of Volish dollars will mean that it will not have to eat corned beef this week.

A spokesperson said that the combined sale and licensing arrangement unlocks current dollar value for shareholders and enables AOL to aggressively execute its strategy to create long-term shareholder value. But we guess a slap-up feed at the local greasy spoon will be a nice change from the muck they usually get.

The spokesperson said that AOL still had a significant patent portfolio of over 300 patents and patent applications spanning core and strategic technologies, including advertising, search, content generation/management, social networking, mapping, multimedia/streaming, and security among others. It also has a lot of CDs with AOL software from the 1990s it still has to clear.

Anything AOL sold to Redmond it can also use.

In the paper work was the sale of an AOL subsidiary, upon which AOL expects to record a capital loss for tax purposes and, as a result, cash taxes in connection with the sale should not make much difference.

AOL management and its Board of Directors said that it will give a significant portion of the sale proceeds to charity, er, shareholders.

Tim Armstrong, AOL's Chairman and CEO, said the patents were sold off during an auction process. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.