AOL CEO Tim Armstrong was one of the executives that negotiated the deal the first time around–albeit while “playing” for Google at the time.
So, with AOL about as competitive as Yahoo in the search space, Google the incumbent provider, and Armstrong’s connections, it made a lot of sense to just push this one through quickly, so that AOL can focus on its new content provider goals.
Interestingly, although Microsoft was the other serious option for AOL, the company was rumored to have considered partnering with Yahoo. Er, doesn’t Yahoo get its results from Bing now? Maybe someone forgot to tell Yahoo that its not a real search engine anymore. Even more bizarre? China’s Baidu was in the running!
I can see how that would have worked out just fabulously!