AOL has passed the 26 million mark in its worldwide subscriber base.

With the upcoming Christmas season, the company expects AOL 6.0 to continue to push membership growth, retention and online shopping.

Approximately 17 million AOL members regularly shop online, according to the company.

Dana Gardner, research director of internet infrastructure at the Boston-based Aberdeen Group was, however, sceptical.

"I'm surprised that AOL hasn't been able to extend itself further," he said. "I'm surprised that they haven't been able to grow considering the merger with Netscape - I don't see them sweeping the market."

AOL's steadily declining stock, not the number of subscribers, is indicative of the company's performance, according to Gardner.

"Their stock is depressed to the extent that people wonder whether just a large number of subscribers means anything," he said.

The company's long-awaited merger with Time Warner could provide high-speed Internet access to more homes, according to Gardner.

"[AOL] still [has] a lot of content and it will be interesting to see how content and connectivity issues will play against one another," he said.