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A roundup of the latest high-tech news “Hot off the Wire” from The Associated Press and Local Tech Wire:

• AOL’s Patch plans 500 local sites by end of year

SAN FRANCISCO – AOL intends to grow its of community news sites to include more than 500 neighborhoods by the end of December – a move the struggling Internet company hopes will strengthen its online advertising business.

AOL Inc. announced the expansion plan Tuesday for Patch, which it bought last June for $7 million in cash as part of its yearslong effort to reinvent itself as a content provider reliant on online ads as its legacy dial-up Internet access business fades. AOL, which split from Time Warner Inc. in late 2009, said in a March regulatory filing that it expects to invest as much as $50 million in Patch this year alone.

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong came up with the idea for Patch in 2007, while he was still an executive at Google Inc., and was an early stakeholder in the company through his private investment company, Polar Capital. When AOL bought Patch, Armstrong said that he wouldn’t take a profit from the deal and instead his initial investment would be repaid in AOL stock once AOL became independent of Time Warner.

Patch launched its first three websites in early 2009. Since then, the company has been rolling out more sites at a rapid clip: AOL also said Tuesday that it launched Morristown Patch, which focuses on Morristown, N.J., bringing its current stable of Patch sites to 100.

Patch sites now serve communities in eight states, including Skokie, Ill. and Mill Valley, Ca.; by the end of the year, AOL plans to have Patch sites in 20 states.

Patch builds its websites in communities with 15,000-75,000 residents, and each site is staffed by a full-time editor who works with an average of 11 local freelancers to create and produce site content. Content ranges from news stories to events listings to classified ads.

Like other AOL websites such as gadget blog Engadget and video search engine Truveo, Patch sites make money from running ads. In an interview, Patch CEO Jon Brod said AOL sees local websites as the "largest commercial opportunity online that’s yet to be won."

• NaviSite CEO stepping down

ANDOVER, Mass. – NaviSite Inc. said Monday that CEO Arthur P. Becker has left the position but remains on the board. President R. Brooks Borcherding will add the CEO title.

The company, which provides outsourced Web and e-commerce services, rejected a bid by Atlantic Investors LLC to buy the company for $3.05 per share on Aug. 6.

Atlantic Investors owns 36.6 percent of NaviSite, and made an unsolicited offer for the rest of the company on July 12. Its offer was a 9.3 percent premium to NaviSite’s previous closing price, and it valued the company at about $114.9 million.

• Microsoft spent $1.85 million lobbying in 2Q

SEATTLE – Microsoft Corp. spent $1.85 million in the second quarter to lobby the federal government on software piracy, technology in health care and other issues, according to a disclosure report.

That’s slightly less than the $1.89 million the software maker spent in the second quarter of last year.

The breadth of Microsoft’s business is reflected in the diverse issues tackled by the company’s lobbyists during the quarter. Microsoft also lobbied the federal government on legislation involving China’s Internet policy, patent reform and visas for foreign workers, among other topics, according to the report filed July 16.

• Indian company buying Lycos from Korea’s Daum

NEW YORK — An Indian company on Monday said it is buying Lycos Inc., once a high-flying U.S. Web portal, for $36 million from Korean Web company Daum Communications.

The buyer is Ybrant Digital, a digital marketing company based in Hyderabad.

Originally based in Waltham, Mass., Lycos was one of the top destinations on the Web around 2000, helped by its Tripod Web-hosting services. It was bought by Spanish Internet service provider Terra Networks SA in 2001, in a deal originally valued at $12.5 billion.

Lycos was unable to keep up with Google, Yahoo and other competitors for the attention of Internet surfers. In 2004, when Lycos was the eighth-largest destination on the Web, Terra sold the Web portal business to Daum in 2004 for $105 million while keeping other assets.