AOL has shut CompuServe, the first major commercial online service in the United States.
The company had its origins in 1969 and started offering limited dial-in services in the mid-1970’s. The year it first offered “online services” was 1979, and by the by the mid-1980s CompuServe was one of the largest information and networking services companies in existence, and it was the largest consumer information service in the world.
CompuServe remained popular as a stand alone service until the mid-1990’s, when the rise of the World Wide Web and widespread internet access slowly killed its core business. An attempt in 1995 to offer users internet access along with CompuServe services failed by 1997, despite the company being the first to offer fixed rate monthly access for the service. Having been owned by H&R Block since the early 80’s, Compuserve changed hands several times until eventually ending up at AOL by the end of the 1990’s.
At AOL, CompuServe became nothing more than a not well loved subsidiary (AOL having been CompuServe’s biggest competitor for many years), until finally all but fading away.
Basex notes that CompuServe users will be able to use their existing CompuServe Classic (as the service was renamed) addresses at no charge via a new e-mail system, but the software that the service was built on, along with all the features supported by that software has been shut down.