This is an audio version of the Wikipedia Article:
00:03:04 1 History
00:03:13 1.1 Founding
00:05:42 1.2 Technology
00:08:00 1.3 CIS
00:10:20 1.4 Newspapers
00:11:27 1.5 Selling connectivity
00:15:42 1.6 File transfers
00:18:10 1.7 Internet
00:25:38 2 CompuServe UK
00:28:38 3 User IDs and e-mail addresses
00:30:13 4 Custom portals
00:30:53 5 Market share
00:31:21 6 Technology and law
00:34:32 7 WOW!
00:36:41 8 WorldCom acquisition and deal with AOL
00:42:21 9 Post–AOL acquisition
00:48:23 10 2010s versions
00:48:53 11 See also
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Speaking Rate: 0.8007893220300843
Voice name: en-GB-Wavenet-A
"I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think."
CompuServe (CompuServe Information Service, also known by its initialism CIS) was the first major commercial online service provider in the United States. It dominated the field during the 1980s and remained a major influence through the mid-1990s. At its peak in the early 1990s, CIS was known for its online chat system, message forums covering a variety of topics, extensive software libraries for most computer platforms, and a series of popular online games, notably MegaWars III and Island of Kesmai. It also was known for its introduction of the GIF format for pictures, and as a GIF exchange mechanism.
AOL's entry into the PC market in 1991 marked the beginning of the end for CIS. AOL charged $2.95 an hour versus $5.00 an hour for Compuserve, until 1996, when AOL switched to a monthly subscription instead of hourly rates, so for active users AOL was much less expensive. AOL also used a GUI-based client, and while such systems existed for CIS, it only supported a subset of the system's functionality and was purchased separately. In response, CIS lowered its hourly rates on several occasions. The number of users grew, peaking at 3 million in April 1995. By this point AOL had over 20 million users in the United States alone, but this was off their peak of 27 million, due to customers leaving for lower-cost offerings. CIS finally introduced monthly pricing in late 1997, but by that time the number of users leaving all online services for dialup Internet service providers was reaching a climax.
In 1997, CIS's parent company, H&R Block, announced its desire to sell the company. A complex deal was worked out with WorldCom acting as a broker, resulting in CIS being sold to AOL. While continuing the original service, renamed CompuServe Classic, AOL also used the CompuServe brand for several low-cost offerings; CompuServe 2000 was a rebranded AOL client with separate services, while CompuServe Dialer was a low-cost dialup ISP. CompuServe Classic shut down in 2009, CompuServe 2000 followed suit in 2011. CompuServe Dialer continues to operate as a Web portal. In 2015 Verizon acquired AOL, including its CompuServe division. In 2017 after Verizon completed its acquisition of Yahoo, CompuServe became part of Verizon's newly formed Oath Inc. subsidiary.