AOL got its start as a venture called Control Video, a company whose product was an online service called Gameline for the Atari 2700 video game. Subscribers bought a modem from the company for $ 49.95 and paid a fee of $ 15.00. Gameline permitted subscribers to temporarily download games and keep scoring statistics at a cost of approximately $ 1.00 per hour.
In 1983 the company nearly went bankrupt, an expert in video game called Steve Case took the helm.
Case changed the company’s strategy and in 1985 launched a sort of mega-BBS for Commodore 64 and 128 computers, originally called Quantum Link (“Q-Link”). He also changed the company name to Quantum Computer Services. In October 1989, Quantum has launched its AOL service for Macintosh and Apple II computers, and in February 1991 to service the machines DOS. In October 1991, Quantum changed its name to America Online. These changes began a tremendous growth in the number of paid services of BBS, the same happening with its competitors in the era Prodigy and Compuserve.
In the early 1990s, AOL was one of the first service providers to give their customers access the Internet outside the Universities and the military. They also emphasized the use of a graphical user interface for easy use. Thus, were first associated with new users, not knowing the rules of Internet etiquette, which came online during this period.
AOL has maintained a massive marketing push, sending diskettes and CD-ROMs to over 100 million homes, which allowed a boom and helped them dominate the online field. As a reaction to marketing policy, in August 2001, launched a campaign called “No More AOL CDs.” The campaign strategy was to collect one million AOL CD-ROMs and sends them back the company in a convoy of trucks. A member of AOL, which misses the point of the campaign, promised to send a large amount of AOL CDs when they were near the one million mark. Others used the disks as collectibles because they had a plethora of graphic motifs.
In the late 1990 and early 2000, AOL began its acquisitions. Below are some of the companies bought by AOL:
* NaviServer NaviSoft’s (later became known as AOLserver), purchased in 1994.
* Nullsoft (maker of Winamp), purchased in 1999 for $ 86 million
* Imagination Network (I.N.N.) AT & T in 1996
* Mirabilis (maker of ICQ)
In 2000, AOL Time Warner joined.
In March 2004, largely convinced that the joint was a costly mistake for the new company, it was agreed that Time Warner had held discussions with Microsoft to shift its AOL division. According to the New York Post, the possible deal would include payment by Microsoft to buy AOL and still assume its debts as an investment by Microsoft in Time Warner Cable (the cable division of Time Warner). None of the companies confirmed the talks, but the newspaper reports that there are few obstacles to the Microsoft takeover of AOL. (New York Post March 19, 2004). This type of atigo subsequently appears in the media without a proven accuracy