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Aol Case Study

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America Online (AOL)

In the early 1980s, Case felt there was a latent market for user friendly online services. The online services provided at that time were very complex and costly and provided poor quality content. Believing that the online service market would evolve into a big industry in future, Case, Jim Kimsey and Marc Seriff founded AOL in 1985. The company was initially incorporated as Quantum Computer Services (Quantum). Quantum provided online services to consumers via PC modems. Quantum's first product was 'Q-Link,' a proprietary online service that routed emails and chat through its communication network (via telephone cables). Q-Link became popular in the market, and within a year its user base crossed the 10,000 mark. | |
In October 1989, the company launched a private online service for all computer users in the US. The new service, identified by a blue triangle with a swirl in the center (the company's logo), offered games, e-mail, chat, news and travel information. In 1991, Quantum was renamed America Online and Case was appointed CEO of the company.
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The total customer base of the company during that period was 150,000, with total revenues amounting to $ 20 million. During the 1990s, AOL acquired Compuserve, Netscape and the ICQ brand. These acquisitions helped it establish itself as a global online service provider.4 During the same, AOL entered the e-commerce solutions market through an alliance with Sun Microsystems. AOL also offered services in over 17 countries and in eight languages. The AOL International Group operated mainly through joint ventures and distribution arrangements. Major countries in which AOL operated included Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands and the United Kingdom
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