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The company objectives were twofold: to provide in-house computer processing support to Golden United Life Insurance; and to develop as an independent business in the computer time-sharing industry, by renting time on its PDP-10 midrange computers during business hours.
It was spun off as a separate company in 1975, trading on the NASDAQ under the symbol CMPU.
In 1977, Compu Serve's board changed the company's name to Compu Serve Incorporated. The original 1969 dial-up technology was fairly simple—the local phone number in Cleveland, for example, was a line connected to a time-division multiplexer that connected via a leased line to a matched multiplexer in Columbus that was connected to a time-sharing host system.
In response, CIS lowered its hourly rates on several occasions.Compu Serve was founded in 1969 as Compu-Serv Network, Inc.(the earliest advertising shows the name with initial caps) in Columbus, Ohio, as a subsidiary of Golden United Life Insurance. Goltz and Wilkins were both graduate students in electrical engineering at the University of Arizona.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.