The Second Wave

My biggest fear was going head-to-head with CompuServe.

—Bill Louden, founder of GEnie

Some 800,000 modems were sold in 1983, and projections were for a million modems to be shipped in 1984. Combined with the modems already out there, this made for a significant market for online services of all stripes.

MCI Telecommunications launched MCI Mail, its $100 million email service, in September 1983. MCI Mail's entry into the growing market was significant for several reasons, paramount among them the fact that it was the first large, brand-name company to establish a commercial online service. A combination business/consumer service, it had the potential to grow faster than existing online services, and perhaps even carry ...

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