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Back then it was called Apple Link, a project commissioned by Apple Computer and a company called Quantum Computer Services to connect Apple II and Macintosh computers.
The beta test was dubbed “Samuel” and for Schober, a teenage fan of BBSes (bulletin board systems), it was an intriguing opportunity.
Then, in 1996, America Online opened the floodgates by introducing a monthly flat rate instead of charging by the hour.
For .95 a month, users could now linger in chat rooms for as long as they wanted.
AOL’s walled garden was officially dismantled in 2006.
Chat rooms were available to AIM users until 2010, when AOL announced, “Since usage of AIM Chat has declined significantly in recent months, our focus has moved to other products.” Today, chat services such as Facebook Messenger and Google Talk (a.k.a. “I don’t think people have necessarily stopped using them — there are just different ways of expressing the same concept now,” says Schober.
Napster Founders Launch Airtime Video Chat) So far, Airtime hasn’t exactly been a hit.Around 2000, however, I found myself drawn more to AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) than I did to AOL’s chat rooms.Launched in 1997, AIM became widespread once it was made available to non-subscribers in 1998.Schober moved from beta tester to full-time employee in 1992, when the service — now officially called America Online — went public.The company was positioned perfectly for the onset of the Internet Age.