Prodigy, the Microsoft Network, and CompuServe are all shifting content to the Web, leaving AOL as the only major online service remaining with its own proprietary environment.
Genie Interactive is a joint effort between Internet service provider IDT and Genie. The companies are hoping to recoup some of Genie's popularity and get a leg up on other Web-based services by focusing on interactive multiplayer games, custom news feeds, and access to extensive content databases. Genie also plans to compete on price; the service will be free for the first three months and $10 a month thereafter, with no hourly charge. None of the other three have announced their pricing.
Genie Interactive will also feature chat groups, bulletin boards, software libraries, and virtual communities. The service is scheduled for beta testing in June and full release in July.
The original text-based Genie service still has about 30,000 subscribers using the service on Amiga, Commodore, and Apple II machines.
Genie Interactive bears no relation to the GE Business Pro online service.