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Letter from CompuServe's CEO

CompuServe's acting CEO fills members in on the details of the AOL acquisition.

The following letter was posted yesterday by Frank Salizzoni, chairman and acting CEO of CompuServe, on the online service.

September 8, 1997

Dear CompuServe customers:

CompuServe took a major step forward today, which will benefit you as customers by preserving what you like best about the CompuServe online experience while providing the resources and passion that can move CompuServe forward.

As you may have heard, the CompuServe online service is being acquired by America Online. Once the transaction closes, which we expect will occur within the next six months, CompuServe will operate as a separate business unit of AOL, and AOL will continue to manage CompuServe as a separate brand. That means you will still have access to the existing services, using the existing software and connecting through the existing network. Indeed, AOL has made it clear that they recognize and respect that you have chosen to be CompuServe customers for specific reasons, and they intend to do everything they can to continue to serve your needs.

AOL has had great success in reaching a mass consumer audience, and that will continue to be the focus of the AOL brand. CompuServe, on the other hand, has emerged as the leading brand for business and professional customers, and under AOL's ownership CompuServe will continue to retain that focus.

But this isn't just about preserving the status quo. AOL is committed to also launching a new version of CompuServe, building on the technology CompuServe already has under development. This new version of CompuServe will be available as an option to you--which means if you prefer using the existing service, as is, you can. But the new version is expected to have wide appeal, as it will be more Web-centric and easier to use.

AOL and CompuServe each played critical roles in shaping this dynamic new medium. Millions now look to interactive services to communicate with business colleagues and friends, find information, and stay informed. By working together, AOL and CompuServe can take the promise of this new medium to an even wider audience, not just in this country, but around the world.


Frank Salizzoni

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