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AOL Joins European Online Effort

America Online has joined forces with German publishing groups Bertelsmann and Axes Springer Verlag and telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom to provide a European online service. The companies will introduce the service next month in Germany and next year in Britain and France.

The venture is intended in part to prevent Microsoft from monopolizing the European online market. Officials say they are not worried about competition from CompuServe's European service or European Online. America Online claims the deal makes it the leader in Europe's interactive market.

AOL Germany will be operated by Bertelsmann and will include news headlines, entertainment services, home shopping, and Net access.