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CompuServe is an Internet service provider that was founded in 1969 as a computer time-sharing service. The Columbus, Ohio-based CompuServe would drive the initial emergence of the online service industry. In 1979, CompuServe became the first service to offer electronic mail capabilities and technical support to personal computer users. The company broke new ground again in 1980 as the first online service to offer real-time chat online with its CB Simulator. By 1982, CoumpuServe had formed its Network Services Division to provide wide-area networking capabilities to corporate clients.

CompuServe also led the interactive services industry overseas, entering the international arena in Japan in 1986 with Fujitsu and Nisso Iwai[?], developing a Japanese-language version of CompuServe called NIFTYSERVE in 1989.

In 1995 CompuServe set what privacy advocates argued was a bad precedent by blocking access to sex-oriented newsgroups after being pressured by German prosecutors.

In 1997 America Online, one of CompuServe's long-time rivals, announced its intention to acquire the company. Although both brands are still used, many features and services have been merged across the two.

Recent versions of the CompuServe client software - essentially an enhanced web browser - use the Gecko layout engine developed for Mozilla, which is also ultimately owned by AOL. It is currently in version 7.0.

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