back to article CompuServe France headed for the knacker's yard

It might come as a surprise to some, but CompuServe, the name synonymous with the early days of the net, is still plodding on. But not for much longer in France: owner Neuf Cegetel will hand the venerable ISP a one-way ticket to Switzerland* at the end of this month. Neuf Cegetel acquired CompuServe when it bought AOL France' …


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  1. Brian Miller

    14.4K: Anethema to Web 2.0

    Do you realize that if access to the internet were to be restricted to 14.4K, all Web 2.0 companies would be out of business overnight? There wouldn't be enough bandwidth to serve up all the ads and other assorted garbage. The web browsers would be redesigned to acquire the page's text first, and then show images as a last resort. What a difference that would make! The sites would have to focus on content and service, and not try to tatoo the user's retinas with advertising.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I still remember my user name

    It was 71101,2133

    Catchy, huh?

  3. Simon Greenwood

    Another piece of Internet history slowly bites the dust

    Compuserve should be remembered for a couple of things: it was pretty much the first mass-access ISP, even if it was generally a huge walled garden: when Easynet started up I'm sure the majority of the early sales went to people with those crazy xxxxx, addresses, trying to get out the garden and see this new World Wide Web thing. The other thing was that by the mid-90s, it was everywhere. A journalist friend of mine was covering a story in Burma, sneaking across the Thai border with guides in the winter of 94-95, and his most reliable method of communication was the local Compuserve node, presumably in Bangkok and apparently asynchronous in its email delivery: a message sent from it would arrive in London up to two hours later, having been presumably squirted from Thailand into Compuserve's main system. Rather hairy times when we weren't sure where he was, but highlighting a time when something that we take for granted now, wasn't. Even a few years ago, when I travelled to see some friends get married in West Virginia, the area around the Pochohontas mountains descended into radio silence because of National Quiet Area around the Greenbank Radio Telescope, the only reliable ISP was Verizon Cable - or Compuserve on dialup.

  4. Solomon Grundy

    Forwarding Service

    Wonder if there's any money to be made buying emails etc... from ISP's going under and keeping them alive for customers who want to keep their email address? Shouldn't be too expensive to implement or maintain.

    Wonder if it's even worth it...

  5. Smell My Finger

    Poor old CompuServe

    I have to admit the slow death of CompuServe is a shame. Sure, some of the old CompuServe was hard work, many information services were only available via a character-based console like Telnet but they had a lot of high quality information, premium content and well maintained forums. It wasn't perfect but it valued quality of information rather than the avalanche of worthless tat that makes up 99% of the Internet. You could actually do real research on CompuServe using tools like Lexis-Nexis, it's been a shame our lust for surfing for porn and warez has killed true information providers.

  6. Richard

    No URL required

    Go Register

    Go CompuServe

    Go Paris

    Go GetMyCoat

  7. Neil

    Still got my Compuserve account

    And still paying £5 (well, $9.95) per month for it too, I think. My wife keeps telling me to cancel it (I only use it for email via Outlook Express these days), but I've had the address for about 10 years (since they changed to allow names rather than just the numbers). And it gets less spam than my other addresses.

    But the main reason I can't cancel is because I did tech support for them as my first job out of school. The joys of talking through setting up WinCim.... ah... and they day they released CSI 3.0 without telling us, or indeed actually showing it to us... becoming a supervisor and moving the account support people onto the tech support line to get the call queueing times down... those were the days!

    GO Compuserve! (geddit?)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I still have my UK Compuserve account

    I initially got it because it was the only middlingly reliable way to access a local PoP from most places in the world - filing from a Psion 3A with the add-on 9600baud modem stuck in an old sunglasses case.

    I'm keeping the address for as long as possible since I stuck it was on a business card I stuck into a time capsule that is due to be opened in about fifty years - I live in hope that the email servers will be forgotten and just keep on chugging away in a basement somewhere. Could happen...

  9. Anonymous Coward

    RE: Poor Old CompuServe

    serves the fuckers right for all that shite with the .GIF!

  10. Brett Brennan


    Back in 1992 my wife and I were working in Paris for a couple of weeks, and at the same time trying to close on a home in Bullhead City, AZ, USA. The loan was all balled up (but fortunately we didn't have to worry about it), and we needed to get progress reports so we could sign documents and close.

    Compuserve France came to the rescue, as we were able to use the (then) ubiquitous dialup to get our email from the states and exchange notes with the mortgage folks. The loan was approved with only hours to spare, so thanks to Compuserve, the miracle of FAX and the French equivalent of a notary public, we were able to sign and send everything back on time.

    Thanks, Chris, for the ride down memory lane.

  11. Steve Cooper

    Just yesterday

    I happened to discover WINCIM hidden away on my PC under a multitude of backup directories - and I tried it and lo and behold my old account still works! Can still log in using telnet to too but it's quite slow, and frankly, pants.

    We were chatting last night how in the old days (10 years ago or so) we used to use the chatforums (chatbforum or chat1 anyone?) and it was pretty safe from any of the dodgy freaks out there these days.

    Oh how I loved dialling up at 9600 and being online for so many hours just to get a few pages over Mosaic!

    Now those were the days.

  12. David Evans

    Poor old CompuServe

    My first internet job was with them. Eee, it was all grey screens as far as the eye could see. Weird thing is, I still think they did "community" far more effectively than anyone else has managed until very recently.

  13. Charlie van Becelaere

    My ID

    I too remember mine: 75700,1326 was mine for I don't know how many years. With easy, mnemonic addresses such as - it's no wonder kids these days,&c. &c.

    progress my arse.

  14. Chad H.

    Interesting Language:

    "After many years of service in France we regret to advise that as of 30 November 2007 CompuServe France will no longer operate as an Internet Service Provider in this region"

    In this region? So which region will they still operate as an ISP?

  15. Steve Evans


    My first venture onto the intarweb was via compuserve... My first play with html was hosted by compuserve... *sniff*

    Fond memories...

    Oh, and 14kbs modem? Luxury!

    Somewhere I still have a 300/300 with an originate/answer button to swap the frequencies.

    Spry Mosaic...

    Trumpet Winsock...

    Blimee I feel old now.

  16. Nicola Redwood

    Still here

    11 years on and I still have and use my Compuserve account


    Hope it remains in the UK

  17. Bruce Waton

    Ah, CompuServe

    I first used CompuServe (aka, CompuSpend) back in 1985. When my family moved to Columbus, Ohio I thought, "hey wouldn't it be cool to work for CompuServe?" I didn't get a job there but I did work at a company with several former CompuServe people, one who even was part of the group that worked on the GIF spec.

  18. David Webb


    Ahh yes, Compuserve was my very first ISP way back yonder, before Freeserve came out, racking up £300+ phone bills. Funnily enough some of the Compuserve chatrooms are still active, you just need an AOL screen name to access them, luckily I have no desire to do such a thing.

  19. Tim Lake

    I remember my old modem

    14,400 and bigger than Bill Gates' wallet, chugging away so I could Go Compuserve. It's funny, I still have my wincim and mosaic floppies... shame i no longer have a floppy drive!

  20. Dave Coventry

    I think I can remember mine

    1024.3067, I think.

    I cancelled it a couple of years back when I left the UK.

    IIRC it cost me an initial 'joining' fee of 300 quid.

  21. Scowners
    Thumb Up

    Playing Sniper

    which took about 5 minutes per turn.. but what a great game to play online

  22. Ash

    More memories...


    ISA Modems. Wonderful.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Even a marriage

    I met my wife on Compuserve back in 93 through the Chat Forums.

    Been married 12 years.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My first job

    I worked for Compuserve (Bristol) in the mid 90s as my first job. Technical Support role setting up WinCIM, MacCIM and DosCIM for our dial up customers. I remember when people were calling with 33.6 modems and we spent ages with Modem Strings to get them attached to a 14.4 POP because thats all we had! Spry Mosaic was the browser and we hung out in forums with our 111111,**** and 77777,**** User IDs causing trouble. Good company to wo rk for and they set me up well for future employment .WinCIM 3.0 was released to the public before we saw it and caused all sorts of problems for us on the phones! RIP Compuserve

  25. pctechxp

    Womder how much the domain will go for?

    I might keep a look out and acquire it and look at perhaps reviving people's addresses, I reckon there's a business model there definitely.

  26. Neil

    RE: Even a marriage

    Technically, I have Compuserve to thank for my marriage, too. Whilst I was working for them in 96-97 I saw another job advertised by someone on one of the forums (UKIT I think). I applied for it and got it. A couple of years later a lovely lady started working for them too. A couple of years after that we were married.

    If I hadn't had worked for Compuserve, I wouldn't have got the other job, and wouldn't have met my wife . And an old school friend of mine who worked there at the same time is now engaged (it's taken him ten years...) to a girl he met who also worked there.

    I was actually at Teletech, who did some of the outsourced stuff, in Reigate. I joined as they opened the office and we had a good bunch of people there.

  27. Rob Lightbody

    I was proud to be 100414,3126

    I joined in around 1992 or 93 with my 286/1mb PC and my 14.4k modem. It was absolutely fabulous. Chatrooms, news photos and early online banking via TSB spring to mind immediately. A whole world opened up to me from my teenage bedroom via DosCIM and later WinCIM. I made friends that I still have in America and Canada and I made my way onto the internet via their Mosaic browser in 1995. They even had early internet user homepages via and I had one also in 1995.

    Sad to see it go.

    Signing off,

    - 100414,3126

  28. wibbilus maximus


    I wonder how many of the current bunch of Internet "Service" Providers will be remembered as fondly.

    I left Compuserve the day AOL bought them. It's not the first time that the better company was bought by a useless bunch of wasters that should be eradicated from history!!

    Farewell to a legendary name

  29. Rob


    I'd almost forgotton about Compuserve, like all the others I had my first internet connection with them. My mate and I learnt HTML in a night and used the compuserve pages to create our first website and we got paid for it (I think we we're advertising some software for the Apple (no, not a Mac, they were Apple's back then)).

    Happy days..............

  30. Ray Foulkes

    You kept a compuserve account in the UK?

    I was a (happy?) compuserve user in the uk until one day the log-on failed. I phoned support who said "Tough, now it's aol, download the aol crud and convert - compuserve accounts are no more". Er, no thanks, and that was it. That was many years ago now.

    Happy days, well, not quite so happy as with broadband of course.

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