Verizon announced this morning plans to buy Internet services pioneer AOL in a $4.4 billion deal. Here are some highlights from AOL’s history.
— 1985: Company is founded as Quantum Computer Services and offers an online service named Q-Link.
— 1989: Quantum launches instant messenger service that greets users with the saying “You’ve got mail!”
— 1991: The company is renamed America Online through an employee contest.
— 1992: America Online, commonly called AOL, goes public on the NASDAQ exchange.
— 1993: AOL starts sending disks to thousands of households to connect them to the Internet.
— 1995: AOL’s service reaches 1 million members, the company debuts its AOL.com homepage and expands internationally.
— 1996: AOL hits 5 million members and launches the Buddy List for chatting.
— 2000: AOL’s market value reaches about $164 billion near the height of the dot-com boom.
— 2001: AOL completes combination with Time Warner Inc. in a deal valued at more than $160 billion when it was announced the year before.
— 2006: Company officially changes its name to AOL and starts offering its services for free.
— 2009: Time Warner spins off AOL, ending a union widely viewed as one of the worst mergers in history.
— 2011: AOL’s market value slips to about $1.1 billion as its share price falls below $12. Company purchases The Huffington Post.
— 2014: AOL creates joint venture with investment firm Hale Global to run its troubled local-news business Patch.
— 2015: AOL market value is down to $3.34 billion.
Sources: AOL.com, SEC filings, FactSet, Associated Press reports.