Case Study

Bringing the internet to the masses: America Online Inc. (AOL)

10 pages
November 1998
Reference: IMD-3-0782

This case describes the development of America Online (AOL), a dominant Internet player accounting for some 60% of all home-based Internet users in the United States in 1998. AOL targeted Internet novices with easy-to-use news, shopping, and chat rooms, and connected its customer “community” to a large network of Internet “content providers”. The case describes how AOL overcame a series of recent setbacks, and developed a series of three key rules–“communication, community and clarity”–to bring coherence to its strategic development process. In 1998, AOL was facing new challenges from Internet service providers and “portals”, yet as a major player in the mass-media industry it had attained a market capitalization in late 1998 of some $12 billion.

Internet, Community
United States of America
October 1998
Published Sources
© 1998
Available Languages
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