CompuServe was founded in 1969 - as a time sharing provider. You used a dumb terminal
and a modem
to access a multi-user computer.
Ten years later, the CompuServe Information Service was introduced - more or less computing for the masses. Introduced shortly after that time was the CompuServe Forum - a combination threaded messaging, on line chat and file download appplication.
CIS was bought by H&R Block in 1980.
In 1989, CIS bought The Source, a rivalling information service.
At this time, most computer and software manufacturers ran their own support forums on CompuServe, used CIS Email, had access to Telex and could even have letters printed and mailed online. Also availabe at that time were onlike travel booking, games, news services, financial services and almost world-wide dial-in access (for a price).
From 1995, CIS first offers FTP, Usenet and telnet, soon to be followed by full PPP access. Unlike AOLlers, CompuServe members were force-fed basic rules of behaviour before being allowed to access Usenet via the CIS gateway.
In 1997, CompuServe was bought by AOL, which has since started to close down forums and services. CIS has since more or less turned into just another ISP.