Its sole product was an online service called Game Line for the Atari 2600 video game console, after von Meister's idea of buying music on demand was rejected by Warner Bros.

Subscribers bought a modem from the company for US.95 and paid a one-time US setup fee.

AOL offered the first real-time homework help service (the Teacher Pager—1990; prior to this, AOL provided homework help bulletin boards), the first service by children, for children (Kids Only Online, 1991), the first online service for parents (the Parents Information Network, 1991), the first online courses (1988), the first omnibus service for teachers (the Teachers' Information Network, 1990), the first online exhibit (Library of Congress, 1991), the first parental controls, and many other online education firsts.

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Game Line permitted subscribers to temporarily download games and keep track of high scores, at a cost of US$1 per game.

The telephone disconnected and the downloaded game would remain in Game Line's Master Module and playable until the user turned off the console or downloaded another game.

This is commonly referred to as the "Eternal September", as Usenet's cycle of new users was previously dominated by smaller numbers of college and university freshmen gaining access in September and taking a few weeks to acclimate.

This also coincided with a new "carpet bombing" marketing campaign by CMO Jan Brandt to distribute as many free trial AOL trial disks as possible through nonconventional distribution partners.

At the height of its popularity, it purchased the media conglomerate Time Warner in the largest merger in U. AOL was eventually spun off from Time Warner in 2009, with Tim Armstrong appointed the new CEO.

Under his leadership, the company invested in media brands and advertising technologies.

Kimsey soon began to groom Case to take over the role of CEO, which he did when Kimsey retired in 1991.

The Quantum Link software was based on software licensed from Play Net, Inc, (founded in 1983 by Howard Goldberg and Dave Panzl).

The technical team consisted of Marc Seriff, Tom Ralston, Ray Heinrich, Steve Trus, Ken Huntsman, Janet Hunter, Dave Brown, Craig Dykstra, Doug Coward, and Mike Ficco.

In 1987, Case was promoted again to executive vice-president.

AOL was one of the early pioneers of the Internet in the mid-1990s, and the most recognized brand on the web in the United States.