So the sale is on. But you can't just take over the second largest Internet Service Provider in the country (one that includes TIME Daily and other online products of Time Incorporated, by the way), without running into trouble. AOL still faces the Herculean hurdle of converting 2.6 million CompuServe subscribers, including many ardent AOL-haters. "CompuServe continues to exist as a service for a while," adds Elmer-De Witt, "because you can't just alter things overnight." Tell that to the stock market: AOL stock jumped up nearly $7 on news of the takeover.
COLUMBUS, Ohio: Loyal CompuServe customers, still reeling from yesterday's announcement that they are about to be swallowed by America Online in a $1.2 billion stock deal, are not likely to find a savior in the Federal Trade Commission. There is nothing the FTC can do, according to TIME Senior Editor Phillip Elmer-DeWitt, because the deal does not create a monopoly. "It's a more competitive situation now than it was ten years ago when there were only four players," says Elmer-De Witt.