Timeline: AOL through the years

Verizon's $4.4 billion deal to acquire AOL is the latest entry in the 25-plus year history of a company that changed the way people access the Internet.

Read more:
Verizon to buy AOL for $4.4 billion
Why we sold to Verizon: AOL's Tim Armstrong

Some highlights:

  • 1989: Quantum Computer services launches its first instant messaging service.
  • 1991: After an employee vote, Quantum renames itself America Online, also known as AOL.
  • 1992: AOL goes public.
  • 1993: AOL starts mailing compact discs to homes to help them get online.
  • 1995: The service reaches 1 million members.
  • 1996: AOL reaches 5 million members.
  • 1998: The company buys online service CompuServe and messaging platform ICQ.
  • 1999: AOL buys Moviefone and Internet browser Netscape.
  • 2001: AOL merges with Time Warner to form the media giant AOL Time Warner.
  • 2006: America Online formally changes its name and begins offering services for free.
  • 2009: Time Warner spins off AOL into a separate company.
  • 2011: AOL buys The Huffington Post.
  • 2014: Activist investor Starboard urges AOL, Yahoo to merge.
  • April 27, 2015: AOL CEO Tim Armstrong says speculated Yahoo deal is a "dead notion."
  • May 12, 2015: Verizon announces $4.4 billion deal to buy AOL.

Source: AOL corporate history, CNBC reports