Launch date: October, 1989
Fatal flaw(s): Extremely restricting, rapacious marketing techniques, poor customer service, lack of vision for the future
Oh, AOL. At one point, the company that was spawned from a company called Quantum Link which built online services for Apple and IBM-compatible computers, boasted over 30 million subscribers worldwide. Granted, a large chunk of them may or may not have been using one of the free service discs that seemed to appear in your mail, weekend papers, favorite magazines, or just on your doorstep. AOL Instant Messenger was sick, but that was free. In the '90s it seemed AOL could not and would not lose. Then the Internet became a lot easier for people to access, broadband began spreading through the nation, and the masses discovered that the services AOL was offering wasn't really all that dope. From there the company fell the eff off from its high worth of $240 billion in 2001, plummeting to the point where the staff has been gutted, and the focus changed. It's no longer providing Internet service for web novices, instead it's making a play into the content game. How the mighty have fallen.