CompuServe Split Between WorldCom and AOL -- H&R Block has agreed to sell its 80 percent share in CompuServe to telecommunications giant WorldCom in a stock swap worth roughly $1.2 billion. In a separate deal, WorldCom will trade CompuServe's consumer customers and $175 million to America Online for AOL's ANS Communications network services division. That dollar amount is about five times the $35 million AOL paid for ANS a few years ago, as we noted back in TidBITS-254. In essence, AOL takes over CompuServe's 2.6 million customers (AOL reportedly plans to keep the CompuServe name alive), and WorldCom adds both CompuServe's and ANS's networks to its existing UUNET network, creating a massive network of more than 500,000 dialup ports. AOL also signed a five-year deal making WorldCom AOL's largest network service provider in exchange for discounts worth several hundred million dollars. An acquisition of CompuServe was inevitable and these deals appear to give each company what it wants. The effect on CompuServe customers remains to be seen. [ACE]
Improve Apple Services with AirPort Base Stations
You can make iChat file transfers, iDisk, and Back to My Mac work better by turning on a setting with Apple AirPort base stations released starting in 2003. Launch AirPort Utility, select your base station, click Manual Setup, choose the Internet view, and click the NAT tab. Check the Enable NAT Port Mapping Protocol (NAT-PMP) box, and click Update. NAT-PMP lets your Mac OS X computer give Apple information to connect back into a network that's otherwise unreachable from the rest of the Internet. This speeds updates and makes connections work better for services run by Apple.
- America Online buys ANS (28 Nov 94)