A new CompuServe client was launched yesterday that will, according to UK MD, Martin Turner, raise the company's profile as an exclusive service provider for what he described as "the more discerning and sophisticated Internet user".
Compuserve2000 will now give users access to a "plethora of premium content", such as company reports, market analysis and online news direct from PA and Reuters. The revitalised client has been designed to compete with other ISPs in the same way an exclusive club might compete with a high-street pub.
"People go onto the Internet and find that it is of no value to them," said Turner. "They find themselves in a community of people they perhaps don't want to be associated with. Our club is aimed at the more sophisticated end of the market." Arguing this is not Internet snobbery, Turner added: "It's for the more discerning user who is prepared to pay a little more for something that is good."
Turner accepted that improvements to the old client were needed to reduce "natural churn"- ie people who cancel their subscriptions. "From my prospective, there is far too high a natural churn" he said, although he was unwilling to provide figures.
CompuServe 2000 features:
- Instant messaging
- email service allows users to embed pictures, graphics and hyperlinks
- New data network.
Judy Gibbons, UK MD of Microsoft Network believes the development of new software for proprietary on-line services is a step in the right direction. "Within that closed world, it is progress" she said. But she believes that within the web as a whole, the services offered by CompuServe are already available "in a rich and diverse form" elsewhere. "The real challenge is to bring it all together and it will soon become academic who provides connectivity. What site people use to start their exploration of the Net will be what counts. Basically the Internet moves ahead faster than proprietary on-line services" she said.