StarText Net and GEnie
Three years after the start of the original StarText service, General Electric's Information Services division launched its ASCII-based online service, GEnie, in October 1985. The main difference between the original StarText and GEnie was that StarText offered online news from the newspaper that owned the service, plus the electronic magazine whose content was created by the subscriber-writers. GEnie was a collection of RoundTable forums, but it did not offer news or individual features written by subscriber-writers. However, the one advantage that GEnie had was its nationwide scope via its General Electric servers, in contrast to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex coverage offered by the Tandy system.
Ten years after start-up, the nationwide appeal of GEnie became attractive to many StarText subscribers, and a word-of-mouth membership migration began to take place. In response to this competition and in an attempt to retain its own membership base, a decision was made by the owners of StarText to rebrand the original service as StarText Classic and to create the new StarText Net, offering access to the early Internet. In late 1995 StarText Net began its beta version. The service was offered to the public in May, 1996.
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