Prodigy is the last of the big four commercial online services to make the move to the Internet. Prodigy Internet 1.0 will be available at $19.95 a month from November.
Prodigy was the child of IBM and Sears but the service failed to reach its potential, largely due to disagreement between the parents, and was sold for a cool $250 million to its management. The service currently has just over a million users, placing it well into fourth place behind America Online with more than six million customers, Compuserve, with over four million and the newcomer Microsoft Network, at 1.5 million.
Chairman Greg Carr paints a picture of the new Prodigy rising from the ashes of the old and wooing Internet users away from the competition but the initial package hardly covers revolutionary ground. Intense price competition is hardly an option now Prodigy no longer has big money backers, and many observers doubt it can catch its rivals.
In early 1997 a Spanish language version of the PI 1.0 is due for release, and the foreign language market may provide a niche that will be less challenging than the highly competitive English-speaking market.
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