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In the earliest buildups, each line terminated on a single machine at Compu Serve's host, so different numbers had to be used to reach different computers.

Later, the central multiplexers in Columbus were replaced with PDP-8 minicomputers, and the PDP-8s were connected to a DEC PDP-15 minicomputer that acted as switches so a phone number was not tied to a particular destination host.

(the earliest advertising shows the name with initial caps) in Columbus, Ohio, as a subsidiary of Golden United Life Insurance. Goltz and Wilkins were both graduate students in electrical engineering at the University of Arizona.

While Jeffrey Wilkins, the son-in-law of Golden United founder Harry Gard, Sr., is widely credited as the first president of Compu Serve, the initial president was actually Dr. Early employees also recruited from the University of Arizona included Sandy Trevor (inventor of the Compu Serve CB Simulator chat system), Doug Chinnock, and Larry Shelley.

While continuing the original service, renamed Compu Serve Classic, AOL also used the Compu Serve brand for several low-cost offerings; Compu Serve 2000 was a rebranded AOL client with separate services, while Compu Serve Dialer was a low-cost dialup ISP.In 1981, The Times explained Compu Serve's technology in one sentence: Compu Serve was also a world leader in other commercial services.One of these was the Financial Services group, which collected and consolidated financial data from myriad data feeds, including Compu Stat, Disclosure, I/B/E/S as well as the price/quote feeds from the major exchanges.It was spun off as a separate company in 1975, trading on the NASDAQ under the symbol CMPU.Concurrently, the company recruited executives who shifted the focus from offering time-sharing services, in which customers wrote their own applications, to one that was focused on packaged applications.