A small earthquake on Saturday night welcomed delegates to the annual MacWorld show in San Francisco, but Apple Computer Inc hopes to trigger a large earthquake when it goes up against the likes of CompuServe in the second quarter with the launch of eWorld, its interactive on-line service. It will initially be available in the […]
A small earthquake on Saturday night welcomed delegates to the annual MacWorld show in San Francisco, but Apple Computer Inc hopes to trigger a large earthquake when it goes up against the likes of CompuServe in the second quarter with the launch of eWorld, its interactive on-line service. It will initially be available in the US, but the company says that dial-up service will be expanded into Europe and Asia later. The service will offer a mixture of information sources and real-time chat and lecture fora that enable up to 250 people to participate simultaneously. Apple says that it will have 100 information providers signed up by the service’s launch, including the likes of InfoWorld, Dow Jones Business Information Services, Reuters America Inc and USA Today. Hardware and software vendors will be able to set up their own trading areas. The service, slightly more expensive than America Online, will attract a minimum monthly charge of $8.95 including two free hours of evening or weekend usage. Subsequent off-peak usage will cost $4.95 an hour or $7.90 during business hours. The emphasis on interactive conferencing should help to maximise revenues by stopping users from logging on, downloading information in a batch and then disconnecting. Peter Friedman, director of Apple On-line Services says he expects the service to be generating annual revenues of several hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues by 1996 and have several million subscribers. The company’s current AppleLink service, a niche offering that caters mainly for Apple employees dealers and developers has attracted around 60,000 subscribers and generates an annual turnover of around $32m. AppleLink customers will be moved over to the new service within two years. All Macs in the US will have the client software bundled as standard by the end of the year and by then, Apple should also have Windows and Newton versions. Though the client itself looks very much like Magic Cap (see alongside), the two are not related, the company says. The user is confronted with a cutesy birds-eye view of a town, with various buildings labelled newsstand, eMail centre, Business Plaza and the like: a couple of clicks and the appropriate service is reached.