News clippings of Blair Newman

Blair Edit
             Technology: U.S. Inventors Thrive at Electronics Show
             By Stephen Kreider Yoder
             Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal
DD        01/10/90
TX           LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Most gadget hounds seeking the latest
          offerings at the Consumer Electronics Show went to the huge
          booths of the Japanese heavyweights.
             But some of the more innovative and fun gadgets at the
          show, which ended here yesterday, were in tiny booths and
          out-of-the-way displays run by little-known U.S.

             VCRS With Good taste
             At Howard Hughes's old underground fallout bunker two
          miles from the convention center, for example, a
       *  frizzy-haired inventor named Blair Newman was taking orders
          for his brainchild, a $3,500 computer-and-television hybrid
          that will automatically record the programs that its owner is
          likely to want to watch.
             Mr. Newman's company, Metaview Corp., may be no match for
          the Japanese, who are uncontested in the mainstream of
          electronics technology. On the other hand, none of the
          Japanese are making "telecommunicating VCRs" like Mr.
          Newman's. The system, called the TVCR, makes a three-minute
          call once a week to a central computer, run by Metaview, that
          electronically looks through the following week's TV
          schedules. The computer instructs the TVCR to pick out and
          record programs that the owner might like based on a
          questionnaire filled out previously. The user picks from an
          on-screen menu of the recorded programs, and the computer in
          the TVCR learns what type of programs the user plays back to
          help it in making future recordings.
             Mr. Newman, who expects to ship the first TVCRs in a
          month, said he wants to sell the telephone service, called
          SmarTV, for about $5 a month. He also offers a $10,000 TVCR
          model with a built-in robot that can change 48 video
          cassettes and 432 compact disks jukebox-style. "Americans
          want this," he enthused.

         The Automatic Ad-Zapping Machine
         BY M.J. Wilcove  Special to The Bee
DD       11/12/89
         Edition: METRO FINAL
         Section: FORUM
         Page: FO1
         Credit: SACB0077

         LAST, long-suffering television viewers have a chance to strike back 
  at those commercials that continually and obtrusively invade the privacy of 
  our homes.  
     Welcome to the emerging world of SmarTV, a clever product -- introduced 
  this year by a San Francisco firm -- that, among other things, allows you to 
  zap all TV ads.  Indeed, this tentative opening salvo from a little band of 
  venture capitalists on the West Coast may prove to be as ominous a threat to 
  the East Coast broadcasting moguls as David was to Goliath.  
     Imagine turning on the tube this evening and seeing the screen light up 
  with neither a five-minute string of commercials nor the last 20 minutes of a 
  "Gilligan's Island" rerun.  Instead, there's a menu of the week's best 
  programs.  And imagine that there's no need to fumble with a timer or through 
  a stack of videocasettes.  The TV itself has pre-recorded this week's 
  selections -- with your particular viewing taste in mind.  
     The system's technical designer, George Morrow, concedes he was motivated 
  by his own inability to learn how to instruct his VCR to tape shows 
  automatically; TVs and VCRs, he complains, have "a terrible user interface. " 
  That is, up until now.  Just graze your menu's goodies and punch up a choice 
  with the remote control, the way you'd punch up a favorite song on a jukebox. 
  "They've made the thing idiot-proof," says one trial user with relief.  
     How does SmarTV "know" what to tape for you?  While you're sleeping, the 
  system dials an 800 number into a central computer that keeps tabs on the 
   networks' programming schedules (think of it as an electronic TV Guide).  It 
  also stores your viewer profile, a questionnaire you filled out (which your 
  system continuously modifies to correct for what you're actually watching) 
  that indicates your preferences for, say, comedy, football and national news. 
  The computer matches the two databases and instructs your home set to tape 
  each program it thinks you'll enjoy watching.  
     Built from off-the-rack VCR and television parts, along with an internal 
  robot arm that automatically grabs the right videocasette, the system takes 
  advantage of software that originally was developed to monitor news wire 
  services and "clip" stories to create a user-specific newspaper.  SmarTV 
  stores up to 186 hours of programming for immediate, individual selection.  
     As the first example of a "smart set" to hit the market, the box (which 
  looks like a standard television) doesn't improve the quality of your 
  picture.  Rather, it improves the quality of viewing time, a benefit that 
  initial test-market viewers say they prefer over the new high-definition TV 
  technology.  The set accesses what The Media Lab at MIT terms "time shifting" 
  or "asynchronous viewing. " Or, as director Nicholas Negroponte quips: "
  `Prime Time' becomes `My Time. ' " 
     In what could be seen as the broadcasting industry's worst nightmare, 
  SmarTV lets you zip through commercials at 30 times regular speed (that's one 
  commercial per second) -- or eliminate them entirely.  The automatic 
*    Blair Newman, former marketing consultant to a host of Silicon Valley 
  success stories and now president of the SmarTV start-up, originally kept 
  that capability under wraps when his Metaview Corporation introduced the 
  system in January.  "It seems," he said at the time, "unfair to the 
  broadcasters. " 
   Acknowledging the $25-billion-a-year advertising industry as intrinsic to 
  America's free TV phenomenon and its international programming primacy -- 
  capable of mounting such exceptional productions, for example, as "Lonesome 
  Dove" -- Newman even suggested that Congress pass a law to prohibit automatic 
  ad elimination.  "We're not out," he said, "to kill the goose that lays the 
  golden egg. " 
  HOWEVER, IN February Forbes magazine ran a review of the venture, titled "The 
  Ad Killers," which submitted that SmarTV's automatic commercial elimination 
  feature (ACE) would probably prove legal in court, on the basis of First 
  Amendment rights, and that it's probably unstoppable now.  Prompted by Forbes'
  determination, Metaview announced in March that it is reconsidering making 
  ACE available to customers after all.  
  Newman (who has a reputation among Bay Area cognoscenti for seeing trends 
  ahead of others) remains concerned about what he may have wrought.  In an open
  letter to all major broadcasting and ad industry execs asking for help in 
  evaluating ad-zapping's long-term impact, he advised, "We had assumed most 
  customers would prefer making commercials optional, as with print media.  It 
  came as an unpleasant shock to us," he wrote, that Metaview's research 
  indicates "the vast majority of prospective SmarTV purchasers will opt for 
  its capability to automatically eliminate all advertising. " 
     Is the TV-watching public so bored with, or irked by, sales pitches that 
  it will adopt SmarTV (and other interactive systems soon to debut) to ACE 
  them all?  
     It's widely recognized that couch potatoes are, in increasing numbers, 
  channel-hopping to avoid ad breaks.  With close to three out of four viewers 
  now wielding a remote control that can consign to cathode-tube oblivion an 
  offending product pitch, grazing during prime time shows, according to the 
  best available data, jumped from 9 percent to 16 percent whenever a 
  commercial aired last year.  Still, whether TV watchers, given the 
  opportunity, would deliver the coup de grace to every one of the 4,500 or so
  commercial spots estimated by Nielsen to air nightly is a question capable of 
  generating hot debate.  
     Bill Evans, president of Clio Awards in New York City (which recognize 
  excellence in advertising), is an enthusiastic booster of the creative 
  pastiche by which "the best commercials manage to do in a 30-second spot what 
  it took the producers of `Gone With The Wind' three-and-a-half hours" to 
  portray.  Moreover, Evans argues, "Consumers would be stupid to kill ads; 
  without commercials the networks are in trouble and you'd have to pay through 
  the nose to have TV in your home. " 
     Professor Robert Buzzell, rotating chairman of the marketing faculty at 
  Harvard Business School, says that while "some people would (opt for ACE) and 
  that would be a serious problem, I don't think as many people would opt for 
  it as say they will.  They want to do their own zapping.  And I don't think 
  that many people are that upset about ads, myself. " 
     Three thousand miles away and poles apart, Ben Bagdikian, a journalism 
  professor at the University of California, Berkeley, submits that "we're 
  assaulted by advertising, in print, billboards, radio and TV, and people are 
  begging for relief. " A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and critic of 
  today's media monopolies, Bagdikian says: 
     "SmarTV is one of the healthiest things that could happen for the major
  media.  They have been socially and culturally irresponsible in their desire 
  for profits.  The TV people have asked for it, and I have no sympathy for them
  whatsoever.  And I say that as one who doesn't want to see TV advertising die.
  But let the TV people convince the consumers they will set moderate 
  standards.  When the goose starts laying eggs that are contaminated, we should
  kill that goose and get another goose. " 
    AT THE National Association of Broadcasters in Washington, D.C., news 
  director Bob Hallahan defends commercials' utility in educating consumers 
  about new products and keeping the economy going.  And while he concedes that 
  if interactive viewing were to sweep America, "It would upset us," the NAB, 
  he reports, is unconcerned by the announcement of a fledgling smart TV set.  
  "We'll just have to face it when it comes. " 
     Metaview's Newman doesn't want to kill free TV anymore than the media 
  moguls do.  A graduate of Harvard Business School (and the first student to 
  have a PC in his dorm room), Newman migrated West when Howard Hughes' Summa 
  Corporation tapped him in his senior year; he commuted between Cambridge and 
  Las Vegas until graduation.  
     As a consultant for years to Microsoft and Apple, among other Silicon 
  Valley microprocessing stars, Newman "has a lot in common with Steve Jobs," 
  says Trip Hawkins, president of San Mateo-based Electronic Arts, the leading
  publisher of computer games software.  "Their minds are always running 1,000 
  miles an hour.  Blair generates at least two ideas a day, each of which could 
  be built into a successful business. " 
     While Newman first conceptualized SmarTV (and published the idea) back in 
  1979, he's "picked it (over other ideas) and decided to run with it," he 
  says, because "it seems the most interesting over the long term and it has a 
  lot of implications for the industry. " 
     The venture has already raised "significant capital" towards its targeted 
  $3 to $5 million, but Newman's iconoclastic style is reflected in the fact 
  that the company hasn't set itself up in corporate offices: He prefers to do 
  business via the Bay Area's electronic bulletin board, known as The Well.  
   Newman's technical cohort, Fen LaBalme, the inventor of NewsPeek at MIT's 
  Media Lab, concedes to an almost religious zeal in promoting personalized 
  media.  The company's long-range objectives may be gleaned from the knowledge 
  that Newman has already put SmarTV's specifications in the public domain and 
  invited all VCR manufacturers to freely develop compatibles.  Metaview's goal 
  is to become the publisher of the first electronic rival to TV Guide, a 
  tactic Forbes appraised with the words: "Rupert Murdoch, watch out. " 
     To do so, however, Newman must address the question of keeping free TV 
  alive and kicking -- and the problem of ACE.  As is often the case, Newman
  notes, problems caused by new technology may be solved by new technology -- 
  in this case, by what he calls selective distribution of TV ads.  In other 
  words, SmarTV would charge ad and broadcasting execs to transmit truly 
  informative and entertaining commercial messages, and a variety of them, 
  which viewers may select the same way they'll choose SmarTV's program 
  schedule -- according to personal interest.  
     Advertising exec Denman Maroney of D'Arcy, Masins, 
  Benton & Bowles in New York City sees SmarTV as "a manifestation of a trend 
  that's been in evidence for some time.  There used to be one set and all the 
  family watched; now each family member has his or her own TV, and most 
  households have VCRs. " 
     Maroney, who is preparing a white paper for his firm titled "Interactive 
  Media" to assess the implications of new technology that will allow consumers 
  to "talk back" to their television sets, notes: "TV is slowly on its way to 
  becoming fully personalized. " 
     And he describes the technology being explored at The Media Lab for 
  advertising's -- and our viewing -- future: "Suppose you're watching a show 
  and see your hero in an Allante.  In The Media Lab's vision, if you're perhaps
  interested in buying an Allante, you'll be able to draw a box around it on 
  your screen and pull up a 30-minute commercial for the car. "
    FUTURIST WILLIAM Donnelly suggests that the new generation of media now 
  emerging will permit "control of communications . . . nowhere else but at its 
  reception point. " And not only permit.  For an American public increasingly 
  disquieted about the quality of its plug-in drug (and for an adolescent 
  medium experiencing growing pains), SmarTV looks like the harbinger of 
  next-level viewing media that will bring about broadcasting policies more 
  accountable to the public -- and demand more responsible personal television 
     For the present, SmarTV is already posing a first crucial personal 
  decision: With no time to waste in front of the tube anymore, when can we 
  sneak out to the kitchen for a cold drink and chips?  

          Broadcasting Data at Low Cost: X-Press Information Services
          By Steve Cisler
DD        05/01/89
SO        Online (ONLI) Pg. 115
TX        Copyright Online, Inc. 1989
             Reference librarians who work for any amount of time on a public
          desk usually come to know the strange characters and the odd patrons
          who spend hours combing through your collection as they pursue some
          private obsession.  About ten years ago a young man came into our
          branch each day; his eyes reflected the fires burning in his brain.
          Without a greeting he would launch into his conspiracy theories,
          share his knowledge about the spies working in McDonald's down the
          street, about the people trying to hypnotize him, and about the
          satellites bombarding him with endless messages of doom and civil
         strife.  Up to a point I did not mind having him share his view of
          the universe with me.  Some of these people are both brilliant and
          crazy, and it is a challenge to see where the insanity starts and
          the brilliance ends.
             I thought the young man was totally wrong until I began writing
          this month's column, which is not about difficult patrons or the
          state of mental care in California.  The young man was ahead of his
          time; we are being bombarded with messages, stories, financial data,
          press releases, and syndicated columns from satellites.  We just
          need some help from a data service called X*PRESS Information
          Services in order to receive them. DATA ON A CABLE Tv NETWORK
             X*PRESS is a partnership between McGraw- Hill, Inc., and
          Tele-Communications, Inc., the largest multiple system cable
          operator in the United States.  X*PRESS offers two products to the
          consumer market.  X*Change is part of the basic cable service in TCI
          cable systems, and is available in another 800,000 homes through
          contracts with other cable companies.  It is a 24hour-a-day news
          feed comprised of information from 30 information providers.  The
          second product, X*PRESS Executive, is a premium service that costs
          $19.95 per month and provides financial data that is on a
          fifteen-minute delay.  This X*PRESS Executive information includes
          stock, mutual funds, and index quotations from various U.S.  and
          Canadian stock exchanges.
             The data on X*Change and Executive are formatted and encrypted
          and processed into a single data stream, uplinked to a Galaxy I
          satellite using the digital audio signal of CNN, and then
          transmitted on the Cinemax transponder at 9600 bits per second.  For
          $125 you can buy cables, software, and a General Instruments
          Infocipher box that hooks your cable to the modem port on your
          computer.  Some cable companies don't provide the basic service
          unless you subscribe to the premium Executive financial service.
             The information providers on the basic service, provided without
          surcharge, include: Agence France Presse Associated Press BYTE
          magazine Cable News Network Cable Value Network and C.O.M.B.
          Canadian Press Central News Agency Colorado TravelBank Copley News
          Service Deutsche Presse-Agenteur Kyodo News Service Notimex (in
          Spanish) OPEC News Agency The Sharper Image Shephard's/McGraw-Hill
          Shop-At-Home Directory SportsTicker, Inc. Standard & Poor's
          Corporation TASS TV Decisions/United Media USA Today/Gannett New
          Media Services Washington Post Writers Group WorldGroup Companies,
          Inc.  Xinhua News Agency Zephyr Weather Information Service HOW DOES
          IT WORK?
             Figure 1 shows the startup screen for the Macintosh version.
          Clicking on category Selection brings up Figure 2.  The user has
          selected Headlines, Business and Finance, People's Republic of China,
          Japan, and Opinions & Editorials for capturing in the computer
             Using the Navigate menu, proceed to Keyword setup.  Up to 16
          words can be stored in order to save the messages and stories that
          contain one or more of the terms. In Figure 3 govern, uses the
          asterisk as a wild card; ra?e will capture "rate", "rape", "race",
             Figure 4 shows the News category.  Notice that the "Count" box
          has 15 stories from all the categories chosen beforehand.  As you
          watch the screen the numbers increase until your buffer overflows.
             Figure 5 displays one of the stories from AP.  The scroll bar at
          the top of the window allows the user to move between the fifteen
          stories.  They can be saved to disk or printed out.  Because of
          copyrigl;t restrictions and contracts with the information providers,
          X*PRESS software saves the file in a proprietary, nonASCII format.
          This means that the stories cannot be stored in a full-text
          retrieval package, but they can be printed out.
             Figure 6 shows the Standard & Poor's Personal Portfolio.  The
          software allows investors to choose up to 128 securities, and
          receive updates on only those stocks.
             Third-party developers are working on enhancements to the basic
          software as well as adding other features.  File transfer for MS-DOS
          and Atari computers is a service for downloading software or large
          database files at a specific time. HOOKING UP THE SYSTEM TO YOUR
             At press time software and interfaces exist for IBM PC, XT, AT,
          PS/2; Apple IIe, Macintosh, and Atari.  If you can set up a modem,
          you will find this is not difficult to install.  After the coax
          cable is connected to the Infocipher box, connect the box to your
          modem port with the cable provided.  With an A/B switch, the modem
          port can be used for both cable and phone lines.  Boot up the
          software, and the newsfeed begins immediately. ONE USER LOVES IT
       *     Confirmed information hounds like the idea of X*PRESS.  Blair
          Newman, designer of SmarTV in San Francisco, California, shared his
          ideas about the reality and future potential of this service.  He
          praised the service for its "blazing breadth", and his PC defaults
          to this service.  When he wakes up in the morning, he turns on the
          PC, and by the end of his shower there are over 100 stories waiting
          for him.  If you multiply 9600 bps by 24 hours, the 83MB/day
          capacity of the system seems overwhelming.  He estimates that 13
          million words can be pumped into a PC in one day.  Newman's
          interests are in consumer services, where most of the time will be
          spent reading rather than typing.  He hopes that X*PRESS will add an
          integrated dial-in system for interacting with other users. X -
             X*PRESS has been marketing this service in schools in rural and
          urban settings.  When X*PRESS donates the decoder kits, the school
          only needs the basic cable service, a computer, and an imaginative
          librarian to introduce the students to a world of information - one
          that we as professionals are grappling with in a more structured and
          expensive form.
             Some students are printing out the stories for mock newspapers;
          others are following news stories as they occur and comparing the
          style and political slant from one news service to another.  This
          service is a real boon to rural schools which are far from any
          packet-switching node to reach online services.  X*PRESS has hired
          moderators to launch another service to allow students to post
          comments about a wide variety of topics.  The posting is done by
          mail, phone, or a modem-based device.  The input is keyed in and
          posted in the appropriate conference. TESTING AT APPLE
             Apple Library will be testing the service as soon as we mount the
          correct satellite dish.  The service will be available for our
          walk-in user as an introduction to our services.  In its present
          form there is no way it can replace our intensive use of commercial
          databanks, but its timeliness and speed can supplement these dial-up
          data services.
             For more information contact X*PRESS Information Services, Ltd.,
          P.O.  Box 4153, Englewood, CO 80155; 800/7PC-NEWS (800/772-6397).
             Communications to the author should be addressed to Steve Cisler,
          P.O.  Box 992, Cupertino, CA 95015; ALANET - ALA0728; OnTyme -
          CLASS.ONLINE/SC; CompuServe - 73240,1016; BIX - scisler; Applelink
          Cislerl; Internet - sac@well.uucp.
END       ---------------------------------------------------------------------
DE        Information services - X-Press Information Services Ltd.
SIC       7375 - 8231

AN       1053783
         Kentucky Fried, McDonald's in Fast-Food Feud
         BY Jamie Beckett
DD       01/29/90
         Edition: FINAL
         Section: BUSINESS
         Page: B5

     Kentucky Fried Chicken has put McDonald's on trial in its latest 
  advertising campaign.  
     The commercials, which depict a mock congressional investigation of 
  a shifty-eyed Ronald McDonald, are KFC's first direct attack on its 
  and it recently fortified its sandwich buns with calcium.  
     But the most telling indication of changing times in the fast-food 
  industry is in a list of items McDonald's is considering adding to its 
  menu.  The list includes bran muffins, low-fat yogurt, chicken soup and 
  celery and carrot sticks.  
     Ad-free TV may one day be a reality, thanks to an invention of two 
  Bay Area entrepreneurs.  The product is called SmarTV, but works more 
  like a VCR, automatically recording shows selected specially for a 
  particular viewer.  The machine knows what to tape because you've filled 
  out a questionnaire indicating your TV preferences.  It knows what's on 
  TV because it stores network programming schedules in a central 
*    Blair Newman, a former Silicon Valley consultant and SmarTV's 
  co-creator, is test-marketing two versions of the product in California 
   -  one that sells for about $3,500 and a deluxe version that goes for 
  about $10,000.  He expects the price of the SmarTV will drop to under 
  $500 within three years.  
     The product now offered does not automatically kill ads, although it 
  has the capability.  Instead, it allows you to zip through commercials
  at about 30 times the regular speed, a little faster than most VCRs 
     ""We're not offering ad elimination now because we don't want to get 
* the broadcast industry mad at us," says Newman, president of Metaview, 
  the San Francisco-based company formed to market the product.  He 
  expects he will later offer the service as an option at extra cost.  
     But Newman says he doesn't really want to eliminate all ads.  
  Instead, he wants to use the SmarTV to insert ads designed for specific 
  viewers.  A doctor may get an ad for a pharmaceutical company, for 
  instance, while a data-processing executive may see an ad for Wang.  
     Although viewers could still choose to see no ads, Newman says his 
  research shows that most would choose to watch ads of particular 
  interest to them.  

         SmarTV: New Video Toy Takes You Beyond the VCR
DD       06/11/89
         Edition: FINAL
         Section: ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT
         Page: L3

     Most of us have mastered the VCR by now.  It's almost the '90s;  VCR 
  phobias are passe.  We conquered our fear of flashing numbers, we made 
  our choices and we settled into a comfortable video pattern.  
*        So why can't Metaview Corp. leave well enough alone?  
*        Metaview is a San Francisco company that has invented a $6,000 
  recording system named SmarTV, and, according to company president 
* Blair Newman, is, more or less, a ``souped-up VCR.''  
         SmarTV is a computer-run device that will monitor every TV 
  channel and record any program it thinks you'd enjoy watching - up to 
  186 hours worth.  And it can automatically eliminate advertising.  
         You never touch a tape, you never program the VCR.  You use your 
  remote control to choose a show from an on-screen menu and the machine 
  does the rest, like a video jukebox.  
         Someone has to tell the computer what you like, which is where 
* you come in.  The Metaview people interview you and put together a 
  ``viewer profile,'' which gets fed into the master computer.  

        End of Document 

             IBM Will Sell Portable Version of its PC Model
             Concern Also to Offer System
             That Allows Networking
             Of Its Personal Computers
             By Richard A. Shaffer
             Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal
DD        02/17/84
TX           NEW YORK -- International Business Machines Corp. said it
          will sell a portable version of its Personal Computer,
          putting pressure on makers of IBM look-alikes such as
          Columbia Data Products Inc., Compaq Computer Corp.  and Eagle
          Computer Inc., as well as such makers of other portables as
          Kaypro Corp.
             The company also said it will sell a system of cables and
          attachments that will enable its personal computer models,
          including the PCjr, to talk directly with each other and to
          share printers and very large files of information.
             The new IBM computer, available March 1, will sell for
          $2,795, slightly less than the suggested list prices of
          top-of-the-line competitors. Because the electronic circuits
          it uses are in short supply, however, the IBM portable will
          be scarce at first. In addition, most of the machines are
          expected to be sold directly by IBM to large companies, with
          a typical retail dealer getting fewer than a half-dozen
          machines a month.
             The new portable has a nine-inch amber screen that can
          display both text and pictures, but text is likely to be more
          difficult to read on it than on the video screen sold with
          most of IBM's desktop personal computers. That could be a
          drawback in the two most popular uses for personal computers,
          word-processing and financial modeling with spreadsheets.
             In its standard version, the portable has 256,000
          characters of main memory and a single disk drive. Another
          drive can be added for $425. The 30-pound IBM portable is
          slightly bulkier and somewhat heavier than its competitors.
             Several brands of portables can use programs written for
          IBM's desktop machines, but the most popular are those made
          by Compaq, which grew to $111 million in sales last year, its
          first in business. Most of the IBM clones are carried only by
          stores that can't get the IBM line itself, and aren't likely
          to be affected by the new product. But the Compaq is carried
          primarily by IBM dealers, who presumably will carry IBM
          portables if they can get them.
             At an industry conference last week, however, the head of
          one national chain of IBM dealerships, Businessland, said
          that because demand for all of IBM's personal computers is
          expected to exceed supply until at least midyear, the
          look-alikes will continue to sell well if their price is at
          least 20% less than IBM's, or if they offer many more
          features for the same price.
             Price comparisons are difficult, but the two disk-drive
          version of Compaq's portable is already being discounted by
          most dealers to $2,995, or $225 less than the list price of
          the most comparable version of IBM's new portable. At
          present, Compaq's portables sell for about the same price as
          IBM's desktop models, although Compaq provides additional
          features.  One is a video screen that can display both
          graphic images and very clear text, a feat that requires
          either two video screens or additional circuitry to
          accomplish on IBM's Personal Computer.
             Compaq is generally expected to lower its prices soon on
          its basic model, to place more emphasis on its Compaq Plus
          model, which can store up to 10 million characters of
          information, and to introduce at least one new model later
          this year. "We've been preparing for an IBM portable for a
          long time," says Rod Canion, Compaq's president. "They
          haven't upstaged us."
             IBM's other new product, which it calls the Personal
          Computer Cluster Program, will make it easier for nearby
          users of personal computers to send messages to each other.
          It also will enable them to share expensive attachments, such
          as letter-quality printers, thus lowering the overall cost of
          supplying personal computers to everyone in, say, an office
          or classroom.
             Each part of the cluster product -- circuit boards,
          cables, programs -- is separately priced, but IBM said that a
          typical package that would tie together five machines -- a
          PC/XT and four Personal Computers -- would sell for $2,540 at
          its product centers.
             Among other things, such a network would make it possible
          for IBM's entry-level home computer, the PCjr, which lacks a
          disk drive, to use programs written for the company's larger
          machines, which have disk drives.
       *     In Solana Beach, Calif., Blair Newman, director of
          strategic planning for Kaypro, said the IBM portable computer
          entry sounded like "a me-too product in a market already
          awash with them."
             Kaypro, he said, is the largest maker of portable personal
          computers, having sold more than 100,000 last year. Mr.
          Newman said the Kaypro Model 10 is the same size and weight
          as the IBM computer about to be introduced, but that for
          about $100 less the Kaypro has greater disk storage capacity
          and comes with free software.
             In Los Gatos, Calif., Eagle Computer said it wouldn't
          comment on IBM's new product.
             Columbia Data Products, based in Columbia, Md., couldn't
          be reached last night for comment.
             IBM closed at $109.625, unchanged, in composite trading
          yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange. Compaq closed at
          $7.375, down 87.5 cents, in national over-the-counter
          trading. Eagle closed unchanged at $6.25 also in national
          over-the-counter trading. In regular over-the-counter
          trading, Kaypro traded at $6.125 bid, down 50 cents, and
          Columbia Data Products at $10.25 bid, down 12.5 cents.

Broadcatch Technologies /
Last modified: Tue Jul 12 21:47:53 1994