MULTIMEDIA UPDATE: THE ONLINE BATTLE IS SET TO BEGIN
Microsoft's exclusive online service agreement with NBC,
signed earlier this month, launched "the first volley in what
promises to be a ferocious battle over one of the hottest growth
industries in the country," according to Julie Pitta in today's
L.A. TIMES. The Microsoft Network (MSN) "poses a mortal threat"
to the so-called "Big Three" -- Prodigy, America Online and
Compuserve. But they "do not intend to go down without a fight."
In addition to improving their own software and connections to
the Web, the existing commercial online services are pushing the
Justice Department to look into MSN, as Justice did with
Microsoft's Intuit deal (L.A. TIMES, 5/31). With MSN and AT&T's
Interchange due this summer, the Big Three are readying ad
campaigns. Cliff Freeman, whose agency handles Prodigy: "The
on-line service wars in the '90s will be what the fast-food,
soft-drink and sneaker battles were in the '70s and '80s"
(Melanie Wells, USA TODAY, 5/31).
ONLINE NEWS & NOTES: The USGA will offer results and
information from the U.S. Open, U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Women's
Open on the internet. UNISYS will be responsible for
transferring info to the Web for the USGA. Address:
http://www.unisys.com (USGA)....Compuserve expects to double its
European subscribers by the end of FY '96 and open a European HQs
next fall (REUTERS, 5/30)....In S.F., columnist C.W. Nevius
reviews the sports options online and reports, "As usual, ESPN is
leading the pack" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/31).