Rushing into cyberspace

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Published: Monday 31 October 1994

-- AS MORE and, more North Americans fall victim to the myriad charms of a personal computer and avail of on-line consumer information services, electronic companies in the us are rushing to find a place in cyberspace.

There are already 60 million users of home computers in North America and the number is steadily- increasing. This trend translated into a 25 per cent growth last year, bringing total consumer sub"-ptions to on-line services to more than 5 million. Little wonder then that some industry watchers are Dptimistic about the future.

Some market analysts, however, predict that this rush into cyberspace can only lead to a glut of services that will overwhelin the relatively small market for consumer data. "The numbers are growing rapidly, but they won't be high enough to -accommodate all the companies that are coming into the market,' believes Rusty Williams, vice-president and general manager of Delphi Internet Services of Cambridge, Massachusetts, an on-line services company.

Unlike the information servic&s evDived earlier, which catered exclusively to business customers, the new interactive services are being developed for consumers who use home computers to supplement information systems like the postal service, newspapers, television, telephones and books. A service company can, therefore, hope to outdo its rivals only if it can conjure up a unique presentation style. "The different services are now striving to come up with creative ways to present information and find new sources of information,' says Lisa Johnson, an analyst with the New York city-based market research firm Link Resources.

With the suppliers of services spicing up their products to grab larger shares of the market, us citizens can took forward to having a great time with their computers at home.

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