Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine / Volume 2, Number 4 / April 1, 1995 / Page 4

The Cutting Edge:

The Medium AND The Message...and Money and Magazines and Multimedia and...

by Chris Lapham (

The next "M" is naturally Microsoft, whose plans to include news as part of its online Microsoft Network, sell advertising for its Microsoft Magazine, and develop multimedia projects with movie great Steven Speilberg have the suits in many different industries scrambling to position themselves in light of these threats from the software giant.

An announcement about Microsoft's Online Service was first published by Interactive Week. After finding about about the new venture, wired journalists, who belong to the New Information Technologies List, pounced on Microsoft's John Callan, who described himself as a "journalist" for the "MSN news service," according to Brock Meeks' report in CyberWire Dispatch. Microsoft's Bill Miller, director of Online Services, responded by posting the statement:

"We did announce last November that news, sports, weather, and stock quotes would be a part of our basic service but have provided no further details. We are now determining how we can provide these services on MSN, but have no further plans to announce at this time. Some took the remarks in this forum (the New Information Technologies List) to take it that Microsoft will create a full fledged news gathering organization, including journalists. That is not our intent."
In contrast, magazine publishers "seem more intrigued then worried by Microsoft's advances into the consumer-magazine market," according to a report in Cowles Business Media, Inc. Cowles reported recently that Microsoft Magazine, which was launched last fall as a marketing tool for Windows, is considering selling outside advertising and distributing the magazine on newsstands on a bimonthly basis.

Bankers, Beware!

The next industry to feel the impact of Microsoft's amoeba-like growth may be financial services. According to a March 17 news release from Killen & Associates, a Palto-Alto, California research and training organization, a soon-to-be-released Killen study states that Microsoft's preeminent position in personal computer software, online services, and other resources will enable it to "muscle into the top 15 electronic funds services (EFS) suppliers to capture substantial business now controlled almost exclusively by banks and other financial services providers."

Omni Goes Electric

Omni, one of the country's premier science magazines, recently announced that it will stop publishing "on paper" each month. Beginning with its July issue, Omni will appear on newsstands in quarterly special issues and will continue to publish an online edition each month. Discover Magazine, which is owned by Disney Magazine Publishing, Inc., bought Omni's subscriber file.

It's CompuServe By A Neck

CompuServe, one of the country's leading online commercial services, took the lead in the race to wire the country when it purchased Spry, Inc., maker of the access applications Internet-In-A-Box and SafteyWeb.

Spry is an experienced information network provider that can give CompuServe the software talent they need to develop a browser for the World Wide Web. CompuServe was the first commercial online service to provide an Internet gateway for email, but lagged behind Prodigy, which was the first of the three big services -- CompuServe, Prodigy, and America Online -- to offer access to the World Wide Web. For now, Prodigy's Web access is limited to PC users only: Mac people have to wait.

Chris Lapham, Chief Correspondent for CMC Magazine, is a freelance writer and reporter who lives in the Capital Region of New York. She is currently completing a Master's degree in Communication and Rhetoric at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.

Copyright © 1995 by Chris Lapham. All Rights Reserved.

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