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October 5, 1999 Unveils Free Net Desktop Application Platform

By CBR Staff Writer

San Francisco start-up Inc, already a media darling, has finally unveiled its internet-based desktop. The idea is that users should be able to integrate their favorite sites, services and files. The company is also hosting applications on the site, and promises to roll out its API to third-party developers later this year. In a way, the is the logical extension of free web-based email. Users can log on from any net-connected PC. Their files and bookmarks appear as icons on their online desktop. The server can store cookies, saving users the trouble of retyping passwords for every site. The whole service is ad-supported, meaning that it is free to users. They get 10MB of storage space and access to file sharing.

What’s really compelling to the company’s investors – and they include Sequoia Capital and Lotus Corp founder Mitch Kapor – is’s potential to become an application platform for developers. Applications running on the service look and feel like most Windows programs, but they don’t have to be installed, aren’t limited to a single PC and don’t have to be upgraded. Not surprisingly, the company has designed the system from the ground up with application developers in minds. Right now, the site hosts a newsreader, a to-do list and a runner’s log, but these offerings barely scratch the surface of what could do. Without a developer community, may never realize its potential – hence the promised API release. If can win the hearts and minds of the small applications vendors, we can expect to hear a great deal more from this San Francisco upstart. á

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