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February 16, 1988

IBM, SEARS GEAR UP FOR LAUNCH OF THEIR US TRINTEX VIEWDATA SERVICE

By CBR Staff Writer

Is viewdata ever going to make it in the US? Despite the death of most of the experimental systems such as the one operated jointly by AT&T Co and Knight Ridder Newspapers, IBM and Sears, Roebuck & Co are still believers. Their joint venture – with the somewhat embarrassing name of Trintex – CBS Inc was the third member of the Trinity but pulled out – is due to start operations this spring in Atlanta, Georgia and in San Francisco under the Prodigy name. Designed specifically for use with MS-DOS and OS/2 micros, Apple IIs and Macs, it will need a 1,200 bps modem, communications software and a graphics board in the micro. The subscription charge will be only about $15 a month, and facilities to be offered include booking travel reservations throught the American Airlines Sabre system; trading shares and bonds via Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette; and order groceries from big stores like Krogers in Atlanta. Sports commentator Howard Cosell, and Jane Fonda, presumbly in her incarnation as fitness freak, will be writing daily columns – and have reportedly even agreed to answer readers’ electronic letters. Other participants as information or service providers include Dow Jones & Co, Gannett, publisher of USA Today, and department store chain operator J C Penney. The system will be part-funded by advertising, ads appearing as a line at the bottom of each screen of data.

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