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February 21, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

The second of three start-up launched by Paul Allen think tank Interval Research Inc has closed its doors, the Palo-Alto based company said Friday. Purple Moon, launched at the end of 1996 and based in Mountain View, (CI No 3,042), has ceased operations and laid off all of its employees. The firm was set up as the brainchild of Brenda Laurel to create games using CD-ROMs and the web, and sell related merchandize for girls aged between eight and twelve – perceived by the company as a gap in the market. Interval said industry and retail consolidation in the CD-ROM market was one of the primary reasons for the decision to close operations. Last year Carnelian Inc, a spin-off launched at the same time as Purple Moon, was closed down with the loss of 21 jobs (CI No 3,464). Carnelian, which was working on web publishing software, was criticized for never realizing a believable business model. The third spin-off, Electric Planet Inc, which was launched in 1996 under the name Ogopogo Systems Inc, has the cushion of a recent $6m investment from Intel Corp (CI No 3,557). But E-Planet, which is developing technology for controlling PCs and consumer appliances so that users can interact with their computer simply by moving around, is now facing direct market competition from Reality Fusion Inc, of Santa Cruz, California, whose very similar sounding technology is now being incorporated into games and licensed by Intel and Logitech International SA as a potential industry standard (CI No 3,597). Ironically, Interval was formed with the intention of avoiding the mistakes of Xerox Corp’s PARC Palo Alto Research Corp labs, which became notorious for not managing to commercially exploit the technologies it developed.

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