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July 29, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:56pm


By CBR Staff Writer

In a curious move, Motorola Inc yesterday announced its entry into online retailing, with a new web site called SurfrHut, designed to promote products of companies that are generally related to telecommunications and its modem business. The company’s transmission products division, based in Huntsville, Alabama has developed the virtual mall featuring more than 20 online stores as an extension to its Tidal Wave preferred customer program. The site also features a registration area for the program. The products sold are all computer hardware or software. Motorola admitted the move may seem unusual for a company such as itself and also unusual given the failure of IBM Corp’s virtual mall effort, WorldAvenue, which swallowed a lot of resources before being closed down earlier this month due to lack of consumer interest. However, that was supposed to be a general retail site selling anything from clothes to meat, but ended up featuring mainly IBM products before the doors were closed. SurfrHut doesn’t yet feature Motorola products, but will do from next quarter, says the company. Motorola would not disclose how much it charges the hardware and software companies for rental on the site or whether it gets commission on anything sold. The vendors include Qualcomm Inc’s Eudora, Platinum Technologies, Thought communications, iCat Corp and VocalTec Ltd. Surfr is part of the name of Motorola’s 56 kbps modems.

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