In an effort to challenge Microsoft Corp’s hold on the multimedia CD-ROM market, MAI Plc’s Anglia Multimedia and Olivetti StarPress Europe have launched AOS Media Ltd, a joint venture company to market and distribute multimedia titles, initially in the UK, by consolidating the development and content offerings of the multitude of companies with which each of the major players is associated. Olivetti StarPress is a joint venture between Olivetti Telemedia SpA and StarPress Inc of California, Olivetti Telemedia is itself a consortium of some 25 companies including UK-based Acorn Computer Group Plc, Online Media Ltd, and UK Online Ltd. Categories initially covered are education, kids and fun, travel and reference, and content is designed in conjunction with partners including English Heritage, CNN News and Anglia Television Plc. AOS Media’s effort will be on marketing and brand establishment, all titles will be similarly packaged and a press and television advertising campaign starts next month. CD-ROMs will be available through major computer retail outlets, bookshops, and toy retailers Toys’R’Us, as well as major wholesalers. AOS said today’s medium is the CD-ROM. Tomorrow it may distribute via cable modems and on-line services. Future products are being developed using virtual reality technology from Superscape Ltd, to enable children to walk through a safari park as they learn about animals, or through a French town as they learn French. The new company says it is looking for partners in other European countries, and it intends to offer international content as long as it has local relevance.