BRINGING THE NET TO NEWBIES
IF YOU COMBINE TWO HOT trends, you can't lose, right? Well, maybe. Tiny startup ThemeWare Corp. in Newport Beach, Calif., is betting that it can use late-night ''infomercials'' to sell a product that capitalizes on the exploding popularity of the Internet.
ThemeWare believes that the vast majority of computer owners haven't ventured out on the Net because they find it too confusing. So the company has bundled a slew of Internet programs into one box. Called the Internet Tool Box, the $100 package offers access to the Internet via the Earthlink network or Microsoft Network. It includes Internet software that would cost $400 if purchased separately, including Netscape Communications' Navigator, the Internet Phone from VocalTec Communications Ltd., and a program called Internet, the City--a CD-ROM-based tour guide for the Web made by Simply Interactive Inc. Designed for newbies, the package, which comes in a red toolbox-shaped carton, also includes a 30-minute videotape that explains what the Internet is as well as a step-by-step guide on how to install the software.
What's more, to help reach the tech-reluctant, ThemeWare has hired help. Pitching the product in an infomercial is Richard Karn, the actor who plays handyman Al Borland on ABC's popular TV show Home Improvement.
By Paul Eng
Updated Aug. 28, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1997, Bloomberg L.P.