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The Mouse That Shrank

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Running graphical programs such as Microsoft Corp.'s Windows on portable computers is difficult. Even with sharper screens and faster processors, most still lack an important feature: a compact pointing device. Now, Microsoft has a "mouse" just for mobile Window-workers.

The $175 BallPoint Mouse is actually a pocket-size trackball. That eliminates the need for a flat surface over which to run a conventional mouse--working space that laptop owners always seem to lack. Other suppliers, such as Logitech Inc. in Fremont, Calif., are also working on portable pointers, but Microsoft hopes to get a head start through a deal with Compaq Computer Corp. Customers who buy any Compaq SLT or LTE laptop by June 30 will get a coupon for a free BallPoint.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG

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