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© St. Petersburg Times, published November 18, 2000

Netpliance stops i-opener sales

Netpliance Inc., the Austin, Texas, company that had high hopes for its "i-opener" Internet appliance for surfing the Web and e-mail, has stopped selling the product. Instead, the company will sell software and hardware to companies such as AT&T Corp. and EarthLink Inc. Computer experts and analysts had varying views on Netpliance's new plan. Some said the change proves that consumers want a fully loaded personal computer, not an easy Internet-access device. But others, including Austin Ventures principal Brian Goffman, said customers like the i-opener. The markets, he said, simply would not accept Netpliance's business model, which depended on revenues generated by subscriptions to its Internet service provider business.

Apple cuts price of high-end laptop

Apple Computer quietly dropped the price of its 500-megahertz PowerBook G3 by $500 last week. The laptop, configured with a 20-gigabyte hard drive and 128 megabytes of random access memory, sells for $2,999 at Apple's online store and other online dealers, down from $3,499. In October, Apple announced a $200 rebate for the PowerBook laptops to boost sales after a sluggish fourth quarter. The rebate, good through year-end, applies to the discounted laptop.

- Compiled from staff and wire reports.

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