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Europe Online Gets AT&T Dialtone

Computer service Europe Online and the Interchange Online Network – acquired by AT&T- recently announced an alliance to jointly conquer European cyberspace.

AT&T’s Interchange will provide software for Europe Online, which hopes to challenge U.S. personal computer networks for the growing number of European computer users by appealing to their desire for Euro content.

Because of its focus on Europe and its link with AT&T, the world’s largest telephone company, Europe Online said it believed it had a good chance to become the leading vehicle for this continent’s multimedia industry. The service is set to debut in the middle of this year.

Europe Online is the first of several home-grown computer networks to compete with the American veterans already winding their way along the fiber optic and copper border crossings. CompuServe, for instance, is widespread in Europe, while Microsoft’s new net and America Online expect to land on these shores this year.

Big-name backers

Backed by German publisher Hubert Burda, the French Lagardere Group and British media giant Pearson, Europe Online initially will be offered in German, French and English and eventually in other European languages.

Burda says the service will provide e-mail, topical bulletin boards, financial services, electronic shopping, videogames and access to the Internet. Also bundled with the estimated $29 monthly price will be several employment services – a good sell in a Europe still emerging from a recession.

The Luxembourg-head-quartered Europe Online is still negotiating with AT&T for use of the American telco’s multimedia Interchange platform, but the service’s execs say they hope to have 250,000 subscribers within four years.

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