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Two Bioinformatics Hardware Providers Offer Sales Via Internet

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NEW YORK--Two computer companies whose products have a major position on the bioinformatics desktop--Silicon Graphics and Apple Computer--have announced new programs to sell equipment over the Internet.

Silicon Graphics here has launched Silicon Shop, a new web-based service that allows customers to buy selected products with credit cards. To kick off Silicon Shop, which replaces and expands upon the O2 Catalog, the company is offering a 10 percent discount on purchases. Available through the service are the O2 and Octane desktop lines, parts and peripherals for those lines, Irix software, remarketed systems and peripherals, training, and manuals. Additions to the on-line product offerings are planned for the future.

Silicon Shop offers detailed information to help users build their own systems, choose support options, and save items in a "product basket" for future reference. Other payment options besides credit cards--including leasing--are also available. At present Silicon Shop is only open to US users, but the service will soon be expanded globally, according to the company. Silicon Shop is located at http://www.sgi.com/store.

Meanwhile, in a much publicized change in strategy, Apple Computer has announced that it has also begun to sell products online. Users can now order customized systems over the internet, from the company's home page at http://www.apple.com. Apple equipment will also continue to be available through conventional retailers.

In other news from Apple, the company has introduced a new family of desktop and notebook systems, the G3, based on the third-generation IBM-Motorola PowerPC G3 processor. The processor is optimized for the Macintosh operating system and Apple claims it is faster than comparable Pentium II products. Among other features, it incorporates a new approach to cache memory that improves speed. "This third-generation PowerPC microprocessor packs the most performance per megahertz of any processor we have ever manufactured," claimed Bud Broeker, corporate vice-president and general manager of Motorola's Personal Computing Division.

The new G3 products use the recently released Macintosh OS 8 operating system. They are presently available in the US and should be ready for worldwide shipping by the middle of next month.

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