Apple eWorld Users to Be Switched to America Online

From Associated Press

Subscribers to Apple Computer Inc.'s eWorld won't be evicted from cyberspace after the company shuts down its online service at the end of the month.

Apple said Thursday that eWorld users will have access to America Online, the largest online service.

The announcement is part of a larger collaboration between Apple, the nation's No. 3 personal computer maker, and Vienna, Va.-based America Online Inc. AOL access software will also now be included in many of Apple's computers, and the companies plan to work together on programming and service.

"America Online has proved to be the most popular online service with Macintosh users, so it's natural that we would evolve to offer AOL on the Apple desktop," said Steve Franzese, director of Apple's new-media, entertainment and Internet group.

Separately, Apple named Fred Anderson chief financial officer, banking on a turnaround expert with an information systems background to help solve its inventory problems.

Anderson, 51, was CFO at Automatic Data Processing Inc., a big payroll-processing company. Relatively unknown in the PC industry, he is the second top appointment by new Chief Executive Gilbert Amelio, himself billed as a turnaround artist.

Apple's announcement with AOL comes two days after Apple told eWorld subscribers that it would end service March 31. The service, which provides news, educational and entertainment information and Internet access, was started two years ago to compete with AOL, CompuServe and Prodigy.

The service got high marks for its easy-to-use graphics but won only 147,000 subscribers, compared with AOL's 5 million, CompuServe's 4.3 million and Prodigy's 1.4 million.

Apple and America Online said Thursday that they will make it easy for eWorld subscribers to transfer, with an e-mail forwarding service, online "transition forums" and 15 free hours on AOL.

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