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  Anvil Issue Twelve

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*Anvil is a weekly newsletter and Web site providing insight into online industry news, issues and trends in easy to swallow caplets. In this week’s issue:
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TOP INDUSTRY NEWS
*The Year Online
*Next Year Online


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TOP INDUSTRY NEWS
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*The Year Online
1996 has been a huge year for the online industry. Industry giants Microsoft, Netscape and Sun stole headlines with aggressive PR and marketing efforts. Many new start-ups emerged, taking advantage of the optimistic market outlook. The most impressive of the lot, PointCast, dominated the desktop with a free screensaver and personal information delivery broadcast system. Many companies have followed in the wake, most notably Marimba, BackWeb, Intermind, Arrive and After Dark Online. In the access industry, telephone companies (Sprint, AT&T and MCI) battled against Internet service providers (UUNet and NetCom) and online services (AOL, Prodigy and Compuserve) for market share. The industry experienced fluctuating pricing, most abandoning hourly rates for flat fees. The browser market, dominated by Netscape, saw Microsoft play catch-up in a matter of months with Internet Explorer. The feature war generated buggy, but technologically savvy software. Embedded within the browser war is the Java/ActiveX ordeal. Microsoft is pushing their rehashed VisualBasic technology in ActiveX, while Sun and Netscape push Java as the industry standard. In the security arena, hackers scored big points in the fear category by hacking the Department of Defense and CIA Web pages. Industry experts also revealed security flaws in many servers as well as a new technique called "Web spoofing" which could result in the theft of valuable information, including credit card numbers.
http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,6515,00.html

*Next Year Online
1997 will offer many new products and services. While most of these products and services will come from key industry players like Microsoft and Netscape, a select group of start-ups will see success similar to that of PointCast. The most successful companies will focus on meeting basic needs of Internet users: access, security and control over the desktop interface. Major players in the access arena, including MSN, AOL and AT&T will battle over pricing. The winner will likely hold onto the $19.95 unlimited access pricing model. ISPs and online services may attempt to unify under a tiered pricing model for access. Their attempts may be thwarted by user backlash at the cable TV pricing model. In the security arena, the scare over information compromise will lead to a rash of detection software and security consultants. The use of online transactions for goods and services will continue to populate headlines. The battle over content value vs. price will rage on, as the Internet’s "free information" foundation will be shaken by online publishers. The number of online transactions will increase next year, yet lack of consumer confidence will restrain the market for the next few years. The control over the desktop will continue to be led by Microsoft and Netscape. The "Active Desktop" metaphor will soon become reality with the help of start-ups following the PointCast and Arrive delivery model. The winners will successfully implement Java and ActiveX in an interactive, highly graphical interface. Bandwidth, while currently a hot topic, will increase in importance as the net continues to grow at breakneck speed. Business users will demand guaranteed bandwidth from their ISPs, and will be willing to pay a premium for it. As the noise increases online, companies creating an online presence will demand marketing services from their Web developers, ad agencies and PR agencies. "Cyberagencies" will increase in size and popularity as the single solution for online communications.

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