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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Fujitsu Launches WebTV Terminals, Corporate System Development
  • February 25, 1999 (TOKYO) — Fujitsu Ltd. announced that it started marketing a WebTV Internet terminal for the WebTV Internet access service provided by WebTV Networks K.K. of Japan.
    Also, Fujitsu announced its “WebTV system development service” for deploying WebTV for business purposes. The terminals, together with the system development service, are targeted at companies and public institutions as a total package.

    The terminals are priced at 55,000 yen (US$460). System development work will be priced on a case-by-case basis, Fujitsu said.

    The WebTV service enables users to access the Internet through a television set. It began in February 1996 in the United States and in December 1997 in Japan. Until recently, Sony Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. were the only vendors offering terminals for WebTV in Japan.

    Fujitsu’s product is built to similar specifications as the Matsushita set-top box, which was designed for the new WebTV Plus service that began on Dec. 1, 1998.

    The Tokyo-based electronics company said its terminal features a built-in 56kbps modem and a Web browser. The user connects the terminal between a television set and a phone line. Also, the terminal has video/audio output functions and it supports smart cards for user authentication, Fujitsu said.

    Fujitsu’s WebTV system development service mostly comprises the design and implementation of a Web server system that can be accessed from WebTV terminals. The electronics company said that such a system could be used by retailers and distributors for handling orders and supplies, by schools for communicating with students’ homes, and by organizations that provide information to members.

    According to Fujitsu, users can save on system construction costs if they opt for low-cost terminals designed solely for accessing the Internet, instead of using regular personal computers.

    Fujitsu’s sales targets are 50 cases of system development and 50,000 terminals in the first year, and 2,000 systems and 200,000 terminals over three years, the company said.

    It possesses a 25 percent stake in WebTV Networks K.K., which is capitalized at 4.2 billion yen. Fujitsu has already embarked on other initiatives, such as setting up an operation center and billing system, for WebTV Networks.

    Related stories:
    Matsushita Introduces Set-Top Box for New WebTV Service
    Fujitsu to Invest 2.4 Bln Yen in WebTV’s Japan Unit

    (BizTech News Dept.)

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