New Apple Online Shop is Five Months Away from Europe, Japan

Apple's announcement at the start of the week that it is about to start selling systems over the Internet--to US customers only at this stage--has left European journalists who travelled to the US to hear the news wondering why they bothered. They speculate Apple had originally planned to tell them of a network computer deal with Oracle, but that a last-minute hitch stopped the deal going through.

Apple Computer's new online store is open for business to customers in North America only, and won't serve other regions for another five months, officials say.

Members of the European press were disappointed to learn that they travelled to the United States for a big splashy Apple announcement that affects only North American customers.

The online store will be ready for Europe around April 1, says Diego Piacentini, general manager of Apple Computer Europe. It will not be launched in all the countries at once, he says.

Meanwhile, Apple's new Power Macintosh G3 systems, also announced at the start of the week, will ship in major European markets in the second week of December, according to Piacentini. Apple has not said when its online store will open in Japan, or when the G3 systems will ship there.

International journalists wondered where the news was.

Motorola and IBM already have been broadly releasing the 750 PowerPC processor, what Apple calls the G3, one reporter noted. "Are we supposed to tell our readers the products they can order from Dell online now they can order online from Apple in five months?" he asked.

Many reporters were expecting an announcement Apple was rumoured to make about a network computer (NC) partnership with Oracle. One journalist asked about reports that the alleged deal hit a snag over the weekend.

Piacentini says Apple was making the announcements it had planned to make all along and refused to comment on the reports.

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