Mass market and consumer technologies and strategies for retailersHarvey Norman places massive Win 98 order with Tech Pacby Gerard NorsaSYDNEY - Harvey Norman has placed a $5.5 million, 35,000 copy advance distribution order for Windows 98 with Tech Pacific in preparation for the wave of customer interest following its release this week.

The order coincides with saturation media coverage conducted by Harvey Norman this month to publicise its "Deal of the Decade" promotion that will see Windows 98 sold throughout the retailer's 21 Sydney and Melbourne stores from midnight Wednesday June 24 until late the next day.

Windows 98, scheduled to be launched worldwide on June 25, after controversial delays caused by a US government investigation into Microsoft, is perhaps the most widely publicised and debated software product ever.

According to Harvey Norman group computer controller Tony Gattari: "While this midnight launch may not be quite as hysterical as the Windows 95 launch, it will still be the biggest event in computer retailing for several years."

He said the arrival of this upgrade from Microsoft will have a positive effect on the whole industry for months to come. "Back in 1995, there were just 1.3 million computers around and only 22 per cent of them were capable of having Windows 95 installed," said Gattari.

"Today, there are more than 2.4 million PCs out there with 53 per cent of them being capable of installing Windows 98. While the technology leap from Windows 95 to Windows 98 may not be as dramatic, we have a far bigger market to sell to."

As an added incentive to the average punter, participating Harvey Norman stores are offering giveaways and a "bonus pack" of software products totalling $724 in value to the first 5000 customers to purchase Windows 98 at the RRP of $159.

There is also an exclusive "Club 98" that entitles members to buy selected printers, modems, scanners, memory and PC software at $98.

Meanwhile, ARN can report that Harvey Norman Computerstores is reviewing its mobile phone business with a view to upgrading and revitalising the department. Given that mobile communications are changing so rapidly, Gattari said Harvey Norman needed a review if it wanted to be a much bigger player in the game.

"We have invited all suppliers to present their company, its services and products to us as well as a business proposal that will contribute to our goal of reaching 50,000 connections during the 12 months from July 1, 1998," he said.

Retailers to offer MS Value Pack

SYDNEY - Microsoft has introduced a package deal that offers many of its popular software packages as well as comprehensive antivirus protection from Norton in a single upgrade bundle for Windows 95 and NT users. Pricing and content ensure this will be a relatively attractive deal to small business and family users. The Value Pack carries an RRP of $649 and includes: Office 97 Professional Edition Upgrade, Microsoft Publisher 98, Microsoft Encarta 98 World Atlas, Microsoft Greetings Workshop Deluxe v 2.0, Microsoft Money 98, Microsoft Intellimouse, Microsoft Interactive CD Sampler and Symantec's Norton Antivirus 4.0 Gold Edition. by Gerard NorsaMicrosoftTel 13 2058ÊFax (02) 9870 2466Digital cameras emerge as a serious toolby Gerard NorsaSYDNEY - You may have to compete against camera stores as well as your fellow computer retailers with this product, but the rise of digital cameras as a modern tool for home, business and professional photographic users is worthy of close attention.

Kodak Australia has introduced two new models to its range including a claimed first for 1.6 million pixels of resolution at less than $2500 and dramatically improved picture transfer speeds.

According to Patrick Turner, Kodak's Asia-Pacifc marketing manager, digital and applied imaging: "Photographers can now control the images much better, opening up all sorts of just-in-time and catalogue-type applications which take digital cameras to a new level."

Bearing the moniker Digital Science DC220 and DC260, the new cameras employ a Motorola PowerPC 800 series processor for faster image processing and use Universal Serial Bus (USB) interfaces for faster image downloading.

In addition to the standard digital zoom capability, the DC220 and DC260 also boast either 2x or 3x optical zoom characteristics similar to those on traditional cameras. There is also a burst feature for sequential pictures, a time lapse mode, audio record and playback to accompany photos, scripting capabilities, orientation sensors, custom software for storing, sharing digital images and an 8MB picture card which works like a reusable digital roll of film.

The DC220 and the DC260 will be available to computer resellers and retailers in July with estimated street prices of $1999 and $2449 respectively.


Tel 1800 674 831ÊFax (03) 9353 2940

What's in a name for Toys-R-Us?

by Gerard Norsa

SYDNEY - Toys-R-Us, the huge toy retailer, is asking its target audience to come up with a catchy name for new electronics departments soon to be integrated into stores across the nation.

The departments will be dedicated to stocking a wide range of the latest game units, accessories and software products that are extremely popular with today's computer- literate youth market.

A spokesperson for Toys-R-Us told ARN a lot of people have the impression that the stores are only for toddlers' toys and that the electronics concept will get a new, slightly older clientele coming through the door.

Having been successfully trialled in the US as well as in three Australian test stores, the departments' name will be decided through a four week competition over a national youth radio network, which is inviting listeners to come up with suggestions.

Drop me a line

ARN's Retail Solutions section is both about the channel's retailers and for the channel's retailers. Drop me a line at with any news leads you want followed up, opinions you feel are important to retailers, and/or any ideas for stories you feel are relevant to, or of interest to Australia's computer retailers.

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