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MS tests Games-on-Tap in Sweden

Under a business model similar to the red-hot application service provider (ASP) market for corporate users, Microsoft and Telia have launched a new service that will let consumers hooked up to the Swedish carrier's broadband Internet service rent Microsoft games and applications.

The new service, called Telia Games on Demand, marks the first time Microsoft has offered home users the chance to rent, rather than buy, its software, Microsoft officials said.

But the vendor currently has no definitive plans to introduce online application renting for consumers outside Sweden, said Charlotte Laveson, a spokesperson at Microsoft Sweden. The trial with Telia will be evaluated after six months, she added.

In addition to games, Microsoft also plans to offer other software, such as encyclopedias and digital imaging applications, over the Telia Games on Demand service, gradually expanding the range of the software offerings, said Pierre Svensson, sales manager at Microsoft Sweden.

When ordered over Telia's broadband network, the Microsoft applications will be pushed to a user's home via streaming media technologies, the companies said.

CompUSA shuts down cozone.com

US computer reseller CompUSA has closed its retail focused cozone.com Web site due to slow sales.

In a recent announcement, the Dallas-based company said it's embarking on a new e-commerce strategy. A posting at www.cozone.com said the site has been integrated with the CompUSA site.

The move was prompted by poor sales at cozone.com during the holiday season, a company spokesperson said. In its most recent statement of earnings, CompUSA said sales at cozone.com were below expectations and the company was re-evaluating its e-commerce strategy.

The separate Web site never caught on with consumers, and company officials decided to try to capitalise on CompUSA's high name recognition, the spokesperson said, adding "we just felt it was better to build on that instead of trying to develop a separate site".

According to CompUSA President and CEO James Halpin, the CompUSA.com site offers a better integration of its in-store and e-commerce products and services and will let customers "make purchases in whatever combination of retail and online they prefer".


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