By Elisa Williams, The Orange County Register, Calif. Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News

Mar. 28--Pacific Bell said Monday that it will make linking up to the Internet as simple as a local telephone call. The San Francisco-based telecommunications company outlined a plan in which it will offer links to the global computer network for businesses in May and dial-up access for residential customers by fall.

By adding a suite of Internet services, Pacific Bell joins a growing list of telecommunications companies that are providing Internet services for computer users. Also Monday, MCI unveiled a range of services, including nationwide dial-up access to the Internet and an electronic shopping area.

In the past year, GTE California has added specialized programs to help universities and libraries hook into the Internet.

Pacific Bell said that providing Internet access is a natural extension to its phone business as electronic mail becomes the communications venue of choice for many consumers and businesses.

``Certainly when it comes to the United States, California has the highest demand for these services,'' said Rick Hronicek, executive director of Pacific Bell's advanced communications services. ``Over 27 percent of the businesses attached to the Internet in the United States and Canada are in California.''

Pacific Bell is able to provide access to the Internet by forming alliances with computer hardware and software companies.

Among those involved with its program are Netscape Communications Corp., which makes software for navigating through the Internet, and Sun Microsystems Computer Co., which makes powerful computers that can store information and make it available to the estimated 30 million to 40 million consumers that use the Internet.

Pacific Bell anticipates that more businesses will use the Internet not only to communicate but to sell their wares. END!C$3?OC-PACIFIC-BELL

AP-NY-03-28-95 0831EST

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From NewsHound@sjmercury.com Tue Mar 28 18:23:46 1995 Received: from truelies.rs.itd.umich.edu by sils.umich.edu (8.6.8/2.0) id NAA09507; Tue, 28 Mar 1995 13:23:45 -0500 Received: by truelies.rs.itd.umich.edu (8.6.9/2.2) with X.500 id NAA00282; Tue, 28 Mar 1995 13:21:45 -0500 Received: from spyglass.sjmercury.com by truelies.rs.itd.umich.edu (8.6.9/2.2) with ESMTP id NAA00271; Tue, 28 Mar 1995 13:21:43 -0500 Received: by mailgate.sjmercury.com (8.6.8.1/San Jose Mercury News) id MAA29552; Tue, 28 Mar 1995 12:23:10 -0500 Date: Tue, 28 Mar 1995 12:23:10 -0500 From: NewsHound@sjmercury.com (NewsHound) Message-Id: <199503281723.MAA29552@mailgate.sjmercury.com> To: howardb@umich.edu Subject: [60] MONITOR SCREEN SIZE IS FOCUS OF LAWSUIT Status: RO X-Status:

Selected by your NewsHound profile entitled "COMPUTER". The selectivity score was 60 out of 100.

Monitor screen size is focus of lawsuit By DEAN TAKAHASHI

Mercury News Staff Writer

Take out your ruler or tape measure. Measure the diagonal width of your personal computer's screen, and you may get a surprise. A 14-inch monitor doesn't have 14 inches of viewable area on the screen.

Keith Long, a civilian electrician who worked at Castle Air Force Base in Merced County, noticed that too after he bought a PC and took it home. He complained to the store that sold it to him and to Packard Bell Electronics Inc., the manufacturer, and got nowhere.

``I basically got the runaround,'' said Long, who now lives in Arizona.

So Gordon Spencer, district attorney for Merced County, filed a civil lawsuit Monday in Superior Court against some of the biggest names in the personal computer industry for false advertising and unfair business practices. He asks for monetary relief for consumers.

Named in the suit are Acer, Apple Computer Inc., AST Research Inc., Daewoo, Dell Computer Corp., Goldstar, IBM, Leading Edge, NEC Technology, Packard Bell and Tandy Corp. These companies sold 14-inch monitors in Merced County that, on average, are actually 17 percent short of the advertised length, or about 11.6 inches.

Most of the companies could not be reached for comment.

Spencer, a Republican, said he is not anti-business. Rather, he contended that consumers are being fooled by the tactics of the monitor makers and the companies that sell them.

``There are some 14-inch monitors that deliver more viewable area than a 15-inch monitor that costs more,'' Spencer said. ``Whenever we tell someone and they pull out their ruler, they go `Geez!' ''

No monitor size law

Spencer says state law specifically prohibits false advertising for TV sets, which must measure up to the advertised length, such as 21 inches from one end of the screen to the other diagonally. But the law doesn't mention standards for computer monitors; it merely prohibits anyone from running false or misleading ads.

Jack Roberts, a monitor analyst at Dataquest Inc. in San Jose, said the industry has long had a practice of publishing the length of the glass for a monitor, which typically works out to the exact length advertised. Part of that glass is covered by the housing that covers the monitor, he said, making it seem like the viewable area is shorter.

The practice isn't deceptive as far as he is concerned because TVs are measured in much the same way. He also noted that it would be hard to talk about standard monitor types if the viewable area, which varies widely from monitor to monitor, were advertised. He said that the difference between the viewable area and the length of the glass is usually a clue about the quality of the screen; a larger viewable area signifies better quality.

`Consumer item'

``This is another case of how computers are becoming a consumer item instead of an exotic piece of technology used by trained people,'' Roberts said. ``I don't think it's an attempt to pull the wool over consumers' eyes.''

After receiving Long's complaint, Spencer's staff went out and measured the monitors advertised in stores in Merced County. The staff found that 17-inch monitors actually measured an average of 14.8 inches and 15-inch monitors only 12.2 inches.

Spencer also conducted a survey, and consumers generally responded that they thought the 14-inch advertised length on computer screens compared to the same standards for TV sets. IBM is one company that responded to the complaints by changing its ads, Spencer said.

``I'm not trying to be a jerk about it,'' Long said. ``I'm a firm believer in the idea that you get what you pay for.''

--Does this lawsuit raise a legitimate gripe? Discuss in Mercury Center. Use keyword: MC Talk, select Browse Boards, then Tech Talk. Or, choose Letters for Publication in the scrolling window.

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