U.S. WEST'S RETAIL OUTPOST: U.S. West has established a new company, Interactive Video Enterprises, that will plunge it into electronic retailing.
"We're not just a phone company," said Andrew Orgel, one of IVE's two chief operating officers. "U.S. West is a $10 billion company that has brought buyers and sellers together through the White and Yellow Pages."
IVE's other chief operating officer is Kenneth Randolph, a founder of Interactive Network.
"We've made some significant commitments to the distribution channels of the information superhighway both within our service areas with broadband networks, and outside our territory with Time Warner," Orgel added. "We're clearly a heavy hitter as far as distribution."
IVE is developing applications for the interactive services U.S. West will offer.
The company says it has had meetings with 90 retailers, manufacturers, local merchants and service agencies, but Orgel declined to reveal names because agreements are still pending.
The new company, which will be headquartered in San Francisco, plans to announce retail and service participants in about 90 days, Orgel said.
ANOTHER PASS AT EN PASSANT: Although results of En Passant, a CD-ROM experiment featuring merchandise from 21 catalogs, were lackluster according to two participants, its organizers are planning a second test.
En Passant, a joint venture of Apple Computer, EDS and Redgate Communications Corp., involved sending a compact disc to 30,000 owners of Macintosh CD-ROM disc drives.
Tiffany & Co. and Neiman Marcus, which sold their goods on En Passant said the test generated paltry revenues.
"From the objective of learning how to use CD-Rom we were pleased with the results," said Diana Lyne, senior vice president of marketing at Tiffany & Co. "From a sales perspective we were not overwhelmed."
Tiffany's bestseller was a set of $98 silver cross-stitch earrings. the highest-priced item sold was a $498 pearl and diamond brooch.
"The result from our perspective are inconsequential. It was more to make sure the system works," said Bernie Feiwus, president and chief executive officer of NM Direct, the mail order division of Neiman Marcus Group. NM Direct sold selections from its Horchow Collection and Pastilles catalogs on the disk.
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