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RealTime IT News

AOL, CompUSA Announce Alliance

Computer retailer CompUSA Inc. and America Online are forming a strategic marketing alliance that will offer AOL products and services to CompUSA shoppers nationwide, while providing CompUSA with a series of promotions across several AOL brands.

Under the agreement, CompUSA will create AOL displays in its 218 CompUSA Superstores nationwide, demonstrating a full range of AOL services to CompUSA shoppers, including AOL software, broadband solutions, and a variety of "AOL Anywhere" products such as wireless devices and networking appliances.

The Dulles, Va.-based AOL will be featured as CompUSA's preferred interactive service, and the parties plan to develop and offer in-store registration in the centers. CompUSA will also make special offers to new AOL members. As part of the agreement, CompUSA will promote AOL and the in-store offerings in its offline advertising programs and other promotional and marketing campaigns.

In addition, America Online will provide CompUSA branding and promotion across several of its interactive brands including AOL, AOL.com, CompuServe and Netscape.com, as well as Shop@ online shopping destinations. CompUSA online product categories that will be promoted include computers, digital cameras, electronic accessories and upgrades, and a variety of other products and devices. The AOL and CompuServe services currently total more than 32 million members and the company's Web-based brands attract tens of millions of additional users.

"CompUSA and AOL are brands that millions of Americans know and trust, and we are pleased to work with CompUSA in this new alliance," said Barry Schuler, AOL's chief executive officer (CEO). "This relationship provides us with a great opportunity to introduce CompUSA's millions of customers to all the benefits of AOL and the Internet, and by combining the strengths of our two strong consumer brands, we will make it even easier and more convenient for people to take full advantage of both CompUSA's and AOL's products and services."

CompUSA, Inc. currently operates 218 CompUSA stores in 84 major metropolitan markets across the United States that serve retail, corporate, government and education customers and includes technical service departments. Many of the stores also include classroom training facilities.

"The coupling of AOL's leadership in interactive services with CompUSA's strength in retail and customer service provides us both with opportunities to offer real value and convenience to our customers," said Hal Compton, CEO of CompUSA. "Working with AOL, we will be creating compelling new offerings for our customers, while bringing CompUSA's great selection of online merchandise to the millions of users of the America Online brands."

AOL is a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL Time Warner .