Sony pulls plug on Net appliance

CIOL Bureau
New Update

SAN FRANCISCO: Sony Corp. announced it has pulled the plug on its e Villa

Internet appliance, marking the latest major failure to carve a niche in the PC

market for a cheap email and net-surfing platform.


Sony, an electronics giant, discontinued the product on August 30 and is

offering to buy back the roughly $500 machines and refund costs linked to the

dedicated online service, which will end on September 13, Sony said on its web site.

Sony joins 3Com Corp., the inventor of the Palm Pilot, which abandoned its

Audrey net device in March when sales lagged expectations among high-profile

electronics firms failing to crack the Internet appliance market.

Many reviewers were pressed to recommend a device that had less functionality

than only slightly more expensive personal computers, whose makers are slashing

prices to gain ground in the shrinking market.

Sony also faced a more practical problem with the future of the e Villa

operating system, developed by Be Inc. Be Inc. said earlier this month that it

would liquidate after selling assets and technology to Palm. But Palm said it

did not plan to take on the e Villa license. Sony had introduced the short-lived

e Villa earlier this summer. Officials were not available immediately for


(C) Reuters Limited 2001.