APPLE MAKES AN OLYMPICS PLAY

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Apple computer is setting up an ad-supported Web site tied to the Olympics. But it's not, the marketer stresses, an official Olympics site.

Competitor IBM Corp. paid $40 million to be the official worldwide information technology sponsor of the 1996 Summer Olympics and has developed a comprehensive official Olympics Web site (http://www.olympic.org). So Apple, not an Olympics sponsor, is going to great lengths to say it's not ambushing IBM.

`STEERING AWAY FROM THE GAMES'

"We're steering away from the Games themselves," said Nora Kim, producer of Apple's site.

The site will showcase entertainment, cultural events and other goings-on in Atlanta. Apple is talking with TV and print media companies about being partners in the "Webcast."

"You can cover the Olympics without covering the Games," said Steve Franzese, Apple senior director of new-media operations. For example, he said, Apple may ask, "what do the Cuban boxers think of food in Atlanta, what do they think of the Romanian gymnasts?" but it won't post scores.

NO PROBLEM FROM IBM

IBM has no problems with Apple setting up a site around the Olympics, a spokesman said.

"The Internet is the open forum for information," he said. IBM would draw the line if anyone else claimed to have an "official" Olympic site, he said, but Apple is making no such claims.

Apple drew attention early this year with its behind-the-scenes Webcast at the Grammys, an effort to associate Apple with entertainment and the Internet (http://www.grammys.apple.com).

The company also will cover a United Nations-backed conference next month in Istanbul.

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