HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE AT THE COMDEX SHOW

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A reporter's-eye view of the 190,000-person Comdex/Fall show in Las Vegas.

They're there: "Where do you want to go today?" Microsoft asked, plastering Comdex with its new ad theme. How about going to Intel, whose convention slogan was, "It takes you there"? IBM, meanwhile, noted with its new corporate theme, "There is a difference." But a lesser-known computer parts maker, AMP, promised to "Get there first."

Get the message: Ted Forstmann, owner-to-be of Ziff-Davis Publishing Co., drew cheers at Ziff's pre-Comdex sales meeting when he said he hadn't bothered to return a call from a competitor. Ziff insiders figure the caller was International Data Group inquiring about buying some Ziff titles. Mr. Forstmann jetted off for a board meeting at airplane maker Gulfstream before Comdex even began.

Justice, injustice: Microsoft Chairman-CEO Bill Gates was pummeled by the press with questions about antitrust matters relating to the Microsoft Network and the company's pending buyout of financial software leader Intuit. Mr. Gates shot down the claims, and Microsoft executives showed no interest in altering their hypercompetitive drive. But the antitrust issue shows no sign of going away.

Apple, too: Bill Gates' entertaining video vision of computing life in the year 2005 seemed like a sequel to a video that ex-Apple Chairman John Sculley produced during his visionary period in the late '80s. It turns out some of the people behind Mr. Gates' video, including director Daniel Pinkham, helped create Mr. Sculley's vision statement. Microsoft is selling its 60-minute video for $9.95. If the computer gig doesn't work, Mr. Gates might have a future as a Hollywood mogul.

Warp speed: Microsoft unveiled point-and-click access to the trendy Internet through a free add-on to its Word for Windows word processor. Some observers read that as a quick response to IBM's heavily promoted OS/2 Warp operating system, which got a jump on giving consumers easy Internet access.

Yet another online service: Merisel, the El Segundo, Calif.-based computer hardware and software distributor, is connecting its resellers and manufacturers with a new online service, SELline. The online network, due out in first quarter 1995, will provide product information, price lists, e-mail, education and support, downloadable product spec sheets and demos, and special product announcements.

Net gains: Marketers seeking advice on going on the Internet may get some help. IBM is considering offering consulting services on how companies can use the grand network of networks, says Kevin Clark, program director-communications in IBM's Networked Application Services Division. Mr. Clark recognizes that many non-techies want to get their companies surfing on the 'net. "It's a concept that everybody wants, but nobody knows what it is," he says.

Perfect score: January marks the 20th anniversary of a PC gracing the cover of a Ziff magazine, Ziff Chairman Eric Hippeau noted. Back then, Popular Electronics profiled an early computer sold in kit form, the Altair. Who wrote the software for that computer? A 19-year-old named Bill Gates.

James G. Kimball contributed to this story.

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