IBM SLAPS SUN FOR OLYMPICS AD

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Sun Microsystems tried to turn ambush marketing on the Internet into an Olympian event, but got burned in the process.

The computer workstation marketer spotted a chance to capitalize on interest in immediate results from the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer. So Sun set up a computer server in Norway, arranged for a news service to post scores and other Olympics reports and connected the server to the Internet.

On the first day, Internet users checked the board some 3,000 times, seeing the Sun name prominently displayed when they signed on. By the third day, the service was accessed 83,000 times.

But IBM Corp., an official Olympics sponsor, was less than enthralled by its rival's Internet venue, and within four days of the start of the promotion asked Sun's news service partner to remove the Sun name from the online service. Sun agreed to the change.

"We did as a prudent measure take our name off the initial screen as a sponsor ... for legal reasons," a Sun spokesman said.

Sun is now using the Internet for other commercial purposes, including an online repository of text, graphics and photos about Sun products.

"There is no doubt about it, the Internet is becoming commercialized," the spokesman said.

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