Computer User Services

from Internet Business

Users of the Internet and other information services are almost all active users of computers for other purposes. These divide into two major segments-computers running the Unix operating system in which Internet connectivity comes with the system and personal computers[1] for which Internet connectivity is available as a minimal cost extra. In both segments, there are opportunities for specialised Internet services aimed at computer users.

Net-based retailing of computer hardware, software, services and accessories is well ahead of more general Net-based Retailing of Goods and Services. However, even this specialised retailing has had to largely wait on the development of such services as secure transaction processing before it could be expected to really take off. With such services now coming online, it is expected that the retailing of computer-related products and services will develop more rapidly than will other areas of Net-based retailing.

Computer vendors are increasingly turning to the Internet for the cost-effective delivery of user support. There are also strong trends for users to be required to pay for any support over and beyond whatever is provided as part of a product guarantee, and for texts published by independent authors to become the standard references for users of computer software, in preference to any manuals provided with the software. There is therefore likely to be an opportunity for independent software support organisations to make a living by offering better/cheaper support for popular products over the Net.

Another potential Net-based service for computer users is secure remote backup of critical data. Few personal computer users ever get around to organising their own off-site backup until after they find out the cost of not doing so, but such a service may be able to be offered over the Internet which is affordable both in terms of money and convenience. The major cost to entering such a business would be that of demonstrating the complete security, confidentiality and long term recoverability of the remote archives. The actual service could be provided as an adjunct to two linked Host Services, preferably in different geographical areas.

[1] both Macintosh and Microsoft Windows varieties