WITH IBM LOOKING STERNLY over their shoulders, two feuding factions agreed on an important standard for the next-generation compact disk. It will use the optical format proposed by Toshiba and partner Time Warner and a recording scheme from Sony and Philips Electronics, ensuring that future players can handle today's audio CDs and computer CD-ROMs. Although promoted as the way to get consumers to buy movies on disk, the yet-unnamed product more likely will find its initial use in the fiercely competitive home computer business for multimedia game and "edutainment" software.

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