Windows Shopping At The Touch Of A Keyboard

Shopping for some new software? Want to know where to get the best deal? You could spend hours squinting at the fine-print ads in magazines such as Computer Shopper and Byte. Or you could stick the Ultimate Computer Software Buyer's Guide in your PC, type in a keyword or the desired program's name, and instantly get price comparisons from up to 40 mail-order houses. For example, the guide lists two outlets that offer Microsoft Word for Windows at $305; elsewhere, you could spend as much as $349. And the spread for Lotus 1-2-3 (version 2.2) ranges from $319 to $395.

Compiled by Lilac Akiko Ltd., a Palm Springs (Calif.) startup, the guide is hardly exhaustive. Last month's edition, for example, lists only 1,300 programs--a fraction of the PC software out there. Still, that's double the number of titles on the inaugural disk in June, and the list keeps growing. If you buy a lot of software, the guide looks like a bargain: $5 for the latest edition, or $25 for a six-month subscription.

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