A Multimedia Coming Out Party For Microsoft And Its Pals

The promise of making personal computing as lively as television comes one step closer to reality on Oct. 8. That's when a big "multimedia" coming-out party is scheduled in New York. At least nine computer makers and 60 software companies are expected to show products that blend the computing power of a PC with the razzle-dazzle of video, animation, and sound. All these companies are supporting Microsoft Corp.'s multimedia format, called MPC, which will soon be included with its popular Windows graphics software. The MPC format will compete with a rival format supported by IBM and Apple Computer Inc.

Among the new products scheduled for introduction at the show are five multimedia computers, priced from $2,799 to $5,499, from Tandy Corp., as well as hardware from Philips Consumer Electronics and NEC Technologies Inc. The real glitz, however, may be in new software. Microsoft, for example, will sell "Multimedia Beethoven: The Ninth Symphony." The $79.95 compact disk lets you listen to any section while you analyze the four movements--or read about what was happening in Beethoven's life when he wrote it.

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