David Vs. Goliaths On The Infobahn

In a way, the Information Superhighway has existed for Corporate America for years. On-line services such as Mead Data Central's Nexis, Knight-Ridder's Dialog, and Dow Jones's Business Information Services have been pumping out the data on customers, competitors, and markets that businesses prize. The problem is, the Highway has been an expensive toll road--typically $100 or more per hour--that ends abruptly at a corporation's library or "information center" because these services are often too complex for ordinary managers to use. The result: While revenues of consumer on-line networks is soaring at 26% this year, the $950 million market for business services is growing less than 10% annually, says Simba Information Inc. in Wilton, Conn.

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