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Jewish World Review April 27, 2001 / 5 Iyar, 5761

Silvia Cavallini

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Consumer Reports

One platform for all electronics -- STEVE PERLMAN wants it all and hopes we will, too.

In his cabin in Lake Tahoe, Calif., the creator of WebTV marries rustic surroundings with a touch pad that controls all of the entertainment inside. In his Silicon Valley home, he pipes half a dozen operating platforms to his computers. He likes high tech, and he likes it to be easy.

The touch pad prevents "the hassle of cables and remote controls," says the 40-year-old entrepreneur who sold his previous company, WebTV, to Microsoft for $425 million in 1997. "It does everything."

Perlman is betting that consumers will want a product that does everything, as well. His newest venture, Rearden Steel Technologies, aims to bring consumers a single platform to do what he cryptically describes as "stuff in the home entertainment space."

Perlman is not alone in his gamble. Rearden Steel Technologies announced it had secured $67 million from a clutch of heavyweight investors. They include router giant Cisco Systems, satellite company Echostar Communications, Mayfield venture capital and the Washington Post Co.

Perlman is keeping details of the product close to the vest. He says it will marry technology and communications. Beyond that, he's coy. He doesn't know when the product will be launched or what features it will carry. But he is sure that it will eventually be marketed globally.

"It's a home entertainment system and unlike a pager or a cell phone it's something almost every age group can use, every American," he said. "We cannot say much about it yet because we are not sure what features will make it to the first release."

Silvia Cavallini writes for The Industry Standard. Comment by clicking here.


© 2001, SHNS