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Acorn Group and Apple Computer Dedicate Joint Venture to Transform IT in UK Education

- New Company formed to drive IT solutions and policy in UK Education market

Cambridge, UK - 13th February 1996 - Acorn Group and Apple Computer UK today announce a new joint venture company aimed at developing information technology solutions for the UK education market and dedicated to transforming the UK‘s approach to IT in education. The agreement will result in the setting up of a new company which will aim to provide the widest choice of educational IT solutions for UK schools. Operational from early April, the new company‘s name and exact structure will be announced prior to commencing operations.

The UK joint venture is part of a broader alliance between Olivetti Telemedia and Apple Computer, with the mission to stimulate, develop and provide comprehensive IT solutions for the current and future requirements of the European education system. The alliance intends to support the education recommendations of a report presented by the G7 working group chaired by Olivetti‘s Carlo De Benedetti and supported by Apple Europe‘s President Marco Landi.

The report states: ”Governments must give priority to education and training as strategic vehicles to create opportunities for all citizens and to create a critical demand level for all applications•. The alliance between Olivetti Telemedia and Apple Computer expects to adopt Mac OS as the underlying technology architecture for these solutions - and as part of the agreement Olivetti has licensed Mac OS technology from Apple Computer Inc.

New Company based in Cambridge UK

The new company will begin trading in early April and will be headed by Brendan O‘Sullivan a 10 year Apple Computer veteran. Previously Brendan O‘Sullivan was Managing Director of Apple Computer Ireland. The new company will be jointly owned by Acorn Group and Apple Computer UK. Acorn‘s Managing Director, David Lee, will be the Chairman of the board.

Brendan O‘Sullivan said, "Acorn and Apple share a similar vision and commitment to the education market. Acorn and Apple‘s heritage in education means that our education customers, software developers, and reseller partners can expect increased investment in sales, marketing and solutions from the new joint venture company. The political consensus that is beginning to form around the need for integrating technology in learning means that the new company is ideally placed to advise, influence and deliver on government initiatives in UK education."

New Company Commits to PowerPC Platform & RISC OS products

The new company will sell Acorn's award winning Risc PC, A7000, Pocket Book, Network Computers, school administration and SchoolServer products - under the Acorn brand. In addition, it will sell Apple's award winning Power Macintosh, Performa, PowerBook notebooks, Workgroup Servers, Imaging and Newton products - under the Apple brand. A priority of the new venture is to bring out products and technologies which increase the inter-operability of RISC OS and Apple technology.

Over time the new company expects to adopt the PowerPC platform, the agreed hardware standard between IBM, Apple Computer and Motorola, to develop next generation personal computers - based on the powerful PowerPC microprocessor architecture. (Acorn has previously announced its intention to develop products which support the PowerPC platform standard). From early April, products from Acorn and Apple will be available from the joint venture company. Acorn Education‘s customers will be able to purchase Acorn RISC OS and other education solutions through the normal channels until the new venture is operational. Similarly Apple Computer UK will continue to support its education customers until the new company is up and running.

David Lee, Managing Director, Acorn Group, said: "This joint venture creates a major new force which will take educational IT in the UK into a new generation of development. The new company will provide a planned migration path, enabling users to make a smooth and logical transition from current to future technologies. Consequently, schools may continue to purchase Acorn or Apple systems as best suits them, and will be able to incorporate new generation systems alongside their existing IT provision, confident in the knowledge that they are making a sound investment in the future of educational IT."

Nigel Turner, Director New Media and Education, Apple Computer Europe, comments, "Apple and Acorn customers in education have a bright future of powerful, tailored curriculum solutions ahead of them. This agreement with Acorn is part of Apple's strategy to reinvent the way it does business and focus on growing markets that can deliver customers secure future technology investments. This is an aggressive move by the partners to ensure that educationalists and government exploit the huge potential of technology in learning".

New Company Appoints Agencies and Sells Direct

The new company will appoint agencies to sell its products and will supply direct to schools. Acorn Education's existing agencies and Apple Computer UK resellers, specialising in the schools market, will be invited to apply to become agencies for the new company. Initial examination suggests that the strengths of each company‘s sales channels are very complementary. Because of Stock Exchange regulations agencies and resellers were informed of the agreement shortly after Acorn released the news to the London Stock Exchange earlier this morning.

New Opportunities for UK Software Developers

Apple‘s strength in education worldwide provides Acorn's UK software developers with a expanded market for their education software products. Acorn developers will also be encouraged to port their RISC OS software products to Mac OS to provide a wide cross-platform software base. The new company will help them develop their products to the Mac OS platform and the emerging technologies connecting to the information superhighway. Apple's dominant position in USA K-12 (kindergarten to 12 grade) market provides UK software developers with a huge potential market for innovative education software.

New Venture Caps Joint History of Collaboration between Apple and Acorn

Apple Computer and Acorn Group have successfully collaborated on new technology ventures in the past. In November 1990 the advanced research and development team of Acorn Computers Ltd was spun out to form the independent company, Advanced RISC Machines Limited (ARM), to design, license and market fast, inexpensive and efficient RISC processors and other enabling technology. Acorn Group and Apple Computer Inc each maintain a 43% shareholding in ARM. Acorn uses ARM chips in a wide range of products including desktops and set-top boxes. Apple utilises ARM processors in its Newton family of personal digital assistants (PDAs).

Acorn Group (58% owned by Olivetti Telemedia) is one of the leading groups of high technology innovators and suppliers and comprises four divisions: Acorn Education, Acorn Risc Technologies, Acorn Network Computing, and Acorn Online Media. The Group also owns a 43% shareholding of Advanced RISC Machines Ltd (ARM).

Acorn Education supplies leading information technology solutions including hardware, software, services and peripherals. The division's business and assets will be transferred to the joint venture.

Acorn Risc Technologies designs and develops advanced technology products based on the ARM microprocessor. The division will support existing RISC OS products for the educational joint venture and develop products to support the strategy for the migration to future technologies.

Acorn Online Media focuses on the sales and marketing of products, services and licenses which exploit emerging world standards in interactive multimedia, from Internet to broadband digital iTV.

Acorn Network Computing was established in February 1996 to develop designs for a range of network computing products.

Apple Computer, Inc., a recognised pioneer and innovator in the information industry, creates powerful solutions based on easy-to-use personal computers, servers, peripherals, software, online services and personal digital assistants. Headquartered in Cupertino, California, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) develops, manufactures, licenses and markets products, technologies and services for the business, education, consumer, scientific & engineering and government markets in over 140 countries.

Apple's home page on the World Wide Web: http://www.apple.com/
Acorn's home page on the World Wide Web: http://www.acorn.co.uk/

Apple Computer, Inc Apple, the Apple logo, and Macintosh are registered trade marks of Apple Computer, Inc. QuickDraw and Mac OS are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc. PowerPC is a trademark of International Business Machines and used under license therefrom. All other brand names mentioned are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders, and are hereby acknowledged. Acorn and the Acorn device, Om and the Om device, Acorn Risc Technologies and the ART device, are trademarks or registered trademarks of Acorn Group plc.

The above is a Press release from Acorn Computers Limited, 13/2/96.