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Kinko’s, AOL Form Alliance

Kinko’s, Ventura, CA, and America Online Inc. said yesterday that they have entered a strategic alliance. The companies plan to create tailored Internet and document solutions for small businesses and other consumers, provide AOL with a major in-store retail presence as Kinko’s exclusive online service offering, and feature Kinko’s across several America Online brands.

Kinko’s and AOL plan to create a co-branded online destination for AOL members, as well as the 100 million small businesses, small office/home office consumers, students and families who visit Kinko’s stores nationwide.

Under the multimillion-dollar, five-year agreement, both companies immediately will develop and launch in-store Internet Solutions Centers, where AOL products and services will be prominently featured. The centers will provide computers featuring AOL interactive services, including access to the Internet through AOL. The centers also will offer AOL software, and the companies plan to develop and offer in-store registration at the centers.

In addition, AOL plans to make Kinko’s print driver available on AOL CD-ROMs to be distributed in Kinko’s stores. The new print driver will allow customers to print documents at Kinko’s directly from their desktops.

“This strategic alliance is a natural fit that will enable us together to develop and offer a full range of Internet and document solutions to small businesses and other consumers,” said Joe Hardin, CEO of Kinko’s. “Now all of our customers will have convenient and easy access to our critical services both online and offline.”

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