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Company Predicts Coca-Cola, Others, Will Buy Into Concept

PITTSBURGH, PENN. ( — Following what it called the "logical migration" of its offline products onto the Internet, Alcoa today unveiled Eluminum®, the world's first "entirely Web-based metal."

Analysts, however, quickly refuted claims by the nation's largest aluminum producer that it is now a "major Internet player."

"What the hell is a 'Web-based metal?'" said Warburg Pincus mining analyst Morton Fendelsohm. "If it exists only on the Web, then you can't do anything with it. It's useless."

Possible Eluminum Uses on the Web

"People said the same thing about the Eiffel Tower," countered Alcoa CEO Alain J. Belda.

Eluminum, Belda said at a press conference, has all the positive qualities of aluminum, but is only available on the Web. As a result, he claimed, it will never wear, tear, break or discolor. In addition, customers wishing to use Eluminum to build their own Web-only products will be able to download the metal 24/7 through Alcoa's Web site.

As an example of a potential customer, Alcoa cited Coca-Cola, a major offline aluminum consumer, but one Alcoa has ignored online.

"They've built up an impressive Web presence, a site displaying literally hundreds of Coca-Cola cans," said Jack Rimm, president of Alcoa's new Web Metals Group. "Eluminum can be used in the manufacture of each one of those Web-based containers."

However, a Coca-Cola spokesman in Atlanta said the company was unaware of Alcoa's announcement, and "baffled" by its assertion that Coke cans on its site could be constructed with Eluminum.

"Those cans, they're just, you know, pictures," said spokesman Bradley Clark. "We don't need aluminum, or Eluminum, or whatever. Is this a joke?"

"People said the same thing about Post-Modernism," Belda retorted.

Belda conceded Eluminum would be a "hard concept for some to grasp," but insisted its relatively low cost would ease customer apprehension. The product is expected to sell for $1,200 the metric tonne, about 25 percent lower than aluminum, but one that still promises "impressive" gross margins, he said. Eluminum can be replicated with the click of a mouse, while alumina -- the basis for aluminum -- is one of the more difficult metallic elements to mine.

Several industry observers, however, questioned whether anyone would actually buy Eluminum.

"People said the same thing about the Pocket Fisherman," Belda responded.

Rimm said he expects other metals producers to follow Alcoa's lead, although he argued aluminum's light weight and flexibility make it the most attractive real-world-to-Web metal. He refused, however, to answer the question, "What are you talking about?" Belda added that several major durable goods companies are tracking Eluminum's success, and predicted the product will eventually be used in the construction of online appliances, automobiles, and camping equipment.

"Eluminum positions Alcoa to participate fully in the growth of the Internet," said Belda. "It's the new metal for a new age."

In another first for the metals industry, Alcoa also revealed that its new product was entirely concocted in the company's marketing department.


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