AltaVista refocuses on search engine business

"While many of these business decisions have been difficult, we are now in a position to unleash our search expertise with a clear, singular focus to penetrate every layer of the search market for both consumers and businesses," Rod Schrock, AltaVista chief executive officer and president, said in the statement.

AltaVista has major plans to invest heavily in Net search technology. Such investments include ramping up its outlay on the vertical search arena, notably AltaVista's Shopping.com information service, according to the company statement. AltaVista also plans to invest in what it terms a third-generation search service which will be capable of incorporating into a search query users' interests and the context of the query.

Additionally, the vendor has aggressive plans to grow its AltaVista Search Software Enterprise sales and support organisation four-fold by the end of the present fiscal year and to form an Information Marketing Services organisation offering in-context marketing services to content providers.

AltaVista will also invest in expanding its international operations to over 35 countries during the current fiscal year due to close July 31, 2000.

The company will launch the first of the 35 new language-specific Web sites next week with a search site for Denmark. This will be AltaVista's eighth country-specific Web site launched outside of the US this year. Over 55 per cent of AltaVista's 65 million monthly users come from outside of North America, the company said in the statement. AltaVista Europe is responsible for the roll-out of the new sites, rather than the US operations which were affected by the layoffs associated with the restructure.

AltaVista is still licking its wounds after a failed attempt in the UK to launch flat-rate unmetered Net access service. AltaVista's UK division announced the departure of its managing director and a refocusing on its Net search business late last month. CMGI, AltaVista's parent company, supports the search engine vendor in its efforts. "We're confident that AltaVista's decision to reinforce its strategic focus on search, in tandem with its investments to help increase market share and expedite its timeline to profitability, will significantly accelerate our goal to make AltaVista the leading search portal for both consumers and enterprises," David Wetherell, CMGI chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

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Clare Haney

PC World
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