IBM and [email protected] Ink Global Pact

[email protected] (Nasdaq: ATHM) and IBM(NYSE: IBM) announced a global alliance today that places the Excite portal at the fingertips of users of IBM’s Aptiva line of personal computers.

Under the terms of the deal, [email protected] will be featured as the start page on IBM’s keyboard for the Aptiva line, making the portal easily accessible to an unlimited number of new users. The Aptiva keyboard will feature an Internet button, giving users one-touch access to Excite.

Aptiva Internet users will be sent to a co-branded site, offering Excite stock quotes, free voice-mail and other features. The start page will also feature IBM-related news and information. International users will be sent to a localized Excite service. The company has localized content in Canada and the Netherlands and is developing new sites in Japan and elsewhere.

The financial considerations of the deal were not disclosed by either company.

“This is a great initiative both domestically and internationally for [email protected],” said Mark Stevens, the company’s executive vice-president. “IBM has chosen us for our award-winning services such as personalization, search, community products and more. We look forward to introducing the Excite service to hundreds of thousands of new users during the holiday buying period.”

Terms of the Deal

[email protected] and IBM announced a global alliance today that places the Excite portal at the fingertips of users of IBM’s Aptiva line of personal computers.

Under the terms of the deal, [email protected] will be featured as the start page on IBM’s keyboard for the Aptiva line, making the portal easily accessible to an unlimited number of new users. The Aptiva keyboard will feature an Internet button, giving users one-touch access to Excite.

Aptiva Internet users will be sent to a co-branded site, offering Excite stock quotes, free voice-mail and other features. The start page will also feature IBM-related news and information. International users will be sent to a localized Excite service. The company has localized content in Canada and the Netherlands and is developing new sites in Japan and elsewhere.

The financial considerations of the deal were not disclosed by either company.

“This is a great initiative both domestically and internationally for [email protected],” said Mark Stevens, the company’s executive vice-president. “IBM has chosen us for our award-winning services such as personalization, search, community products and more. We look forward to introducing the Excite service to hundreds of thousands of new users during the holiday buying period.”

Rumors Dispelled Or Intensified?

[email protected] has been the subject of some intense acquisition rumors in the past few weeks. The rumor mill has the company going to AOL, as majority shareholder AT&T has made several recent acquisitions and is not so reliant on [email protected]’s broadband offerings. AOL, on the other hand, is thirsting for broadband.

Late last month, the company acknowledged those rumors by issuing a statement saying that it pursues strategic relationships as a matter of course in trying to maximize shareholder value, but that “there was no certainty that any transaction would occur.” This melodrama is playing out just months after @Home shelled out $6.7 billion for Excite.

Investments and Alliances

[email protected] has been quite active on other fronts in recent months. Last month, it launched Work.com, a business services and resources site, and forged an online auction network with Microsoft, TicketMaster Online-City Search and Fair Market.

In August, the company invested $45 million in BizTravel.com and E-Stamp, as well as two medical sites, and was the lead investor in the $85 million stake in Tickets.com.

The company reported second quarter revenues of $100 million — the first time it broke that mark — and a net loss of $5.9 million. Excite.com users have grown to 38 million strong.

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