What Telecom CEO Theresa Gattung recently referred to as the "worst kept secret in the industry" is now official: the telco is partnering with Yahoo! to provide content and online services for its Xtra web portal.
The new joint venture, called Yahoo!Xtra replaces the earlier partnership with Microsoft's MSN that Gattung helped negotiate in 2002, and which became the default New Zealand home page in the software giant's Internet Explorer browser.
Being the default home page for New Zealand installations of Windows is thought to be a major factor behind XtraMSN's popularity. The portal is consistently ranked in the top spots by the various rating services such as Nielsen, which in turn attracts advertisers to the site.
Telecom will hold 49% of the joint venture, with three board members. Yahoo!7, itself a joint venture between Yahoo! of the US and Seven Network in Australia, will hold 51%. Yahoo!7 will appoint the chair.
“All online New Zealanders will be able to benefit from the enhanced range of news, sport, weather and messaging services available from Yahoo!Xtra,” says Kevin Kenrick, chief operating officer of Telecom’s consumer business.
“In addition, Telecom’s Xtra customers will have access to a range of premium online services with mail, enhanced spam and virus protection management, online photo sharing, localised news and internet radio properties progressively becoming available after the initial launch,” added Kenrick.
The new site will go live from March 1.