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Phoenix Technologies Launches Internet Unit

Phoenix Technologies Ltd., a maker of system software used in many personal computers, Monday formed a new Internet subsidiary in partnership with Softbank Holdings.

Dubbed ebetween, Phoenix said the new unit will allow Internet service providers and content producers to promote goods and services to consumers. The company has signed deals with a variety of partners, including America Online Inc., Excite@Home, Yahoo! Inc. and several others.

Phoenix said it has applied for 20 patents on its Internet platform software which it is grouping into a new category known as virtual bundling technoloygy. Phoenix said the technology gives portals and other Internet companies the ability to personalize news and information an deliver use-directed services and content to PCs.

Softbank will take a 20 percent stake in the new subsidiary. In return, Phoenix will acquire Softbank Marketing Solutions. SMS offers electronic registration services for computer makers and software companies.

Initially, ebetween will target manufacturers of non-branded PCs. The unit's first offerings are expected to be released in the fourth quarter. In addition to Internet personalization, services such as antivirus protection will be offered.

Jack Kay, Phoenix Technologies president and chief executive officer, said the new unit will deliver a range of Internet services to consumers, enhancing their Internet experience.

"Phoenix and its ebetween subsidiary will offer leading Internet companies expanded reach, increased market penetration and the ability to better serve their customers, while bringing to Phoenix's shareholders the benefits of a transactional and recurring revenue model," he said.

Phoenix manufacturers the Basic Input/Output System, or BIOS, software that goes into many of the world's personal computers. The BIOS contains code necessary to control the functions of a variety of devices inside PCs, including floppy drives, serial ports and monitors.