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RealTime IT News

Net Majors Are Coming to India

The Net heavyweights are finally zipping onto Indian Internetbahn. Lycos, Yahoo!, WWW Institute and Microsoft are the first among the new batch to cash in on the e-wave in India.

Yahoo! (YHOO) plans to set up India-specific portal and search engine. Lycos is setting up a portal for India and nine other countries in Asia. The Geneva-based Internet training institute, World Wide Web Institute (WWWI), will set up a wholly owned subsidiary in India soon. Microsoft is also planning portal for India.

Yahoo! is planning to start an India specific portal website within a year, says David Mickler, director of sales in Asia, Yahoo Inc. The India specific site would be named "www.yahoo.com.in" and would host news and advertisements pertaining to the country besides host of other information.

Working in a region that is so diverse, Mickler faces the practical problems of how much customization is possible or even desirable. For the India Yahoo!, the company would initiate discussion with content providers, stock exchanges and advertising community soon.

"We will need firm commitments from the advertising community to support the site," Mickler added.

Meanwhile Lycos Inc (LCOS) has already signed a $50 million joint venture (JV) agreement with Singapore Telecom (SingTel) to provide its services in Asia, including India. The JV will have an office in India. The coming of Lycos India is an immense opportunity for local content developers or creators of websites.

"For the Indian market initially the service would be in English and later we can explore Indian regional languages," said Bo Peabody, vice-president (network strategy), Lycos. Initially, the Lycos and Tripod brands will be introduced.

"The Indian service will start in the next 12 months and in the next two to three years we feel we can corner a sizeable market and take a lot of business from India," Peabody said.

WWWI managing director Bruce Elliott says the training institute is planning to set up a wholly owned subsidiary in India in six months time. The company is in talks with business partners who can invest in the company.

Encouraged by the response from the Indian market, the institute is not only eager to set up its direct presence in training, but might also shift its Internet career product development and design base to India.

And, enthused from the tremendous potential in India Internet Industry, the IT giant Microsoft (MSFT) has decided to set up India-specific portal to demonstrate applications facilitating development and deployment of e-commerce in the country.

The company plans to develop products in the business-to-business e-commerce domain and is expected to assist independent system vendors (ISV) in India to develop these commerce products based on the "line of business application", according to a company official.

Microsoft India will extend all its development expertise, training and technological support to the new ISV's for developing products on e-commerce in India.