RealTime IT News

NBCi Goes Shopping

Looking to fortify access to its e-commerce services, NBC Internet Inc. Monday bought privately-held Flyswat Inc. for about $100 million in stock.

Flyswat's technology establishes links to Internet content and commerce services on any Web site or personal document. Specific financial details of the purchase were not given. NBCi expects the deal to close by May.

Flyswat's core service is a free, downloadable tool that identifies and hyperlinks existing words or phrases in any Web page, enabling users to retrieve relevant information by clicking on these terms. The Flyswat service also is compatible with any desktop application, such as word processing, spreadsheets, slideshow presentations and more.

When users click on terms in their personal documents and Web pages, a small window appears presenting definitions, related content and e-commerce service links, news headlines, stock listings, shopping opportunities, or any other relevant information from NBCi (NBCI) and other content providers.

Flyswat's engineering team will work with NBCi's teams to help develop new versions of the Flyswat service, as well as better broadband interfaces for NBCi's broadband portal service, NBCi.com.

"Flyswat's best-of-breed service will bring NBCi and our e-commerce and advertising partners directly into users' lives when they surf the Internet and work on documents on their computers," said Will Lansing, NBCi's chief executive officer. "We look forward to building Flyswat's features, content and distribution through partnerships and alliances."

The deal follows last week's appointment of William Lansing, a former executive at Fingerhut and General Electric, as its chief executive officer. He replaced Chris Kitze, who was appointed vice chairman at NBCi.