RealTime IT News

Despite Solo Portal Launch, Globo Keeps Microsoft Deal Alive

Globo.com's portal has gone live without the planned involvement of Microsoft, though the two companies are still negotiating with for regional Internet projects.

The site hit traffic overload repeatedly over the first two days due to heavy demand. In a few hours there were 148,000 page views with peaks of 7.5 thousand concurrent accesses, with an average session time of 12 minutes. Though many users could not access the site, Globo's marketing director, Paulo Mozart, denies reports that the site crashed. Instead, he calls the technical difficulties an underestimate of the site's appeal, to which Globo responded by addition 22 servers to the 54 that the portal used initially.

Globo.com will tap content production from all the Globo Organizations companies -- including radio and TV stations and newspapers scattered throughout the country. This includes access to the main news show broadcast by TV Globo, which reaches up to 80 percent of the country's 180 million inhabitants.

Although it was being awaited for nine months, the Globo.com release was a surprise and this is because Microsoft and Globo Organizations were discussing the possibility of merging the Globo portal to MSN Brasil.

Osvaldo Barbosa de Oliveira, Internet Business Development Director at Microsoft Brasil, said the Globo.com release did not signal the end of negotiations with Globo Organizations and that the merger could still become a reality.

In August of last year, Microsoft took an 11 percent stake in Globocabo for US$ 126 million and, according to Barbosa de Oliveira of Microsoft Brasil, this was the first step to the development of important projects with Globo Organizations. One such projects intends to leverage broadband Internet access development: Microsoft is very interested in the customers of broadband service of Globocabo, Vmrtua.

Globo.com is one of the content providers of Vmrtua, a high speed bi-directional Internet access service that uses the same cable network as paid TV NET and cable modems. Vmrtua is another initiative of Globocabo, representing its play to a market of 4.5 million potential subscribers.

The portal's goal is to attract one million users in its first year online in a market of 6.79 million users, if population estimates made by Computer Industry Almanac are correct. However, the number of Brazil's Netizens really started to spike in early January when free Internet access providers started operating in the country.

The company is also entering the e-commerce business through such operations as the audio CD online store, Som Livre, and an online department store, Americanas.com.

Soon the portal will also offer free access. Mozart says the free dial-up access offer is one of the company's most clear goals, and will become a reality in the near future.

He added that Globo has plans for an IPO before the end of the year, probably opening its capital in the Brazilian market and also in the American market, through ADR (American Depositary Receipts).