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Earthlink, Netpliance Join Forces

Earthlink Tuesday revealed plans to launch an appliance service powered by Netpliance. It is the company's second major partnership to be announced in as many days.

The Earthlink i-Opener, an Internet and email solution, is expected to launch during the first quarter of 2001. The product will allow users to access weather, news and email services without being connected to the Web. The service will be delivered by Netpliance's end-to-end infrastructure and service management platform.

The alliance with Earthlink is part of a restructuring plan recently announced by Netpliance in which the company shifted its focus from devices to providing infrastructure and managed services.

Netpliance.net, a new business unit designed to accelerate the deployment of consumer applications, will manage the Earthlink i-opener consumer appliance and service.

"The combination of Earthlink's market presence and our end-to-end service delivery platform makes for a powerful, one-two punch," said Kent Savage, co-founder and vice president of sales and marketing for Netpliance.

The paired companies additionally plan to pursue a next-generation initiative to deliver multimedia consumer services across multiple platforms, including PC and non-PC devices.

The union allows Earthlink customers to gain Internet access without the complexities of a PC, noted Lance Weatherby, executive vice president for all non-PC initiatives of Earthlink. "This partnership is about extending the Earthlink experience beyond the computer and making the Internet an even more practical and relevant part of our subscribers' everyday lives."



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