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RealTime IT News

First Lycos, Now Excite for AT&T

In the second deal of its kind this week, AT&T and Excite today announced a three-year agreement to jointly produce a new online service and co-develop a range of multimedia communications services.

The AT&T/Excite partnership follows an almost identical agreement made on Monday under which AT&T and Lycos said they would jointly develop "Lycos Online Powered By AT&T WorldNet Service."

The "Excite Online Powered by AT&T WorldNet Service" is slated for a national launch in June featuring "competitive" pricing, according to the companies. The service will offer AT&T customer-service features along with customized functions from Excite's search and navigation offerings.

The partnership will reportedly leverage technologies developed by AT&T Labs to produce Web-based communications capabilities such as click-to-dial directories, anonymous voice chat, and conference calling controlled from the Web.

The companies said for instance that an Excite user in a chat room will be able to turn the text into a verbal chat with other members anonymously, with no disclosure of phone numbers.

Subsequent to the June launch, the service will feature a co-branded "Personal Communications Center" offering AT&T services to Excite users. It will be presented in special sections of Excite, including the home page, and will act as a point-and-click gateway to AT&T.

Similar to the Lycos/AT&T deal, the Communications Center will highlight four AT&T services: AT&T One Rate, for online long-distance services; AT&T Wireless Services; AT&T Prepaid Calling Cards; and AT&T WorldNet for Internet access.

Today's announcement follows a $70 million deal Excite struck with Netscape this week to provide search services to the company which continues to play catch-up in the Internet portal space.