RealTime IT News

ISPnews and HighWind Merge, Intensifying Newsgroup Competition

Two leaders in the field of newsgroup services are joining forces. HighWind Inc. of Boston, MA and ISPNews Inc. of Detroit, MI announced their merger at the ISPCON show.

"Our goal is to be known as the world's first and foremost full-service usenet technology provider," said Mike Betts, president and CEO of the new company, which will be known as ISPNews-HighWind.

ISPNews has been one of a small group of companies that provide newsgroup services, saving ISPs from the expense of hosting the several hundred megabytes of data required to provide a newsgroup feed. The company maintains a week's worth of postings in more than 40,000 newsgroups.

The field is becoming more competitive; ISPNews' leading competitor, SuperNews Inc. received a $4 million investment from Benchmark Capital to fund expansion. SuperNews had a significant presence on the show floor and has launched a new marketing campaign aimed at signing more ISPs for its services.

HighWind develops the Typhoon news server software used by ISPs and corporations. SuperNews developed its own server software.

Chris Carlston of ISPNews said the merger was precipitated by the company's need to accelerate its development of usenet server software. Talks with HighWind about the need for collaborative software development led to the merger.

Carlston said the activity in newsgroups is currently growing at a rate of about 10 percent a month. ISPNews currently serves more than 300 ISPs with a newsgroup feed. The two companies have combined annual revenue of over $3 million.

Financial terms of the merger were not disclosed.