AT&T Renews Vows to Excite@Home
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Corporate partnerships between Internet industry giants are starting to play like a poorly written soap opera, while industry experts speculate about AT&T Corp. and Excite@Home's fragile working relationship.
In a move to quash industry-wide rumors that the once storybook business affair between AT&T and Excite has lost its luster, AT&T Monday reiterated it plans to honor its current contract with Excite@Home, including its exclusivity provisions.
Industry experts speculate that AT&T may have gone courting America Online Inc. for a broadband deal that could have undermined Excite's leading role as the top portal for enriched web content.
Restating its vow for mutual exclusivity with Excite@Home, an AT&T spokesperson said the company would continue to work closely with Excite to make broadband content available over their cable infrastructure.
AT&T reaffirmed that the company anticipates a long-term relationship with Excite@Home. However, new commercial relationships may be in the works for AT&T as it looks to replace Excite with a new portal-powered partner, after their contract with them expires.
AT&T remains the controlling shareholder in Excite@Home. Friction between top executives at of the two companies was last week reported as the motivation behind a potential deal between Exite and Yahoo!
George Bell, Excite@Home's chief executive officer denied that the company was in buyout discussions with Yahoo!, However, he said Excite@Home had spoken with Yahoo!, America Online, Inc. and other Internet companies about taking a high profile spot on the Excite portal.