Microsoft, Bell Canada Partner

Portal companies, looking for a pipeline of new customers for paid broadband services, are racing to partner with Internet service providers .

The latest example is Microsoft , which has struck a five-year deal to supply content from its MSN property to Bell Canada for a co-branded portal beginning next spring.

The companies will share the daily operations of the portal and manage the delivery of MSN 8 subscription services. Bell will oversee development of content for both English and French-Canadian markets, technical and customer support, billing, pricing and marketing of services.

In addition, the companies will collaborate on home networking, mobile computing, entertainment, security and communications tools such as unified voice and e-mail, video-conferencing and multimedia messaging.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

“This alliance will accelerate the adoption of broadband in Canada by offering consumers a powerful combination of our award-winning MSN services and expert Canadian content and services from Bell Canada,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft.

For Bell Candada, the deal provides ready-made content and services that could help it keep current customers and win news ones.

“In cooperation with Microsoft, we’re going to expand the tools available to make the Internet a stronger resource for Canadians,” said Michael Sabia,ll Canada’s CEO.

Last month, Microsoft made a similar deal with Verizon, gaining access to the carriers users on the East Coast.

Yahoo!, an MSN competitor, started the trend last year by teaming with SBC Communications. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based portal also has deals in Asia and Brazil and yesterday announced an expanded pact with the United Kingdom’s largest ISP, British Telecommunications.

And Telefonica, a Spanish ISP, which has millions of subscribers in Europe and Latin America, is bidding to takeover the remaining shares of Terra Lycos it does not already own, so it can better combine access and content offerings.

News Around the Web