Sun Deal Makes Good On Semel Promise

Yahoo! and Sun Microsystems, Inc.
officials announced Monday an alliance to put customized portal
applications on Sun ONE portal servers.

The deal is good for enterprise manager’s looking to implement a ready-made
portal server with individually customized information tools for its users.

It’s also another sign Yahoo!’s bosses are looking to capitalize on their
name to bring about more revenue. In addition to Sun, Yahoo! has Tibco and
SAP portal servers as customers, who in turn offer the service to
corporations.

Yahoo! has 45 corporate customers using the corporate portal tool,
including CIGNA Corp. , which hooked up its 16 million
employees and customers to the corporate service earlier this year. Others
include McDonald’s , Bayer and Merck & Co.

My Yahoo! Enterprise Edition is free to Sun ONE server customers for the
first 120 days, giving them a peek at the services available through the
tailored offering, before charging for the service. According to Yahoo!
enterprise edition officials, the price depends on the size of the customer
and the customization products they purchase.

Sun plans on making the service available in the late second quarter to
early third quarter of 2002.

Steven Nathan, Sun ONE portal and communications services vice president
and general manager, said it’s those offerings — giving enterprise
customers access to 2,000 content sources from 25 countries and instant
messaging (IM) — that boost employee productivity.

“Personalized content is what makes the portals more relevant, and thereby
makes the portal a central force for productivity,” he said. “The breadth
of personalized, high-quality content and ease-of-use that we are
delivering is essential for chief information officers (CIOs) looking to
attract and retain portal users, and in turn, to fully realize the return
on investment (ROI) and total cost of ownership (TCO) potential.”

With a personalized corporate My Yahoo! account, intranet administrators
control the look and content of the Internet information they present to
employees. In addition to branding it to the particular corporation,
administrators can format the page to deliver company news, stock tracker
information and let users customize other areas for their own use.

Little more than a year ago, Terry Semel took
over the reigns
of the world’s most popular but financially-strapped
Internet portal, Yahoo!, promising an overhaul to investors. Monday’s news
is just further proof of that commitment, putting money in the company’s
coffers and giving its stock “real” value.

The company was one of the industry’s media darlings, with skyrocketing
stock value despite the fact most of its offerings were free. But since
the company paid its bills on time, using advertising revenues, no one
seemed to mind.

But once the dot com bubble burst, advertising dollars disappeared, and
Yahoo! was forced to make tough decisions. Tim Koogle, the visionary who
made the portal a household name, was replaced with Semel, who quickly
outlined a plan to bring revenues in from Yahoo!’s free services with a new
business
focus
.

He quickly penned deals with businesses to give them corporate-level
Yahoo! services, and leveraged the power of its name to broker
deals
with SBC Communications , a carrier with plenty
of potential digital subscriber line (DSL) customers, but no content to go
with the service.

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