Internet services company Yahoo has ditched Digital's Alta Vista as its default search engine and navigational guide.
US based search engine Inktomi - in which Microsoft holds a stake - is to step in as a Yahoo search engine provider from the beginning of September when the Alta Vista contract expires, with Alta Vista relegated to the position of premier search partner.
"It's great news," said Inktomi's European managing director Ed Gordon. "Yahoo is the brand name that everyone wants to team up with. The Internet is growing at 1,000 per cent per year, and Inktomi's core technology is the most scalable on the Net today," he added.
Gordon believes that the favourable reviews that Inktomi received in the trade press in recent months was also a factor in Alta Vista losing its 'most favoured partner' status.
"In addition, our business model operates differently. We simply provide the technology. At no time during the search process do we reroute traffic to our own site. If, for example, you were searching a local cluster, and then needed to widen your search, you would still stay at the local site even though you were searching our 110 million documents," he added.
Inktomi, which is also the first choice search engine of Microsoft's MSN site, is looking to form further alliances in the industry.
"Our products are very customisable, and because we aren't competing directly with our partners, we have more time to develop neat features," said Gordon.
In a separate announcement, Yahoo has linked up with telecomms giant AT&T to offer directory services on the Yahoo site.
From June this year, Yahoo users in the US will be able to purchase a range of AT&T's long distance services at various points on the Yahoo network. In addition, the companies will trial a voice feature that will enable chat room participants to turn a keyboard session into a voice conversation.
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