Yahoo is no longer discussing its much-lauded leap into the competitive corporate portal space, despite unveiling plans for the move almost a year ago.
As analysts question whether the company can compete in the highly competitive business software market, Yahoo itself is keeping quiet, casting doubts over the future of its corporate strategy.
More than a dozen calls to the company's business and PR executives to discuss Yahoo's latest venture, Corporate Yahoo, have not been returned.
In August last year, Yahoo signed a deal with Hewlett Packard (HP) to design a version of the company's My Yahoo portal to corporate employees.
At the time, chief operating officer Jeff Mallett said 60 per cent of the company's activity would be focused on getting space on corporate desktops.
The portal was to be launched to large companies in the fourth quarter of last year, but it has yet to appear on the market. Yahoo has declined to comment on the product, but an HP spokeswoman said both companies are "still working on it".
In addition, at the end of June this year, Yahoo launched its latest attempt to enter the corporate space with Corporate Yahoo - a so-called enterprise information portal.
Philip Russom, an analyst at the Hurwitz Group, doubts whether Yahoo can be taken seriously as a vendor in the corporate field. He said business users would not outsource with Corporate Yahoo if they consider a corporate portal to be strategic, even though it is reselling tried and tested software from Tibco.
"They'll prefer to own it in-house so they can guard sensitive data," he said.
Jawad Abbassi, a senior analyst at researcher The Yankee Group, added: "Yahoo's most obvious advantage lies with its brand name, which is not terribly important in the domain of connecting to back-end systems."
Analysts predict that the portal space will be the next growth area in the corporate market, estimating that it will be worth $14bn by 2002.
A number of major technology providers, such as Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, SAP, the Sun-Netscape Alliance and others, have joined the crowded and lucrative web portal software market.
They and Yahoo, if it follows its venture through, are competing with specialist companies such as Viador, Plumtree, InfoImage and Epicentric.
More than a dozen calls from vnunet.com to the company's business and PR executives to discuss Yahoo's latest venture - Corporate Yahoo - have not been returned.
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