America Online (AOL) announced several new alliances on Tuesday in the hope of consolidating its position as the world's number one Internet Service Provider.
As a result, it has now signed up Intuit to enable AOL subscribers to pay their household bills online by early 2000 and will integrate Net2phone's services into its instant messaging software and Compuserve service to enable customers to make computer-to-phone and phone-to-computer calls.
The five-year agreement with Intuit means that the financial applications supplier will become the exclusive provider of integrated bill paying services for AOL and AOL.com.
The service, which is based on Intuit's Quicken View and Pay Bills applications, will enable users to view, track and pay all their bills regardless of whether they have been issued electronically or on paper. Most existing services only enable customers to pay electronic or scanned paper bills.
Under the terms of the deal, Intuit will also provide utilities, credit card companies and others with a way to present their bills to customers using encryption technology.
And customers will scan bills for customers dealing with companies that do not provide electronic billing facilities.
Bob Pittman, AOL's president and chief operating officer, said: "Everyone has to pay bills and this new offering will simplify the process by allowing members to receive and pay their bills from one location - and view their billing history to track expenses."
Under the terms of its deal with Net2Phone, however, AOL will integrate Net2phone's services into its instant messaging software and Compuserve service.
It will also provide subscribers with Net2phone pre and post paid Internet calling cards to enable them to place calls over Net2phone's IP network anywhere in the world.
Customers will also have access to the firm's communication and fax and conference calling services and will be provided with back end fulfillment services such as call rating, routing, authorisation and customer service.
AOL's third deal of the day, was with the United Artists (UA) chain of cinemas. The aim is to enable users to access information and buy tickets for movies more easily using AOL's Moviefone, a movie listing guide and ticketing service.
AOL will provide UA with premier positioning on the Moviefone service, which it acquired in May, and all of its related brands. It will also integrate Moviefone with UA's box office systems and upgrade, host and maintain the company's Web site.
AOL Moviefone will become the exclusive advance purchase provider of tickets to UA cinemas, while UA will distribute licences of AOL 5.0 to 300 of its locations worldwide.
The companies will also work together to provide reserved seating at selected UA cinemas and to create promotional programmes.
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