Microsoft and Bell Canada to merge portals

Bell Canada, the country's top Internet provider, will create a co-branded Web portal with Microsoft Corp. under a five-year pact announced on Monday.

Bell Canada said it will merge its Sympatico.ca portal, Canada's most visited Web site, with Microsoft's MSN.ca portal next spring in a new venture to be called Sympatico-MSN.

Bell Canada, a unit of Canadian telecom group BCE Inc. , will continue to provide the Canadian content for the portal, as well as customer support and marketing.

The joint portal will offer users direct access to Microsoft's security and communications software, such as the popular MSN Hotmail and MSN Messenger, Bell Canada said.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Bell Canada and Microsoft said they will share expenses and revenues.

Both companies said they will also try to develop new Internet services in areas such as home networking, mobile computing or interactive entertainment.

No layoffs are planned either at Sympatico, which employs about 200 persons, or at MSN.ca, which has 33.

News source: MSN Money

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