Tech Industry

Compaq eyes Yahoo, Time Warner

The computing giant is reportedly in talks with Yahoo and also Time Warner about a joint venture involving AltaVista.

Compaq is reportedly in talks with Yahoo and also Time Warner about a joint venture involving its recently acquired AltaVista search engine.

In a deal that would bring together leading companies from separate but converging industries, the PC maker would swap equity in AltaVista either for Yahoo content or access to the Road Runner cable Internet access service, according to unnamed sources cited by Business Week.

Although its ownership is now diffuse, Road Runner is most closely associated with Time Warner, which launched the service in September 1996.

Earlier this week, Compaq chief financial officer Earl Mason told financial analysts that the Houston-based company is in negotiations with "a couple of different partners," Business Week reported.

In June 1998, Compaq invested $212.5 million in Road Runner, giving it a 10 percent stake in the high-speed Net access venture. Software giant Microsoft made an equal investment at the same time.

Some of Compaq's Internet-ready PCs already come with the cable modems needed to use Road Runner. Additionally, some of these Presario models come with the company's Internet keyboard, which offers dial-up access through America Online or the cobranded GTE-Compaq connection service. One of the keys, "Instant Internet," links to My Yahoo, the portal giant's personalized page.

Compaq acquired Alta Vista as part of its January purchase of Digital Equipment.

Time Warner spokesman Scott Miller said the company did not want to comment on the report.