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Yahoo inks AT&T, Inktomi deals

Yahoo strikes two separate deals with search technology developer Inktomi and telecommunications giant AT&T.

Yahoo today struck two separate deals with search technology developer Inktomi and telecommunications giant AT&T.

Under the agreements, Inktomi will provide the underlying search engine to complement Yahoo's Internet directory within 90 days, and AT&T will team up with Yahoo in a cross-marketing agreement in June.

Yahoo has been relatively Portalopoly quiet of late, as its search and Net gateway or "portal" competitors have made a slew of announcements, including partnerships, new functionality, and the formation of Web-based online services.

On that front, AT&T announced three separate deals in one week in which it will provide Net access for Web-based online services by portal competitors Excite, Lycos, and Infoseek.

In regards to the Yahoo agreement, AT&T will become the main provider of traditional communication services featured on Yahoo, and the companies plan to try a new Internet-based consumer communications service on the popular Web site.

Beginning in June, Yahoo users will be able to purchase AT&T communications services by clicking on the AT&T merchant button in a number of key locations throughout the Yahoo network, including Yahoo Yellow Pages, Yahoo People Search, and the telecommunications-related directory and keyword search results pages.

In addition, the shopping page of My Yahoo will enable users to order and be billed for these AT&T services online. Yahoo users will be able to purchase an array of AT&T's popular long distances services, including domestic, international, and toll-free services.

As for the search deal, Inktomi's search engine indexes more than 110 million documents, according to the company. Earlier this month, Inktomi inked a partnership with Web-based online service Snap to power the service's search function. That agreement calls for Inktomi to provide its technology for Web searches that extend beyond Snap's directory. (Snap is owned by CNET: The Computer Network, which publishes NEWS.COM.)

Yahoo currently has a search deal with Digital Equipment's AltaVista engine, which will continue, the firms said today. Under today's agreement, Inktomi's technology will power the searches of Yahoo's directory. At the bottom of a Yahoo search, users can click on a button to get a further search of AltaVista's listings.

Founded in February 1996, Inktomi gets its name from a Lakota Indian legend about a spider character known for his ability to defeat larger characters through wit and cunning. In this instance, the start-up is bringing parallel computing technology to the Internet, but faces intense competition from other search firms. Excite, for example, will provide the technology for a Netscape-branded search engine, the firms said earlier this month.