Juno Online Services, which is merging
with rival NetZero, says
it expects to drop patent lawsuits against the free Internet service
provider. But it anticipates a downside to the union: layoffs at both companies.
The former competitors had been in a bitter legal fight, filing lawsuits
over advertising technology. It's "very, very reasonable to assume that if
this merger goes through, these lawsuits will simply go away," said Juno
spokesman Gary Baker. He added that the companies expect "some duplicate
staff within both organizations." Layoffs would not occur until after the
merger is completed, which Baker estimated to be in September or October.
The new company, to be called United Online, will be headquartered in
Westlake Village, Calif., home to NetZero, but it will still have some presence
in New York, where Juno is based. The companies plan to continue offering
free services under the NetZero brand and move paid services to the Juno