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When.com plans calendar launch

When.com plans to launch a calendar site next month-- but will it partner with a portal?

Internet start-up When.com is expected to launch its new calendar service next month, yet questions remain whether it will join forces with one of the portal heavy hitters.

When.com, a privately held company based in Redwood City, California, is attempting to enter the market at a time when the major portal sites such as Yahoo, Excite, and Lycos are buying out and partnering with smaller Internet services companies in order to add special features that personalize their sites for users.

Yahoo already offers its own Yahoo calendar service, but earlier this week the company's cofounder, Jerry Yang, said the leading Net directory has $450 million available for investments and partnerships, including digital calendars.

Lycos also offers a personalized calendar through a partnership with PlanetAll, which was bought by Amazon.com in August. Other portal sites are surely eager to join the fray.

When.com has talked "with all those guys," according to spokeswoman Nicole DeMeo Overson.

Founded in 1997, the company already has signed on a handful of sports, finance, and music partners. Pollstar has agreed to provide concert tour information, ESPN's SportsTicker will alert users to sporting events and news, and Zacks Investment Research will provide financial news and dates for IPOs and earnings releases. DeMeo Overson said When.com has other partners waiting in the wings, though they won't be announced until the site launches in beta.

When.com secured $6 million in financing last month from Benchmark Capital and 21st Century Internet Venture Partners. It is competing against the likes of PlanetAll, Appoint.net, NeverForget, Easy Diary, and Calendars Net, among other free, Web-based scheduling services.

The company's management team is led by chief executive Ted Barnett, a former senior product manager at Apple Computer who was involved with the Macintosh II line.