Excite@Home announced today that it has formed an alliance with privately held AirFlash.com to provide content for wireless handheld devices. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The deal could be significant, according to some industry observers, because the Redwood City, California-based AirFlash.com claims to be the first and only portal providing both e-commerce and content exclusively for the mobile user.
Excite@Home said that the alliance will allow it to move forward with its wireless strategy of bringing personalized content from the Excite portal to users anytime and anywhere.
“Our relationship with AirFlash will accelerate our ability to partner quickly and effectively with wireless carriers to bring the best of the Web to their customers,” said Joe Kraus, Excite@Home’s senior vice-president of content. “Mobile applications are key to delivering the ‘All Device’ part of our vision.”
Tap Into Huge Wireless Market
Excite@Home and AirFlash.com expect that their partnership will help them bring personalized content to existing wireless handheld and other mobile devices. By striking deals with a range of other companies, the partners hope to tap into a market already 300 million strong.
“Together, we are offering mobile content and m-Commerce (mobile commerce) from AirFlash along with personalized Web content from Excite@Home to usher in the new mobile generation,” said Rama Aysola, AirFlash.com’s chief executive officer.
Bringing Mobile Users What They Want
The two companies will initially offer the following services:
Users who have already personalized an Excite Start Page will now be able to receive news alerts, sports scores and stock quotes from their mobile devices.
Traffic reports, flight status and an ATM finder will become part of the new package.
Communication services such as e-mail and voicemail will also be available for handheld units.
Mobile e-commerce services such as travel reservations, buying tickets to events, ordering flowers or gifts and price comparisons will be part of the initial offering.
Despite the fact that the alliance seems formidable, there is stiff competition. Both America Online and Microsoft are working on similar e-commerce services for handheld devices. Additionally, there are several other smaller companies that have expressed a desire to develop content for mobile devices.
Based in Redwood City, California, Excite@Home (Nasdaq: ATHM) was formed when cable company At Home bought Excite. The company teams with cable operators to market its services to 500,000 customers in the U.S. and Canada. Its Excite portal is visited by more than 15 million users monthly.
Excite Voice Mail enables users to get free voice mail, e-mail and faxes from a single account by using a toll-free number. Its holdings include the WebCrawler online search service. AT&T owns 26 percent of Excite@Home with a 58 percent voting interest.
In the latest quarter ending in June, Excite@Home lost $217 million (US$) on revenue of $71 million. Yesterday, its stock closed at $37.91 per share, down 75 cents per share.
Rama Aysola founded closely held AirFlash.com in July 1998. AirFlash.com investors include Bay Partners, Band of Angels, PTI, Trio Investments and Pitch Johnson/Asset Management Co. The company is currently raising second-round financing.