AT&T; to Abandon Its Online Software
Deep in AT&T;'s announcement on massive job cuts, the company signaled an important strategic change in its computer online services.
It plans to abandon the proprietary software required to use its online services. They are the Imagination Network, a network that lets people play computer games across the country; PersonalLink, which sends electronic mail to numerous computerized devices; and Interchange, a traditional online system with news, e-mail and other features.
Instead, AT&T; will reshape its online services around the technical standards of the Internet, chiefly giving them so-called hypertext links in the manner that data is connected on the World Wide Web.
In announcing its plan to eliminate 40,000 jobs and make other changes before its breakup later this year, AT&T; said a small part of the $4-billion after-tax restructuring charge would cover products being written off or revalued.
It cited the proprietary online software as one of the products.
The company did not say how long it would to take to make the changes to its online services.
Gartner Group, a technology advisory firm that provides an information service on AT&T;'s Interchange service, said it would change to be accessible on both the Internet and Interchange.
Jonathan Yarmis, a Gartner Group vice president, said the technological advantage Interchange had in the graphical presentation of data may soon be surpassed by one of the hundreds of companies working on Internet-related software.