MEXICO CITY, October 18, 1999 — Microsoft today announced a joint venture with Telmex, Mexico’s largest telecommunications company, to create the world’s leading portal for Spanish-speaking Internet users. PressPass spoke with Microsoft Mexico Vice President Mauricio Santillan about the company’s partnership with Telmex and its commitment to bringing the best of the Web to Spanish-speaking Internet users.
PressPass : What is the mission of this new joint venture?
Santillan : Through a partnership with Telmex, Mexico’s telecommunications and Internet access leader, we’re creating a new company that will operate a leading consumer portal and deliver best-of-breed content and commerce services for Spanish-speaking consumers throughout the Americas, including the United States and Canada. Through strong alliances with leading regional content providers, we’re committed to giving Spanish-speaking consumers the best content, easy and secure shopping services, and rich communication features.
Telmex and Microsoft have agreed to equal participation in this new venture, which combines Microsoft’s world-class technologies with Telmex’s leading infrastructure, operations and regional knowledge. The company will have an operations base in Mexico, as well as offices in the US, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela and an additional regional office somewhere in Central America.
PressPass : What can Spanish-speaking Internet consumers expect to see on this new portal?
Santillan : We expect to have a very broad range of offerings, with an emphasis on communications, search and shopping, with a strong local approach for each country. The portal will offer Spanish-speaking consumers core communication services such as the MSN.com Hotmail Web-based email service, MSN.com Messenger , MSN.com Web Communities and the MSN.com Search .
The new portal will offer the best shopping experience, making it easy to find, compare and buy the right items. The portal will also use Microsoft Passport, a single login and wallet service that simplifies and integrates online communications and commerce.
PressPass : How is this new service different from existing portals in the region?
Santillan : Many of the individual services we plan to offer are already available to Spanish-speaking consumers, but we plan to offer these services in a more comprehensive and integrated way. We will offer global services, but we strongly emphasize local content — we’re partnering with the leading regional content providers to provide services that acknowledge the different needs of each country’s markets.
Microsoft technologies such as Passport and services like MSN.com enable Internet users to easily create an Everyday Web that works for them — and by combining these technologies with the best local and regional content, our portal will bring this power to Spanish-speaking users throughout the Americas.
PressPass : How does today’s announcement fit in with Microsoft’s overall broadband strategy?
Santillan : We’re a big believer in the Internet and the deployment of broadband, as it will continue to benefit more and more consumers with increasingly valuable services. We want to help consumers move from the slow, narrow-band, PC-centric world of today to a fast, exciting broadband world where consumers will have access to information anytime, anywhere and on any device. We believe this broadband future is the key to delivering a better consumer experience and growing our industry.
Today’s announcement is part of Microsoft’s overall efforts to accelerate the evolution of broadband services. We have invested strategically in companies and initiatives that will play a leading role in making broadband Internet access a reality — including AT & T, British Telecom, Portugal Telecom, RoadRunner, Comcast and NTL. We are agnostic about which particular technology will take us there — this is why we’ve supported a wide range of technologies, such as cable, telephony and wireless services.
PressPass : Why did you choose to partner with Telmex?
Santillan : Telmex has a leadership position in the Mexican Internet market, as well as important assets in the United States such as Prodigy. They also have a very proactive expansion plan for their ISP business in Latin America, which is one of the fastest-growing Internet markets in the world. The combination of their strength in the Latin American region with Microsoft’s top-quality technology and services will allow us to deliver the best possible Internet experience to Spanish-speaking consumers in the region.