AT&T kills Interchange network

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AT&T New Media Services said Thursday that it would phase out its Interchange Online Network and make the World Wide Web its primary delivery mechanism for the AT&T Business Network.

AT&T will begin publishing a Web version of the Business Network by midyear and will eliminate Interchange by yearend.

"The Interchange Online network as we know it today will phase out over the next year," said Michael Kolowich, president-AT&T New Media Services. Under the new plan AT&T New Media Services' Web product will be accessible to anyone with a standard World Wide Web browser; subscribers to the original proprietary service who don't have one will be able "transition over" to the Web service.

AT&T acquired Interchange from Ziff-Davis Publishing Co. in December 1994 for more than $50 million. The telecommunications company said at the time that the acquisition was part of a strategy to provide online business services. The growth of the Web pre-empted a proprietary system, however.

The Washington Post Co.'s Digital Ink had built a service on the Interchange platform. Other media companies, including CNN, Dow Jones Business Information Services and Dun & Bradstreet Information Services, are part of the Business Network, currently housed on Interchange.

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