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Fact – MSN won't chop Net access service in the UK

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The Microsoft Network (MSN) has no plans to pull the plug on it UK Internet access service -- as long as it stays viable. But Gillian Kent, group marketing manager at MSN UK, stopped short of saying that MSN would retain it.s subscription service come what may, conceding that if the "business was no longer viable, there would be no point staying in it". Kent was responding to news that MSN is pulling out of Canada. As of 1 February 1999, MSN will cease offering online access in the country. Earlier this year MSN also ceased dial-up operations in France and Germany. "The UK is still a viable business proposition for us," said Kent, stressing that MSN would continue to provide a quality service and high-speed Net access for its customers. But acknowledging that market conditions are changing, she highlighted the contribution Freeserve and other free Net access services had made to the sector in the UK. "Freeserve has upset the apple cart as far as ISPs go and has provided a great opportunity for people coming online," she said. "We know what's going on in the marketplace and we're keeping a very watch over it," she added. Some reports have suggested that MSN's departure from the Canadian access market is yet further proof that the company doesn't see itself as a simple ISP, wanting instead to concentrate on securing its position as a major portal. If that's the case, then it can only be a matter of time before MSN decides to drop its dial-up service in the UK. ®

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