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Royal Mail pulls plug on ViaCode digital certificate

ViaCode returned to sender, revenues too low

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The Royal Mail has pulled the plug on its Viacode digital certificate business after it failed to reach profitability.

A spokesman for Royal Mail confirmed a statement by the British Chamber of Commerce, which resells the service, that ViaCode is to cease trading due to "slow development of the market and the company's unsustainable financial position".

Consignia (the parent company of Royal Mail) is losing £1.5 million a day and looking to cuts costs, the spokesman explained. Although Royal Mail continues to believe ViaCode is a good product and fits well with its core business, it is unable to sustain investment in the business because its "revenues have been insufficient to achieve profitability". The decision to close ViaCode comes after unsuccessful attempts by Royal Mail to sell it or partner with another technology developer in providing the service.

Earlier this month, ViaCode informed its customers (many of who operate in the public sector, including health) of its decision to withdraw the service from the market.

A Reg reader in an NHS Trust who first informed us that the service would be withdrawn said the decision left a large number of health service digital certificate projects in limbo. NHS staff will have to look for partners to take projects over.

A spokesman for Royal Mail said it would assist customers in migration to other suppliers as ViaCode winds down its operations before its closure at the end of December.

He added that Royal Mail will also try to employ the 32 people working on the ViaCode project in other parts of its business, and expressed hopes that compulsory redundancies will prove unnecessary. The demise of the ViaCode digital cert also reduces the UK's Government Gateway certificate count from two to one. Oh dear... ®

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Background on ViaCode's customers and business

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