Which Way For Infoseek?

Which Way For Infoseek?

From The Search Engine Report
July 2
, 1997

Media Central has an interesting article that sheds light on the departure of top executives from Infoseek, in recent weeks. According to sources, there has been a split between whether the company should pursue the corporate market or promote the licensing of its technology.

The tug-of-war described is something all the search engines face. Do they continue to invest in consumer-oriented search services, or do they instead focus on selling their search engine technology?

While Excite still provides its search engine software, the focus of the company is firmly aimed at the consumer. In contrast, Open Text continues to run its search service, but the focus there is clearly on the search engine software that it sells to corporations.

Others remain in a balancing act. Alta Vista has been moving forward strongly in developing its technology for personal and corporate use. However, it has made notable enhancements to its World Wide Web search service. Likewise, Lycos is partnering with another company to spin off its technology, yet it has also recently upgraded its search service.

A few months ago, Infoseek had said it was going to focus on the corporate consumer and formed a division devoted to last April. Media Central reports that this vision of former CEO Robin Johnson clashed with that of founder Steve Kirsch, who sees software sales as crucial to the company's future.

Johnson resigned in May. On June 9, it announced that chief operating and financial officer Leonard J. LeBlanc would leave as of July 7. Also leaving on that date is Peter D. Rip, vice president and general manager of the Infoseek Network. He oversaw Infoseek's advertising operations and advertising marketing.

Meanwhile, new promotions were announced April 24: Dr. William I. Chang to chief technology officer and Arthur H. Clark as vice president of Business Development.

Infoseek Exodus Doesn't Slow Corporate Info Division
Media Central, June 24, 1997

Summarizes the struggle between promoting consumer products vs. software development, leading to the resignation of top executives.

Infoseek Exec Exodus Continues
TechWeb, June 9, 1997

Infoseek CEO Abruptly Resigns Position
Web Week, May 19, 1997

Background on the departure of CEO Robin Johnson, with observations on the mixed directions Infoseek seemed to be heading.