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April 15, 2008

AT&T Creating a New Browser

Ars Technica has a story on the first iteration of a browser from AT&T called Pogo.  It's based on Mozilla rather than IE, and it requires a relatively beefed up graphics card to function.  The browser is in private test mode, so nothing is publicly available right now.  If the review is accurate, the browser has a long way to go before it can make it even public beta.  Pogo eats up a lot of processing power in its present form.

The more interesting questions about Pogo are not even addressed in the article.  The first would be why is AT&T doing this?  Their partnership with Yahoo! for co-branded Internet service already pushes a top-heavy customized browser at AT&T customers.  The review and screen shots of Pogo do not have any Yahoo! branding at all.  Is there trouble in Yahoo!-land over their partnership?  Might this have something to do with the likely sale of Yahoo! to Microsoft in that a Microsoft-owned Yahoo! may not be a partner to AT&T's liking?  Even though Yahoo! hosts mail services to AT&T Internet customers, the default addresses are named with AT&T properties as domains.  It would be easy to take these addresses to a non-Yahoo! host without disrupting customers.

The Ars article didn't go into any statements about the privacy policy AT&T has in mind.  It's probably too early for that.  Consider, though, that AT&T is the same company alleged to have illegally cooperated with the government over domestic spying.  AT&T is the same company that implied that large content providers were getting a free ride on its pipes and should pony up for the privilege.  AT&T is the same company that wants to filter its network to eliminate piracy of copyrighted material.  Questions abound about how feasible it will be to accomplish that last one.  Still, one wonders how developing an AT&T browser affects any of this or any plans it may have to get into the content business it seems to have left to its partners (so far).  I'm more interested in the company's motivation and how they will get customers to deploy Pogo once it's available.  With all the alternative browsers out there, once again, why are they doing this?

April 15, 2008 | Permalink


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