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Bill Bennett

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Telecom NZ does not need Yahoo

Telecom NZ’s Chris Quin says the company could walk away from the outsourcing deal which sees Yahoo look after xtra.co.nz  mail accounts.

That’s a possible response to the latest security breach at Yahoo. The Internet company seems unable or unwilling to deal with the problem.

It is hard to see what value Yahoo gives Telecom NZ in 2013.

When Telecom NZ outsourced its mail service to Yahoo in 2007. It needed a way to manage the 800,000 or so Xtra mail accounts.

In those days ISP customers expected to get email accounts as part of their Internet services. Today’s ISPs sell data pipes with a little support and little else.

Many Xtra customers already have webmail accounts with services like Gmail and Outlook.com.

A YahooXtra account is almost unnecessary.

Almost unnecessary because there are two reasons Telecom can’t immediately dump them altogether.

First, history – what technology people might call ‘legacy issues’. Some of my email still comes via Xtra even though it is routed through Gmail. Figuring out which contacts have my old address and getting them to update my details isn’t straightforward.

Second, webmail addresses are second-class citizens online. Some services don’t allow customers to sign up with Gmail, Hotmail or Outlook.com addresses. Not every Telecom NZ customer wants to buy their own domain for a mail address, so keeping the Xtra domain as an option would be a good move.

Telecom NZ can walk customers through the process of setting up webmail accounts on alternative services – not a difficult job. Google and Microsoft would be only too happy to help sign up new business.

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