Link.Net helps bring MSN Arabia to the world from the Arab world

Egyptian ISP Link.Net and Microsoft network have teamed up to bring Microsoft's Arabic portal to the region. The portal will contain content aimed directly at Arab users, rather than just translations of international content...

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By  Mike Bayman Published  July 6, 2001

Egyptian ISP Link.Net is to partner with Microsoft Network to bring, Microsoft’s Arabic portal to the region. Microsoft Network is already available in 33 markets and 17 languages, and the new service, MSN Arabia, is due to launch in September. With 1.8 million users from the region already registered for the portal’s Hotmail e-mail service, Link.Net’s CEO Khaled Bichara said his company is “taking on a burden, but it is also a great partnership with the aim to make the greatest portal for the Arab region.” It is claimed to be the first international portal to launch in the Arab world.
Speaking about his vision for the portal, Bichara said MSN Arabia will include Arab content that speaks to Arab users, not only translations of MSN’s international content. MSN Arabia will work with content partners. Says Bichara: “it will open up opportunities for local companies to grow in our area. It’s hard work but also [provides] access to 100 million users.”
Egypt’s minister of communication and IT, Dr. Ahmed Nazif, attended the signing of the partnership agreement in Cairo on June 12th. He said that this venture is the kind of partnership Egypt appeals for and encourages when it speaks about IT development in Egypt. Although the content industry is new to Egypt, Dr. Nazif said that it is the future industry of Egypt and is of importance if the region is to retain its Arab culture in the international arena.
He said it is in the interest of all Arabs that Microsoft chooses an Egyptian company for this venture: “Egypt is the leader of the Arabs, Egyptian contributions will echo in all the Arab world.”
Aly Faramawy, Microsoft Egypt’s general manager, said “Microsoft’s choice of an Egyptian company underscores the incredible potential of Egyptian entrepreneurs as well as Egypt’s investment friendly climate in the IT sector….”
The regional MSN operation will be based in Cairo and the Dubai Internet City. Link.Net and Microsoft will jointly manage MSN Arabia. Emre Barkin, Microsoft’s Vice President for Europe, Middle East & Africa, said that the multinational’s technology transfer of portal platform, content and development technologies is proving the companies commitment to the Arab market. “These technologies, combined with Link.Net’s long proven Arabisation expertise form the foundation for the development of MSN Arabia,” he said. “MSN Arabia will launch with an established user base, rich content and brilliant services,” he added.
According to a statement, MSN.com is attracting more than 230 million visitors per month. Link.Net has more than 40% market share in the dial up business and hundreds of corporate customers in Egypt.

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