GTE Corp the US local and long distance telecommunications company, has signed a multi-million dollar, multi-year contract with Santa Barbara, California-based Software.com Inc for the supply of its InterMail electronic mail server software. InterMail, which four-year old Software.com acquired through its merger with Lexington, Massachusetts-based Accordance Corp in April 1996, is aimed at large internet service providers whose messaging systems include at least 100,000 mail boxes. It is already in use at AT&T Co’s WorldNet Service, and BBN Corp, acquired by GTE last May for $600m (CI No 3,155) is also a customer. GTE, with BBN on board, is in the middle of an aggressive push to grow its internet services. By the start of 1997, it had already built up 100,000 subscribers as an internet service provider, a number which has now grown to 160,000. That makes it the largest internet service provider business so far set up by a US local exchange carrier, it claims. Cisco Systems Inc and Banyan Systems Inc both hold a minority stake in the company.
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