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Wednesday, 30 August, 2000, 10:02 GMT 11:02 UK
Altavista UK boss resigns
Andy Mitchell, Altavista UK's former managing director
Altavista's Andy Mitchell: Now with unmetered free time on his hands
The fiasco of offering but never launching an unmetered internet access service has forced Andy Mitchell, the boss of Altavista UK, to resign.


The mistakes in our planned internet access service ... probably made Andy's departure inevitable

Pierre Paperon, Altavista Europe
The company called his departure "probably inevitable".

Shortly after starting in his job, Mr Mitchell announced that Altavista would offer its customers unmetered internet access for a flat annual fee.

Tens of thousands of people applied to sign up, and in July the company said it was conducting a "controlled roll-out".

But 10 days ago Mr Mitchell confirmed suspicions from industry watchers that the service had never been launched.

Focus on internet search

Stephanie Himoff will take over as acting managing director of Altavista UK.

Mrs Himoff said: "From today, AltaVista is focusing on our core business: internet search. ... Our focus is to provide the best service to enable British users find the information they need on the Internet."

Pierre Paperon, president of Altavista Europe said: "Over the past seven months Andy Mitchell built our UK business almost from scratch. We are very grateful for all he has done to grow an excellent UK search service and a strong organisation."

But he added that "the mistakes in our planned internet access service - which we do acknowledge - probably made Andy's departure inevitable, and we support his decision."

A week ago, Mr Mitchell had told the BBC that he saw no reason to resign and had no plans to do so.

Stephanie Himoff was in charge of Altavista's business development in the UK.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Rebecca Pike
"The latest in a string of misfortunes to hit the dot.com sector"
President of Alta Vista Europe, Pierre Paperon
"He has made positive contributions to Altavista"
See also:

22 Aug 00 | Business
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23 Aug 00 | Business
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06 Mar 00 | Business
22 Aug 00 | Business
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