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Introduction

When Rod Schrock, then a high-flying executive for Compaq Computer, was asked what the company should do with its AltaVista internet portal, he told them to sell it to Yahoo. It was perhaps not the most auspicious start to his internet career, but in early 1999 he was handed the job anyway of improving AltaVista's fortunes.

The company was sitting snugly - far too snugly for most observers in the second tier of search engines, alongside Lycos, Snap.com, Go and Excite@Home. It was Schrock's task to try and differentiate AltaVista from its rivals and, if he could, elevate the group to the status of the market giants, America Online, Yahoo and MSN.


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