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BT and Scitex pull the plug on Vio worldwide.

Tuesday, 24 April 2001
By Print 21 Online Article

The closure of the Australian subsidiary of VIO in March took the industry by surprise but it was merely a foretaste of what was to come. The application service provider (ASP) backed by British Telecom and Scitex has now closed its doors after it failed to return any profits.

Miranda Clegg, managing director, said the decision was taken last week “on purely financial grounds.”
“It was clear that break-even was still some way off,” she said. There are conflicting reports as to the fate of the company’s 700 core network users and its additional 1,000 internet users. Initial plans were for the network to be supported until July but this is now uncertain.

The demise has proved a boon for other ASPs, with WamNet in Australia picking up the lion’s share of its erstwhile competitor’s customers. Vio has 58 staff worldwide. In January Scitex failed to organise a management buyout for its share.

Vio was a printing and graphic arts industry ASP, a narrow focus which analysts blame for its failure to gain sufficient traffic. In fairness it can be said that the industry has remained hugely unimpressed with all on-line service providers, spurning their profit making add-ons in favour of simple traffic management.

Recent share market savaging and massive investments by BT in the G3 spectrum plumbed the depth of even its deep pockets. The size of the investments made by BT and Scitex in Vio is unknown, although according to Print DotCom, Ms Clegg said, “they were substantial.”

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