MSN and Bell Canada to close Sympatico.MSN.ca on Tuesday: creating own separate sites

5086.msnca_thumb_3eaafa62 News Microsoft and BCE Inc., owner of Bell Canada, will shut down Canada’s most popular portal site, sympatico.msn.ca, on Tuesday.  Each company will then launch their own Canadian sites, MSN.ca, and sympatico.ca.   The two have been in partnership on sympatico.msn.ca since 2003, and although the websites will separate, a partnership will continue on, according to an article in The Globe Investor:

Bell and Microsoft have signed a new, three-year arrangement that will see the two sharing Web traffic and some services. Microsoft, for example, will let Bell sell some of the ads on its Hotmail and Messenger services. And Bell has agreed to make Microsoft’s new search engine, Bing, the exclusive search tool on Sympatico.

Microsoft plans to add global content to MSN.ca that it already has licensing deals for, such as content from the BBC, and has already added about 60 staff to prepare for the launch.

“We are going to step up our game in the Canadian market and bring [the MSN portal] up to the level we have had in the rest of the world.”

said Owen Sagness, VP of Microsoft Canada’s consumer and online group, as quoted in the Globe article.