Royal Mail pulls plug on ViaCode digital certificate

R. A. Hettinga rah at
Thu May 30 09:11:36 EDT 2002

Royal Mail pulls plug on ViaCode digital certificate
By John Leyden
Posted: 29/05/2002 at 12:15 GMT

The Royal Mail has pulled the plug on its Viacode digital certificate
business after it failed to reach profitability.

A spokesman for Royal Mail confirmed a statement by the British Chamber of
Commerce, which resells the service, that ViaCode is to cease trading due
to "slow development of the market and the company's unsustainable
financial position".

Consignia (the parent company of Royal Mail) is losing £1.5 million a day
and looking to cuts costs, the spokesman explained. Although Royal Mail
continues to believe ViaCode is a good product and fits well with its core
business, it is unable to sustain investment in the business because its
"revenues have been insufficient to achieve profitability". The decision to
close ViaCode comes after unsuccessful attempts by Royal Mail to sell it or
partner with another technology developer in providing the service.

Earlier this month, ViaCode informed its customers (many of who operate in
the public sector, including health) of its decision to withdraw the
service from the market.

A Reg reader in an NHS Trust who first informed us that the service would
be withdrawn said the decision left a large number of health service
digital certificate projects in limbo. NHS staff will have to look for
partners to take projects over.

A spokesman for Royal Mail said it would assist customers in migration to
other suppliers as ViaCode winds down its operations before its closure at
the end of December.

He added that Royal Mail will also try to employ the 32 people working on
the ViaCode project in other parts of its business, and expressed hopes
that compulsory redundancies will prove unnecessary. The demise of the
ViaCode digital cert also reduces the UK's Government Gateway certificate
count from two to one. Oh dear... ®

R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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