Still licking its wounds after a failed attempt to launch unmetered Net access AltaVista has abandoned attempts to become a fully-fledged portal.

The company is quitting the media portal business to return to its core search engine business, in hopes of ramping up its profitability. As a result, it will axe 25 percent of its workforce.

"While many of these business decisions have been difficult, we are now in a position to unleash our search expertise with a clear, singular focus to penetrate every layer of the search market for both consumers and businesses," said Rod Schrock, AltaVista chief executive officer and president.

AltaVista has plans to invest heavily in Net search technology. Such investments include ramping up its outlay on the vertical search arena, notably AltaVista's information service, according to the company statement.

AltaVista also plans to invest in what it terms a third-generation search service, which will be capable of incorporating into a search query users' interests and the context of the query.