To avoid the perception that it is in the buggy-whip business…

The Globe and Mail
March 14, 2000


To avoid the perception that it is in the buggy-whip business, the post office has taken to bragging about its various technological ventures. It points out that it is experimenting with e-stamps, and continues to push its new “e-post office box,” which it launched last fall – and which looks a lot like a regular email account. Not true, says Canada Post: you can receive and pay bills too. Surprise! You can already do that with an on-line bank account, as well at some retailers’ Web sites. Not to mention that, in addition to the major banks, some pretty hefty technology players are busy chasing the market for what’s called “bill presentment and payment.”

Does Canada Post have any special powers that might make it easier for them to do this than anyone else? Only that they’re a monopoly, of course – meaning that even if you wanted to go into the e-stamp business, you couldn’t. In the United States, several companies are already offering competitive e-stamp services, with the blessing of the U.S. Postal Service – here, Canada Post plans to run the only one.

And if you’re thinking couriers are bound to cut into the post office’s business too, delivering all the things people are buying on-line, Canada Post is way ahead of you: they already control Purolator, one of the country’s largest courier companies.

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