Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Old Guard Web Companies Acting All Mature



We like our news new. We like new companies, new vision, fresh pioneers in a new field and even with older companies like Apple, new product announcements. This is especially evident within the web space where we just want to know what we wacky people are up to now. And though bandwidth restrictions and connectivity to the home both wired and wireless provides an extensive stream of news on what and who we can download from now (HBO Joins the Movie Download Derby), there are a number of companies still out there who over a decade ago were the news makers.

Checking in on their news bites shows some of the distinctions that come from being around for a while.

I am reporting that the New York Times is reporting that the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Meg Whitman is retiring as chief executive of eBay. At 51 years of age, Meg has served as CEO there for 10 years. The articles talk a bit about how she has been a bit conservative in her oversight of the company, and refer to their current challenges against emerging competitors. But this isn’t a company with no significant revenue being valued in the billions, this is a company that makes about 6 billion in revenue a year.

In April of 1996, Yahoo completed its public offering of stock at 13 dollars a share. It is valued at around 27 billion dollars and is profitable at 51 cents a share. Yahoo is also reportedly set to lay off hundreds of workers as part of an effort to “sharpen its focus and boost its sagging stock”. I am bringing this news to you via WCSH in Portland, Maine which is bringing it to you from…...The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Getty Images has been around for a while and after merging with PhotoDisc, Inc. consolidated the digital image market further with its purchases of Digital Vision, iStockPhoto, and Stockbyte. They are a major seller of stock photos and other licensed media and compete with Corbis. Just so you know, I’m letting on that CNET is saying the The New York Times is letting us all know that they are looking for a buyer. I’m not sure where the Wall Street Journal is weighing in on this.

And just for good measure, Google has reached that point in its maturity level to begin the flow of Google millionaire stories. You may recall how they used to spring like a fountain from Microsoft during the 90’s. Their numbers are great, so like Shahrazad’s 1001 Arabian Nights stories, they are likely to spring from the pages of our local papers, newscasts and of course the NYT and WSJ for some time. CNET gives us a preview with this story.

This is of course just a sampling, but with every new virtual world, digital device and GPS subcutaneous tracking system, we can reflect back on the youth of some of our middle ages companies who themselves sprang into the forefront of the news from more than a decade past, during the onset of the web.

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