Re: Layoffs

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By mellowman
August 10, 2001

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I have been reading this board now for about 3 years, and I think I have posted about 7 times...really nothing substantial. I worked in sales also for about 3 years, rode the wave, felt the crash and resigned in April (Before Bell was gone and Patti came on).

This will be my last post (my average ended up being one every 4 1/2 months), and then I will delete this ticker from the MF Boards.

First of all, an incredible amount of people worked very hard, for a very long stretch. The work ethic we had in sales was diehard. We cared and fought. When the merger with @Home happened we were so made all the sense in the world. Marry content with connectivity (AOL had substantiated that model). Marry content with high speed connectivity was even better. Excite was #3 in traffic, and #2 in revenue. @Homes base of subs was tiny, but had a couple of quarters of triple digit growth.

Big point however was that AT&T had announced the acquisition of TCI, which in effect made AT&T the largest voice in the merger of @Home and Excite.

The demise of this company was manyfold, and I don't plan on trying to name them all. A few....

  • AT&T found themselves with a big Internet/Broadband play at a time when they were trying to become the biggest cable company in the world so they could deliver local telephone service. It became quickly apparent that they have near zero interest in content.

  • I don't know, nor care anymore on who was the brainchild behind the 1 BILLION dollars in media acquisitions this company made. I don't know if the real number ended up being 1B with the stock plummet, but there was a ridiculous amount of spending.

  • AOL and their cries of open access in early 1999 took this stock off its highs, and it never recovered. All politics, all big business. AOL's next move is to buy Time Warner and their CABLE/content empire. Take a wild guess at how much AOL pushed for open access at this point.

  • In today's ad market, it is very hard to run a media business on the West Coast as ATHM attempted.

    This company was strapped from the beginning. The board consisted of some of the strongest personalities in the Telecom business, and hard decisions were not able to be made. The worst part was and continues to be the slow death. I'd like anybody to name a single Internet company, which had so much promise and ended up like this. I remember when it was inconceivable to think that this would not be a legitimate media company, and it still is sometimes hard to believe what happened. The biggest and most important thing at this point is that the people who were involved, both employees and stockholders, learn from what happened. I hope the folks who were let go are ready to attack the market, and put the [bull] they experienced behind them. They have to because T has always looked the other way.