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AT&T and Excite@Home: A family feud

AT&T's role at Excite@Home has become a case study in boardroom politics as Excite@Home counts down the hours until its shutdown at midnight Thursday.

 

Excite@Home officially goes out of business Thursday night, marking the final chapter for a networking and content giant that just a few years ago had a market capitalization of some $35 billion and was considered a serious rival to America Online.

Far worse than the typical dot-com flameout, Excite@Home's demise has affected thousands of employees and cost investors billions of dollars. It also represents the end of a Silicon Valley upstart that brought broadband to a mass audience and a dose of competition to the stodgy communications industry.

In the end, however, a disastrous merger with the Excite.com Web portal, investor pessimism and technical issues conspired to doom what was once the country's largest broadband provider. Today, nearly all of Excite@Home's 4 million customers have been transferred to its cable partners, such as AT&T Broadband.

In the aftermath, some investors and employees are questioning AT&T's deep involvement with the company, including the sharing of a networking guru. And many customers who were switched from Excite@Home remain deeply dissatisfied with slower speeds and e-mail problems at their new carriers.

AT&T, Excite@Home: A case study in boardroom politics
The tenure of one executive who served both companies has raised questions about Excite@Home's relationship with AT&T--an uneasy arrangement of both cooperation and competition.

Consumers: Stuck in the high-speed squeeze
The transition from Excite@Home has been rocky for customers and cable companies. The fallout could have ripple effects throughout the technology sector.

Excite@Home says a final goodbye
The nation's largest broadband provider will close at midnight, an outcome that few employees could have imagined during flush times.

Does the government need to take control?
Consolidation and high-profile failures have many calling for regulation, but others warn that government would stifle the industry.

AT&T: Throwing good money after bad
Was the giant a victim or villain? That is the key question when it comes to determining AT&T's role in the Excite@Home collapse.

A partnership doomed from the start
The marriage of the Excite.com and @Home fell disastrously short of expectations, largely because of a series of management blunders.

AT&T, Excite@Home: A case study in boardroom politics

 


 

Sept. 28  Excite@Home files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. AT&T agrees to buy the company's assets for $307 million. Read the story

Oct. 10  Citing a need to conserve cash, Excite@Home turns away new customers. Read the story

Oct. 24  AT&T removes four executives from Excite@Home's board of directors, saying it wants to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest. Read the story

Nov. 9  Two years after paying $7.8 billion in cash and stock for Excite.com, Excite@Home agrees to sell the money-losing Web portal for a mere $10 million. Read the story

Nov. 30  At the urging of bondholders, a federal bankruptcy court judge rules that Excite@Home can cancel contracts with its cable partners and seek more revenue through new contracts. Read the story

Dec. 1  AT&T and Excite@Home fail to agree on a new contract, prompting Excite@Home to unplug service. AT&T switches more than 800,000 customers to its own network. Read the story

Dec. 3  Comcast Cable Communications and Cox Communications agree to pay $160 million each to Excite@Home for three months of high-speed Internet service. Read the story

CNET News.com reports that AT&T has decided not to purchase the assets of Excite@Home. Read the story

Jan. 7  Cox Communications, following AT&T Broadband and Comcast, starts moving all of its customers onto its own network. Read the story

Jan. 10  Excite@Home pulls the plug on Cablevision and other smaller cable partners, leaving those subscribers without Net access. Read the story

Excite@Home announces it will close its doors Feb. 28. Read the story

 

Editors: Mike Yamamoto, Lara Wright, Jennifer Balderama
Design: Ellen Ng
Production: Mike Markovich