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Year in review: Fabulous flameouts

Fueled by news of war and continued economic malaise, the dot-com disaster that struck in 2000 continued to topple big companies this year. How did it get so bad, and when will it end?


Fabulous flameouts
Year of the snake is year of Chapter 11

Last year's financial uppercut was followed by a body blow in 2001.

There was nowhere to hide from the beatings in the technology sector. Internet companies flopped, while communications carriers, hardware makers and e-tailers begged customers to be more liberal with their cash.

Despite wishes that the bad times would surely pass, each month brought news of more companies filing for bankruptcy protection or going out of business entirely.

The first wave of e-commerce failures, including the well-funded Webvan, was quickly followed by consolidation and bankruptcies in the media and communications sectors. Excite@Home? Unplugged. The Industry Standard? Folded and spindled. Napster? Muted.

Most companies blamed the economy for their financial woes, and government watchers gave them fodder. By midyear, they confirmed the obvious: We were in a recession.

But the troubles started long before the economy went belly-up and bombs started dropping on Afghanistan.

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 Excite@Home's rise and fall
Melissa Francis, correspondent, CNET

End of the line for Excite@Home
The company crumbles in court and spins off subscribers to cable partners. Customers, caught in the downdraft, find themselves facing slower speeds, lost e-mail and higher fees.
December 3, 2001
Webvan runs out of gas
Once a poster child for the promise of a new way of shopping online, grocer Webvan runs out of gas and closes. CEO George Shaheen, however, leaves with a full shopping cart.
July 9, 2001
Digital Darwinism: The strong survive
Small broadband providers struggled against communication giants such as Sprint, AT&T, SBC and BellSouth. The result? Layoffs, bankruptcies and equipment auctions.
February 1, 2001
Is bankruptcy a good thing?
Exodus said it would make itself "more secure." Excite@Home said it would "protect value." But how many dot-com companies actually came out of Chapter 11?
October 2, 2001
Hangovers are always painful
After thousands of their fellow tech workers are laid off, the ones still standing find themselves working longer hours, taking on more responsibility--and earning less money.
November 5, 2001
Magazines, like money, burn fast
Once a must-read for the digerati, The Industry Standard shuts down after blazing bright, only to become a reflection of the very downturn it covered in print and online.
August 17, 2001
Online music? Can't hear it
Napster falls into obscurity after court beatings and political wrangling. Copycats face similar fates. Subscription services work to get online, but who's paying?
May 8, 2001
Playing the dot-com blame game
Historians paint a not-so-flattering portrait of the Net era and its players--who, in turn, are engaged in an ugly game of finger-pointing. Meanwhile, employees are left with little.
August 7, 2001

• Kozmo to shut down
• Rise and fall of Covad
• NorthPoint a lesson in size
• Magazines torn apart
• Net radio muted
• Dot-com Dostoyevskys chronicle demise
• AltaVista: In search of a turning point
• Memory makers in the dumps
• Transmeta: Are the chips down?
• Emachines agrees to buyout