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Year in Review

2000: THE INTERNET YEAR IN REVIEW
Oct-Dec

OCTOBER

¤ Vice President Al Gore puts the Internet up for sale on auction site eBay, explaining that while he will miss his creation, he needs money to duel Republican presidential contender George W. Bush in the stretch run to November.

¤ America Online announces that new members will get free Internet access for the rest of the year during the first month.

¤ In submitting its proposed schedule for the appeals court trial, Microsoft denies it is stalling, arguing there is nothing unusual about its 300-page brief, which is written in Olde Norse.

¤ Just days after pop diva Madonna won a battle to wrest control of Madonna.com by arguing she was the world's best known Madonna, Attorney General Janet Reno employs a similar argument to win the rights to VirginMary.com. Several alleged virgins, many named Mary, attempt to win the domain, but Judge Harvey Winston decides to award the domain to the Attorney General without testing her, and despite her non-Mary status. "Is Janet Reno named Mary? No," writes Judge Winston. "Is Janet Reno a virgin? That, frankly, is a question this court is not willing to contemplate."

¤ Microsoft executives continue to insist that whoever hacked into their computer system did not gain access to the source codes of its major products. However, Redmond officials concede they may never learn the identity of the culprit or culprits. In an unrelated note, Sun Microsystems surprises industry observers by releasing Sun Office, Sun NT, and Sun 2000.

NOVEMBER

¤ Hewlett Packard, the nation's No. 2 computer and office equipment maker, discloses it doesn't have anywhere to go for Thanksgiving and is "putting out feelers." Interested parties should expect 83,200 for dinner. Yorkshire pudding: 43,500. Just cornbread: 39,700.

¤ A computer virus labeled "CokeSpill," which mimics the spill of a Coca-Cola on a keyboard, infects computers at Innnntel, Suuuuun Microooosystems and DDDDellll, says a spokesman for Syyyyyymmmmmantec, whose network is also infected.

¤ As part of its staff cuts, online auction site eBay says it will auction its employees off individually. To increase interest, eBay pairs each outgoing staffer with a fine collectible. On day one, bidding on human-resources-manager- Claudia-Penton-with-a-set-of-Mr.-Peanut- snack-cups is slow, but the action on marketing-director-Randy-Keller-with- a-hand-painted-Limoges-sardine-server is quite hectic. Explains Keller: "I think it's obvious why my bids are moving. I have six years experience in product positioning and demand planning, and come with a matching server tray."

¤ Priceline announces that the press release it posted a year ago claiming the company would break even in 2001 was missing a comma. The actual phrase should have been "the company will break, even in 2001."

¤ After years of anticipation and with great fanfare, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers unveils seven new and badly needed top level domains to join .com, .org, and .net. Among the seven are .coop, .museum, and .aero. Honestly.

Year in Review

DECEMBER

¤ The world's 14 remaining users of the Netscape browser exult over the release of Netscape 6, the first new version of the browser in two years, and a product Netscape executives predict will blow away Microsoft's Internet Explorer "if this were 1997." To solidify its market position, Netscape senior vice president Jim Martin announces a "major" partnership with Apple Computer to have Netscape 6 installed on all new Apple machines, a move that Martin boasts will really break Microsoft's stranglehold on the browser market, "if this were, say, 1984."

¤ In response to Intel's statement that it will produce transistors only three atoms wide by 2005, rival chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices announces that most of its employees are no more than 14 inches tall. AMD, however, refuses to allow reporters into its facilities to verify the claim. "We would, but we can't reach the doorknobs to let you in," spokesman Ravi Chalani says in a phone interview.

¤ The clichés about how the Internet has brought people together and made the world smaller turn out to be true, as Swedish researchers report that Earth is now just 19 miles across, and that its 6 billion inhabitants are stacked 842-high on a piece of land the size Bimini.

¤ Linux continues to make inroads in the operating system market by winning support from companies such as IBM and Dell. Microsoft appeals.

¤ With CMGI at $6, Priceline at $1.50, InfoSpace at $7 and Fogdog at 66 cents, Internet investors issue a "strong hit" on analysts Tim Fogarty, John Ryding, Ullas Naik, Laura Pavlenko, Henry Blodget, and Larry Rice.

¤ America Online announces that new members will get free Internet access for life during the first month.

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