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If I had a pound for every time someone has earnestly informed me that the internet bubble is about to burst, I wouldn’t be outlandishly rich exactly, but I could easily fund Nasa’s next mission to Mars.

If I had a pound for every time someone has earnestly informed me

that the internet bubble is about to burst, I wouldn’t be outlandishly

rich exactly, but I could easily fund Nasa’s next mission to Mars.



Internet bubbles. People seem to look at their watches a lot when

discussing this subject. It’s as if they are saying: ’Well, it’s one

o’clock now, which gives us another hour or two for lunch, and I guess

pretty much anytime after that. Another espresso, please, waiter.’



In other words, they don’t know when it will burst, but perhaps they

invested in the recent flotation of that internet travel company

everyone was talking about and didn’t make any money. The company that

used to be exceedingly popular but is now loathed by anyone who can say:

’I’d like to make a quick killing on one of these dotcom flotations

please.’



Suddenly everyone’s an expert and everyone has a view on when the bubble

will burst. Question: do you think it will be like one of those plastic

bottles of soapy bubbles you could buy and blow everywhere when you were

a child? When they popped you always got a sparkly bit of soap in your

eyes. I bet it’s going to be just like that.



Another thing. People have started throwing Microsoft into the

conversation.



It’s all part of the same thing, apparently. Endless numbers of



over-valued e-commerce companies and Microsoft. People are quoting Bill

Gates, who told the world that the stock market would crash if Microsoft

lost its anti-trust case and that maybe the world would end also. I

could be making up the bit about the world ending, but Bill was pretty

tense about the whole thing.



He was right. The Nasdaq technology stock market did take something of a

dive. This was followed by CNN and BBC News 24 running a looping story

about the bubble bursting and that it was over for the small

investor.



(Picture thousands of small investors gathered on street corners looking

up at the sky as if they were waiting for an asteroid to smash into

Times Square. Someone should have told them that it was the wrong movie.

That was Armageddon with Bruce Willis and that really tanked.)



To answer these wild points as I have raised them. Well, Bill would say

that wouldn’t he? Most sensible people seem to agree that it would be a

pretty good thing for the bubble and everyone else - apart from Bill -

if Microsoft were broken up.



AT&T didn’t do so bad post break-up and, anyway, Babysofts, or even

BabyMicros, are warm, noughties-sounding names you could give the three

little Microsofts that would be spawned if the company was broken

up.



As for those investors, get real and look at the small print. Read the

bit about investments going up as well as down. No-one could have

expected to invest in every dotcom float and make a fortune. There are

some good companies and their bubble won’t burst.



As for that travel company. It is still a great idea with a great name.

People just got greedy. The public, the owners and the bankers alike.



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