Well into 2000 already, and it would seem that the frantic pace of mergers and acquisitions in the internet sector has taken only a partial breather, entering into limbo for a week or two, then re-emerging to carry on as before. Heralding the knowledge that the millennium has arrived, mergers and acquisition activity in the sector has been as hot as ever.
In an ever-changing market, it has long been accepted that if you have the muscle but don't have something in your portfolio - and if it is crucial to your future development - then you find it, buy it and exploit the opportunities that offer themselves. So far, there have been more than 120 companies bought and sold, major strategic investments, and mergers. Many of these have a net and ecommerce slant.
The details of the AOL-Time Warner merger unfolded with a view to producing a media and comms company valued at about $350bn (£230bn). Vodafone courted Mannesmann with its ecommerce strategy, and others plan to launch ebusiness divisions and services which they may look to spin off in the future.
Warnings have been uttered that the interest in this evolving sector will slow as investors realise that the rate of return will take some time, with most internet startups still working towards their first profit.
However, these concerns seem to have ignored the fact that many companies need these businesses to ensure they are able to compete effectively on all fronts.
Increase in activity
As a result, this merger and acquisition activity is likely to increase rather than diminish. The internet and ecommerce strategy has become a measurement of the progressive and seen as the future. Many perceive its power as being well beyond the current reality, and its value is increased accordingly. No doubt its future is assured, but it remains in an early evolutionary state and many challenges still have to be met. As in any of the IT industry's specialist areas still in their infancy, the risks and rewards are that much greater. But those who have invested in the skills, security and services to enable others will continue to benefit from its growth.
The internet has been accepted and will be a significant platform for future growth. However, despite the euphoria, organisations have to remember that the internet in its current form is best exploited by those who have managed to use it to balance their existing brand and reputation. And to achieve this, they have concentrated on their core interest: ensuring that with or without an internet or ecommerce package, they have the ability to perform and grow profitably.
The channel must continue to focus on maximising its bricks-and-mortar business functions and not lay its future solely at the door of ecommerce.
It remains a big concern that many startups are seeking substantial investments when the internet still has a long way to go before it replaces the telephone for processing orders, or takes the place of traditional sales and marketing in generating business. They could well find their expectations are unrealistic.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago