The year was 1999. Prince was still alive and partying. George Shaheen was going to make a cool $100m in bonuses as the new CEO of Webvan, an online grocery delivery startup a bit like Ocado.
Yahoo was the #1 internet company that everybody wanted to copy, and everyone was going to buy their clothes from Boo.com, ‘trying them on' using a horrible Macromedia Flash browser plug-in.
Oh, yes. And if you wanted a half-decent internet connection you had to head into the office because at home all you probably had was an excruciating dial-up service.
This didn't stop investors throwing billions of their own and other people's money at tech stocks and, in particular, internet companies. They were staking out the digital turf for the giant, global retailers of the future and, while they didn't make much money in 1999, they were going to be corporate monsters by the time the 2016 came around.
But just months into 2000, it all ground to a halt. Many companies weren't making nearly as much money as they'd claimed. Rather, they were doing contra-deals with each other and booking the value of those deals as revenue to disguise the fact that their revenues were not rising nearly fast enough. Indeed, for most, their funding would run out long before they turned a profit.
On top of this, all their expensive servers and networking equipment (there was no such thing as 'cloud' back then) were bought on tick, so when they went pop it had a knock-on effect across the real economy.
The hottest website on the internet for a while was FuckedCompany.com set up by entrepreneur Philip Kaplan, aka Pud, to chronicle the latest dotcom bankruptcies, and to stir the pot over which would be next.
So, should Pud re-establish FuckedCompany.com? A number of signs indicate that perhaps he should.
5. Revenue growth has dried up for the big vendors
HP (before splitting in two), IBM, Oracle. All the big boys are struggling to put positive numbers on the board. Of course, companies like IBM and HP have obfuscated matters with mergers, acquisitions and divestments, but the bottom line is that they are almost all struggling to achieve top-line growth.
Even companies that have chalked up decent percentage points of growth in recent years have seen sales stall and even start to fall. Microsoft's most recent quarterly results indicated a decline in revenue. The company registered overall revenue down on the same quarters in previous years throughout 2015 and into 2016.
Likewise Apple, which has achieved a good 15 years of impressive growth on the back of ever-more popular products, has also seen revenue growth slow and experienced declines in a number of business areas, such as iPads. The company's last quarterly figures, like Microsoft's, indicate that sales have not just flattened, but are starting to fall.
Apple's next quarterly results, due in July, should make interesting reading, and if they're still heading in the same direction come Christmas don't expect a happy new year if you've money invested in, well, pretty much anything.
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