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2000: The year of living dangerously

2000: The year of living dangerously

January 1: Calendar flips to 2000 -- and computers worldwide don't melt down. Credit goes to proper preparation. Memo to Y2K survivalists: Relax.

January 10: Alert the media: America Online and Time Warner announce year's first mega-merger.

January 12: Twenty six domestic and international airlines form Orbitz, an online discount-fare finder. Takeoff delayed until June 2001.

January 13: "I'm sorta outta here," says Bill Gates, who hands over reins as Microsoft CEO to Steve Ballmer. Gates becomes chief software architect.

January 14: Dow Jones Industrial Average peaks at 11908 and closes at an all-time high of 11722.

January 21: Recording Industry Association of America sues MP3.com Inc for copyright violation, launching what would be a year of digital music litigation.

January 30: As the Rams take on the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV, 17 Internet companies buy ads at $2.2 million per 30-second spot.

February

February 7: Denial-of-service hacker attacks lasting two days cause intermittent shutdowns of Amazon.com, Buy.com, CNN.com, eBay, E-Trade Securities, Yahoo and ZDnet. European mobile phone titans Vodafone Airtouch and Mannesmann answer call to merge.

February 8: Judge orders Toronto-based IcraveTV to stop illegally Webcasting American and Canadian TV shows. No margin e-tailer Buy.com goes public at $US27. In a harbinger of coming e-commerce turbulence, its stock sinks almost immediately.

February 25: Big Three automakers -- Ford, DaimlerChrysler and GM -- form Covisint, an online exchange designed to consolidate auto parts buying.

March

March 1: IPO mania strikes China as Tom.com reaches a $2.5 billion market cap on first day of trading in Hong Kong. The "infotainment portal" has barely five pages of content.

March 2: Under FTC scrutiny and pressure from privacy advocates, DoubleClick announces it will cease profiling customers based on data gathered online.

March 7: The Nasdaq breaks through 5000. Reaches all-time high of 5132 three days later. Buy, buy, buy!

March 10: Let the games begin: Sony and Nintendo shiver as Microsoft announces it will release Xbox, its foray into videogame systems, in the second half of 2001.

March 14: Stephen King shoots into e-publishing with online-only release of Riding the Bullet.

April

April 3: Eighteen months after trial opens, Microsoft found guilty of state and federal antitrust violations. Federal Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce gives up on making an online sales tax recommendation.

April 14: Last day of a bubble-bursting week in which the Nasdaq loses 25 per cent and closes at 3321. Dot-com millionaires suddenly aren't. Sell, sell, sell!

April 21: Children's Online Privacy Protection Act takes effect.

April 25: Elian Gonzalez spoof of Budweiser "Wazzup" ads is an online hoot. Just one problem: Associated Press wants credit for use of copyrighted photo.

May

May 1: Unable to agree on terms with Disney, Time Warner Cable flexes muscle by blocking ABC broadcasts. Antitrust regulators are watching.

May 4: "I Love You" virus, aka "Joke" and "Very Funny", attacks PCs around the world, wiping out millions of pirated MP3 and porn files.

May 10: In response to Metallica lawsuit, Napster blocks access to thousands of users with the band's songs on their hard drives.

May 16: After three relaunches and a sex scandal, Digital Entertainment Network throws a closing-down party.

May 17: Upscale e-tailer Boo.com shuts its doors after blowing through $US120 million in six months. Plans to relaunch next year under tight-fisted new management.

May 18: Live from Cannes, Victoria's Secret's 22 minute fashion show slinks online, drawing 2 million viewers.

June

June 7: US District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson orders Microsoft split in two.

June 22: A federal appeals court backs AT&T Cable in its effort to deny competing ISPs access to broadband pipes in Portland, Oregon.

June 23: Bears take a swipe at Amazon.com, lopping 19 per cent off its $14 billion market cap after a debt analyst sees stoplights on the road to profitability.

June 24: Bill Clinton delivers first Webcast presidential address.

June 27: Sprint-WorldCom merger collapses after Justice Department threatens court action to block the alliance.

July

July 4: Limp Bizkit's free summer tour -- sponsored by Napster -- kicks off in Chicago.

July 10: In biggest tech merger ever, fiber-optic giant JDS Uniphase says it plans to acquire SDL, top maker of pump lasers for optics transmissions, for $US41 billion.

July 11: News organisations reveal Carnivore, the FBI's secret e-mail surveillance technology. Civil liberties and privacy groups protest; Department of Justice investigates.

July 24: Another telco goes multinational: Deutsche Telekom announces its plan to buy US wireless provider VoiceStream for $51 billion.

July 26: Trial judge orders Napster to close shop and panicked users race to grab last-minute MP3s. Not to worry: two days later, an appeals court halts the shutdown.

August

August 11: Value America files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection; becomes first major online retailer to "shift strategy".

August 21: Some 52,000 Verizon strikers return to work, ending new economy's first major labour dispute.

August 25: Phony Emulex press release goes out over PR-agency Internet Wire. In the hour before trading is halted, investors knock $2.5 billion off the company's market cap.

August 28: Bowing to the digital era, New York Stock Exchange begins trading equities priced in decimals instead of fractions. The number of dot-com layoffs for the year breaks 10,000. By December it will approach 30,000.

September

September 5: Plans for splashy entertainment site Pop.com shelved after big-shot backers -- DreamWorks, Imagine and Vulcan Ventures -- try to micromanage content.

September 13: Chase Manhattan announces plan to acquire J.P. Morgan for $US36 billion. Move comes in wake of Credit Suisse buying Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette and UBS buying PaineWebber.

September 16: NBC's exclusive coverage of Sydney Olympics begins. Tape-delayed broadcasts send viewers flocking to the Web for timely results.

September 26: US Supreme Court delays Microsoft breakup by kicking appeal to lower court.

October

October 1: Digital signature law takes effect.

October 5: Under scrutiny by European Union trust busters, EMI and Warner Music call off $20 billion merger.

October 18: Clinton signs law doubling the number of H1-B visas for foreign high-tech workers to 195,000.

October 25: AT&T reveals plans to break into four parts. A few days later, WorldCom and British Telecom announce similar restructuring moves. Optical summer cools: Nortel stock falls almost 30 per cent on an earnings warning, dragging down Ciena, Corning and JDS Uniphase.

October 28: Slate columnist Jamin Raskin suggests Nader voters in battleground states swap votes with Gore backers. Within hours, online voter exchanges pop up in Florida, Michigan and Minnesota.

October 31: Napster teams up with German media company Bertelsmann. The deal will open BMG's recordings database to MP3 users -- if Napster figures out a way to charge for the files.

November

November 7: Voters go to polls, then visit online news sites in record numbers, hoping in vain to learn the winner of presidential contest.

November 15: As the holiday shopping season kicks off, two unions begin organising Amazon's warehouse and customer service workers.

November 16: ICANN selects seven new top-level domain names including .info, .biz and .name. Among the also-rans: .xxx, .kids.

November 20: In what may be a first in international censorship, a French court orders Yahoo to block access to auctions of Nazi paraphernalia.

November 28: About 9 million viewers log on to MSN.com for Madonna concert Webcast.

November 30: The Nasdaq ends November at 2598 -- the worst month-long slide (22.9 per cent) since October 1987 crash.

December

December 5: Who let the bulls out? In its biggest percentage gain ever, the Nasdaq jumps 10.5 per cent to 2890.

December 16: e-tailer Pets.com closed its doors in November, but as the Christmas crunch arrives, a toy version of the company's spokespuppet lives on as a hot gift.

December 21: More Nasdaq carnage -- a 21-month low. The tech stock barometer plunges to a new low for Y2K (2332 points). This is down 42 per cent on the year's opening and 54 per cent on the March 10 high.


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