Pointcast, the push technology pioneer, has finally been sold, but the paltry price tag of less than $10 million has cast a shadow over the spiralling value of internet companies.
US vendor Launchpad Technologies, developer of the 'ewallet' consumer shopping utility and owned by Net investment firm Idealab, has bought Pointcast in a deal valued at about $7 million. This compares to the $400 million offered by News Corporation to Pointcast in 1997.
Pointcast's content delivery technology will be integrated with ewallet's e-commerce desktop tools to provide online consumers with a range of products and services.
But analysts warned that internet companies must learn from this negative turnaround in Pointcast's fortunes. Melissa Bane, e-commerce analyst at Boston's Yankee Group, said: 'The lesson in the Pointcast story is, beware internet greed. Turning down a $400 million offer from News Corporation is something Chris Hassett (Pointcast founder) will have to live with for the rest of his life.'
The sale comes at the same time as it was confirmed that USA Networks has canned its attempt to takeover internet portal company Lycos (PC Dealer, 12 May). The company pulled out of the deal because of strong opposition from Lycos' main shareholder, CMGI.
Bane said: 'Wall Street could be accused of the same greed by damning the USA Networks/Lycos deal. The fact is that in today's market, some business people are allowing greed to cloud their ability to identify business opportunities.'
Pointcast enjoyed success as the creator of push technology which delivered specified Web content onto desktops. But corporates later complained that such systems caused huge bottlenecks on their networks. The vendor had been looking for an investor since it scrapped plans for an IPO in July.
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