Look Whos Talking: January 8, 2001

My business phone was silent during most of the holiday season-except for all of those voice mails from C-bridge Internet Solutions.

My business phone was silent during most of the holiday season—except for all of those voice mails from C-bridge Internet Solutions. The company is still working overtime to distance itself from other struggling Web integrators. In its latest round of messages, C-bridge notes that dot-com customers will need to pay up front before doing business with C-bridge. Sounds like a good strategy. Too bad Web integrators didnt enforce that policy before the dot-com bubble burst last year.

> Another struggling Web integrator, iXL, will live to fight another day. Thats because HCL Perot Systems (HPS) has agreed to purchase 1 million iXL shares for $3 million. At $3 per share, HPS is paying a 200 percent premium for iXLs stock. In return, iXL will procure $65 million worth of HPS software and IT services through 2003.

> Hows this for a backhanded compliment? Janney Montgomery Scott LLC has upgraded Amazon. com from a "sell" to a "hold." In other words, if you own Amazon.com stock, you might want to stick with it. But if you dont own it, steer clear of it.

> Another day, another fallen ASP. This time, the victim is Breakaway Solutions, which says Q4 revenue wont meet expectations. Breakaway blamed the shortfall on a loss of business from Internet Capital Group—which suffered a meltdown of its own.

> Those rumors about Microsoft and Sega talking merger might be half-right. A trusted source in Redmond says Microsoft wants Segas software developers—but not if it comes with Segas arcade business. Youll recall that Microsoft and Sega worked together a bit on Segas Dreamcast System, which supports Windows CE. Microsoft hopes to blitz the home video game market this fall with its Xbox system—with or without Segas help.

> Michael Skubisz, CEO of Cabletron spin-off Aprisma Management Technologies, exercised a load of Cabletron options last summer, according to First Call/Thompson Financial. Unlike many other Generation X "kids" who got rich during the dot-com boom, Skubisz earned his dough. He got his start wiring buildings before moving into R&D at Cabletron. Now, hes preparing Aprisma for an eventual IPO.

Truth be told, I almost worked with Skubisz at Cabletron back in 1993. I still have Cabletrons offer letter at home. I ultimately turned down the job, walked away from a big raise and found my real calling—in journalism.