The Buzz: March 5, 2001

Bill gates spoke, and the earth moved

Earthquake Rattles Seattle

Bill gates spoke, and the earth moved.

Actually, only a part of the earth moved last week when a strong earthquake—with a magnitude of 6.8—rocked the Pacific Northwest.

The quake injured about 250 people and caused more than $1 billion in damages.

And it was only coincidence that it happened when Bill Gates was speaking. Microsofts founder was giving a speech to about 500 people at a Seattle hotel when the chandeliers began to shake and lights fell from the ceiling.

The earthquake struck near the capital city of Olympia, about 35 miles from Seattle—and was followed the next day by a 3.4-magnitude temblor.

Site Layoffs, PGA Lawsuit

Count and as the latest e-tailers to fall victim to the changing economy. eToys, saddled with about $274 million in debt, said last week that it will file for federal bankruptcy protection and warned investors that its stock was worthless. Company officials plan to close the site by March 8 and have sent termination notices to the 283 workers. cut 125 of its 230-person staff as part of a restructuring plan it hopes will save about $70 million. The company then filed a $45 million lawsuit against the PGA Tour. The suit alleges the professional golf organization breached a contract with when it contracted with USA Networks to have the network build the PGA Tours Web site.

Loudcloud, AOL Partner

America Online last week signed an agreement to have Loudcloud host and manage AOLs merchant e-commerce services, including its QuickCheckout wallet technology.

The partnership will give merchants that are unable to develop an in-house e-commerce infrastructure the chance to do business on the Web.