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How the mighty have fallen

A decade after technology companies looked set to take over the world, the original players are stumbling one by one or disappearing altogether.

Globe and Mail Update

Another Internet icon may be relegated to the history books.

A decade after technology companies looked set to take over the world, the original players are stumbling one by one or disappearing altogether.

Yahoo Inc., founded in 1994 as "Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web," predated rival Google and was one of the industry's titans. Its possible demise as an independent company sparked nostalgia among many who've followed the sector.

"Yahoo just is synonymous with the Internet in so many ways," said Rick Broadhead, Toronto-based technology author and analyst. "For many of us, it was our first road map to the Internet."

It's not alone. Here are some peers that are also struggling:

AOL: The unit of Time Warner has been slashing thousands of jobs as it cuts costs and tries to focus on online advertising. Making matters tougher, yesterday's announcement now leaves AOL with fewer potential suitors, analysts said.

Amazon.com: The stock has dropped 19 per cent this year and last week's release of financial results, which showed narrower margins and a disappointing outlook, didn't help sentiment.

EBay: Meg Whitman announced her departure as chief executive officer last month after a decade at the helm, as the company struggles with little growth in users and number of items sold. It's still profitable, but guidance for this quarter disappointed analysts.

Netscape Navigator: Will officially die on March 1. It was the first commercial Web browser, and the world's most popular, but America Online has decided it will no longer support the browser.

Tavia Grant

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