A Bad Quarter Ends Today (But Will It Be a Happier New Year for Tech?)
Today, most companies in the tech and Internet sector will close the books on what is likely to be a very disappointing fourth quarter and also close out what has turned out to be a mucho depressing year, which got hammered starting in the third.
While financial results will not out for some weeks–Yahoo will report on Jan. 27, for example–one does not have to be a psychic to know what’s coming: A lot of weakness, with hopes for better days ahead.
While those results are probably already prefigured into tech’s weak stocks, the news will surely not be mitigated by the expected euphoria around the inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama in the same time frame.
After all, while he is at least a little bit tech-savvy and seems committed to acting like the federal government cares a lot more about one of the most important sectors of our economy, there is no magic wand either he or his alleged CTO for America can wave to make it all better right away.
And that’s leaving out the vast start-up sector, the hundreds of privately-funded companies that don’t have to report, but are still feeling the pain of lower revenues–if they had any to speak of.
Those valuations have also been heading to the basement.
It’s a far cry from how 2008 started out for every big public digital company, as you can see from the stock chart above (click on the image to make it larger).
Consider the share prices on Jan. 2, 2008 to today, which in every case have been halved:
Yahoo (YHOO) was $23.72 and is now $12.19 today. Down 47.64 percent for the year.
Google (GOOG) was $685.19 and is now $308.84 today. Down 55.64 percent for the year.
Apple (AAPL) was $194.84 and is now $86.45. Down 56.31 percent for the year.
Amazon (AMZN) was $96.25 and is now $50.26. Down 45.67 percent for the year.
Microsoft (MSFT) was $35.22 and is now $19.40. Down 45.46 percent for the year.
And eBay (EBAY) was $32.49 and is now $14.13. Down 57.46 for the year.
Those were the days my friend, Silicon Valley thought they’d never end, to sing and dance forever and a day.
As it turned out, it was more of a swan song for Web 2.0–at least until Web 3.0, that is.