Excite@Home officially goes out of business Thursday night, marking the final chapter for a networking and content giant that just a few years ago had a market capitalization of some $35 billion and was considered a serious rival to America Online.
Far worse than the typical dot-com flameout, Excite@Home's demise has affected thousands of employees and cost investors billions of dollars. It also represents the end of a Silicon Valley upstart that brought broadband to a mass audience and a dose of competition to the stodgy communications industry.
In the end, however, a disastrous merger with the Excite.com Web portal, investor pessimism and technical issues conspired to doom what was once the country's largest broadband provider. Today, nearly all of Excite@Home's 4 million customers have been transferred to its cable partners, such as AT&T Broadband.
In the aftermath, some investors and employees are questioning AT&T's deep involvement with the company, including the sharing of a networking guru. And many customers who were switched from Excite@Home remain deeply dissatisfied with slower speeds and e-mail problems at their new carriers.
AT&T, Excite@Home: A case study in boardroom politics
Consumers: Stuck in the high-speed squeeze
The transition from Excite@Home has been rocky for customers and cable companies. The fallout could have ripple effects throughout the technology sector.
Excite@Home says a final goodbye
Does the government need to take control?
AT&T: Throwing good money after bad
A partnership doomed from the start
Cable companies say no sweat
Will DSL reap rewards?
Blunders aplenty in broadband talks
AT&T customers first to fall
Was the @Home merger doomed?
Sept. 28 Excite@Home files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. AT&T agrees to buy the company's assets for $307 million. Read the story
Oct. 10 Citing a need to conserve cash, Excite@Home turns away new customers. Read the story
Oct. 24 AT&T removes four executives from Excite@Home's board of directors, saying it wants to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest. Read the story
Nov. 9 Two years after paying $7.8 billion in cash and stock for Excite.com, Excite@Home agrees to sell the money-losing Web portal for a mere $10 million. Read the story
Nov. 30 At the urging of bondholders, a federal bankruptcy court judge rules that Excite@Home can cancel contracts with its cable partners and seek more revenue through new contracts. Read the story
Dec. 1 AT&T and Excite@Home fail to agree on a new contract, prompting Excite@Home to unplug service. AT&T switches more than 800,000 customers to its own network. Read the story
Dec. 3 Comcast Cable Communications and Cox Communications agree to pay $160 million each to Excite@Home for three months of high-speed Internet service. Read the story
CNET News.com reports that AT&T has decided not to purchase the assets of Excite@Home. Read the story
Jan. 7 Cox Communications, following AT&T Broadband and Comcast, starts moving all of its customers onto its own network. Read the story
Jan. 10 Excite@Home pulls the plug on Cablevision and other smaller cable partners, leaving those subscribers without Net access. Read the story
Excite@Home announces it will close its doors Feb. 28. Read the story
Editors: Mike Yamamoto, Lara Wright, Jennifer Balderama
Design: Ellen Ng
Production: Mike Markovich