Stories by David Simons

What's The Deal: The Problem with Playboy.com

At Playboy.com, the magazine's fabled centerfold staples don't mar the convenient JPEG images. That may be value-added, as is the addition of original content aimed at making Playboy.com a "lifestyle" site, fashioned after iVillage.com. But the site's January IPO filing exemplifies what's wrong with the concept of "unlocking Internet value" as pursued by many mainstream companies.

What's the Deal: Rubble Rousing

Let the deathwatch begin. The endless tallies of Super Bowl ad spending will soon give way to endless lists of Netcos that are low on cash. Handicapping survival might be ghoulish fun, but it's not a good way to spot investment opportunities. Companies on the verge of running dry aren't usually acquired at significant premiums.

What's The Deal: Misdiagnosing Healtheon/WebMD

It's enough to make Steve Case jealous. AOL stock has been under pressure because the merged AOL Time Warner Inc. will have a growth rate half that of AOL alone. But on Monday investors appeared oblivious to similar circumstances surrounding Healtheon/WebMD's $2.5 billion acquisition of Envoy, the $250 million medical claims processing unit of Quintiles Transnational Corp.

What's The Deal: Broadband Bugs Bunny

Usually, this column crunches numbers. This week I'm stuck on non-numeric questions about the AOL Time Warner Inc. deal. Since the announcement, there's been a lot of talk about "broadband content." But what exactly does that mean? And will the merged AOL Time Warner be a successful source of it?

What's The Deal: B2B, or Not 2B

It's not clear whether Tuesday's market drubbing is the start of something bigger for Net stocks. Few would argue that Internet stocks will avoid a large correction in 2000, but when the market is roaring upward, it's hard to give that idea more than lip service. Hot markets such as we've seen since October can obscure the obvious. Getting clear about what's obvious is the first step to being prepared for it.