Stories by Jen Muehlbauer

Lucent parties like its 1999

Do you miss big IPOs? Lucent Technologies Inc. does. The offering of Lucent's microelectronics spinoff Agere Inc. might be worth up to US$7.4 billion. Even conservative estimates ($6.48 billion) place it as the second-biggest US IPO, after AT&T Wireless Services Inc.'s offering last year.

Does Chemdex Need a Mommy?

Forbes profiled a different colorful CEO this week, using the recently popular print-mag formula of, "Look at the grayhair who showed those dot-com whippersnappers how it's done." This time it's Robin Abrams, chief operating officer of the b-to-b firm Chemdex.

'Biggest Online Grocer' Not Who You Think It Is

It's making a profit, it claims to be the biggest online grocer in the world, and Americans have probably never heard of it. It's the British supermarket chain Tesco, and it got a glowing write-up in The Economist this week. Fortunately, the magazine balanced its patriotic pride with some questions about Tesco's future.

Peter Neupert's Drug Deals

Former Microsoft Corp. exec Peter Neupert led Drugstore.com to the No. 1 spot in its market, but keeping it there might be harder than figuring out how HMOs really work.

It's 10:30 a.m.: Can You, Uh, Yahoo?

Yahoo Inc. reportedly fell victim to a denial-of-service outage Monday, spawning media coverage that went something like the refrain to "New York, New York": "If hacks can make it there, they can make it anywhere." It wasn't the two-to-three hours of Yahoo withdrawal that had the media twitching, but the vulnerability of the big boys to an attack variously called "classic," "basic," "common" and "simple."

Simon Says: Buy Me!

CNET announced Thursday that it would plunk down 11.3 million shares of stock - a whopping $700 million or so - to buy the price-comparison site mySimon. To reflect its expansion beyond the tech sector, CNET will also change its name to CNET Networks.

Ship happens: Same-Day Delivery Woes

Ordering online gets easier with practice. Actually receiving what you ordered, however, can be more of a challenge. Until goods can be beamed up, Star Trek-style, e-commerce companies will keep coming up with new delivery strategies.

Half.com Launches Online Garage Sale

If you've heard of the Philadelphia startup Half.com, it's probably because the company persuaded Halfway, Ore., to change its name. The newly minted town of Half.com got plenty of buzz, but no one seemed sure what its corporate namesake actually planned to sell. On Jan. 18, Business Week peeked into the business model.

Couch Peddlers Love B-to-B, Too

For a while now, stores have been selling furniture online, even as the media scoffs at the very idea. An August Forbes article compared buying furniture online to "marrying someone you've met in a chat room, but have never actually seen in person." Now it seems that furniture dot-coms have caught on to customers' unease and embraced everyone's favorite buzzword: business-to-business.

Microsoft's Monty Python Defense

Cartoon troublemaker Bart Simpson is known for the phrase "I didn't do it. Nobody saw me do it. You can't prove anything." Read today's news and you'll hear something similar from Microsoft. It filed a legal document Tuesday telling Judge Jackson it didn't violate the Sherman Antitrust Act, and even if it did, the government didn't prove it well enough back in November.

Hype, Hype - Hooray!

QUIET! WE'VE GOT A VERY BIG SECRET! SHHHH! That's the main marketing tactic for Transmeta, the star-studded startup that's generated copious buzz by loudly refusing to discuss its business plan. The rumors should end Wednesday, when the company comes out of seclusion and gives a press conference.

Smart Appliances: Dumb Idea?

In 1950, science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury envisioned the creepy Happylife Home. "It clothed and fed and rocked them to sleep and played and sang and was good to them," he wrote. But Bradbury never thought of Internet-ready refrigerators. Some onlookers aren't sure why we're getting them now.

Year-end Wrap-ups Wrapping Up?

The print media performed its final (we hope) autopsy on the Christmas e-commerce season this week. While some sites died with the season, others continued to suffer from holiday hangovers brought on by too little revenue food and ostensibly drunken budgeting for ads.

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