Earthlink to cut 900 jobs

There is a bloodbath going on on Peachtree Street today. Earthlink (my former employer) is laying off almost 50% of its workforce. While I expect some of those jobs will be outsourced or offshored, or both (they are different), that is mostly irrelevant to my point.

Since 2000 when Earthlink and Mindspring merged, there was no one with vision at the helm. Anyone who followed the Internet industry knew that dial-up was gonna die and high-speed would be necessary to use the future internet. However Earthlink never managed to build a coherent business model. They attempted to do VOIP 3 years after Vonage became a household word. The poured millions into selling $500 phones so spoiled rich kids could myspace in class. And their Muni-Wifi project went so bad they fired the EVP responsible for that business unit.

As a free-market capitalist I’m glad to see Earthlink die. There are still (maybe?) many talented good people working there, and releasing them into the wild means that their talents will actually be put to good use.

Updated to add: Wow, In January they’ll have only 4 people running all of their mail. If you’re a customer I’d recommend you get a new email address now and start giving it out to people.

11 comments

  1. Carpe Forem says:

    Free Market, I don’t think so.

    We have such short term memories. And I have to admit mines a little fuzzy on this issue as well. But, as I remember it, didn’t BellSouth avoid monopoly charges by making a deal with Earthlink?
    This is what I remember: Mindspring was kicking ass and taking names when it came to internet access and was complaining that they needed access to the high speed dsl in order to continue to grow. BellSouth saw them as a threat and denied access. Mindspring pursued monopoly charges. BellSouth made deal with Earthlink (somewhere between 2-10% of the market). BellSouth declares “see, we’re not a monopoly”, or something like that. Mindspring is thereby, having no choice, forced to merge with Earthlink. Then, BellSouth buys Cingular (to control the wireless), AT&T buys BellSouth and becomes both “AT&T wireless” and “the new AT&T .”
    I think the sound coming from Peachtree street is either the death moans of competition or the labor pains of the rebirth of the AT&T monopoly. Or both.

  2. Chris says:

    You forgot the Telecom deregulation act of ’96. Basically that allowed companies like Covad to become CLECS (Competitive Local Exchange Carriers).

    Problem is, Earthlink was too stupid to actually buy its own infrastructure. They resold from other CLECs. That created a massive finger-pointing fest between the ISP who talks to the customer, the CLEC who resells the line, and the Telco which actually owns the line.

  3. jm says:

    I loved Mindspring for years. I ditched Earthlink after six months. The service went down hill that fast, dropped carriers, slow speeds, etc. Dialup, those were the good old days…

  4. Greg Greene says:

    I think the sound coming from Peachtree street is either the death moans of competition or the labor pains of the rebirth of the AT&T monopoly. Or both.

    Amen to that. The ‘free market’ for internet ceased to exist some time in the early part of the decade; what we have right now is a regulated duopoly, nothing more.

  5. SpaceyG says:

    Ma AT&T grows more and more obese every day now. Maybe one day she’ll collapse under her own extreme weight issues. About the best we can hope for.

  6. Chris says:

    Whats really sad about Earthlink’s demise is that they had a product that would kick AT&T’s butt. It would have been a VOIP product that would work when power or internet was out. And you could use as many phones as you like on your home’s wiring.

    Alas the incompetence of Garry & Kerner and the MIS morons, combined with their out-sourcing (no one on a phone had the power to fix a problem) made the product impossible to get.

Comments are closed.