Gates: Internet firms riding a 'mini bubble'

A "mini bubble" has emerged among Internet companies, but it likely won't reach the level of the previous dot-com boom, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said.

"We are back in a mini-bubble era in terms of people expecting a lot of these valuations, but I don't think we'll see the same amount of exits the way we did," Gates said on Friday at the software giant's fifth annual online advertising conference, in response to a question.

He added that companies such as Amazon, eBay, Yahoo and Interactive Corp. are here to stay, but over time the boundaries of what those businesses do will get fuzzier.

Gates was speaking to a group of more than 500 ad executives about the future of advertising during the two-day summit, sponsored by Microsoft's MSN service. However, his speech focused little on advertising and more on his vision of the future of technology, centered on the digital home, networked devices and "seamless computing."

Gates' comments follow recent filings for public offerings by several dot-com companies, including Brightmail and Shopping.com. Small technology companies in specialized industries such as search are also fetching high prices. On Friday, Yahoo said it would buy European e-commerce provider Kelkoo for $575 million, and InfoSpace offered $160 million for Switchboard. Stocks in Net search companies are hitting new heights.

View: Read more at CNET News

News source: CNET News

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