This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Industry Standard's Media Grok email newsletter. It is archived here for informational purposes only because The Standard's site is no more. This material is Copyright 1999-2001 by Standard Media.

Glimmers Amid the Gloom

Jan 12 2001 12:00 AM PST

Gateway and Hewlett-Packard join the procession of PC makers that have filled in the blanks in the recurring earnings story. But at least productivity is up - maybe.

Any reporter who's been covering the tech markets could write this story while sleeping: PC manufacturer X said it missed its already-reduced fourth-quarter numbers and announced a layoff. PC manufacturer Y reduced expectations for its Fourth-quarter performance. Give us 700 words. Today, X is Gateway and Y is Hewlett-Packard.

The Los Angeles Times and the New York Times exemplified the workmanlike approach of bundling the two now-familiar stories. CNNfn's coverage was wrapped in a broader story of world markets' performance and outlook. The Wall Street Journal assigned a reporter each to Gateway and HP and each turned in 700 words.

Good news was harder to come by in today's papers, but the determined could find a glimmer or two. DoubleClick's numbers came out, and net income was a bit better than analysts' (already lowered) expectations. The Journal accentuated the positive in its coverage, comparing the ad giant's results favorably with those of rivals Engage and 24/7 Media, which the markets continue to punish.

And CNET wrote up the results of a University of Texas study that insisted, against a backdrop of gloom-and-doom news, that the Internet Economy is quite healthy. The researchers had their eyes on a far larger picture than the wasteland of failed dot-coms and struggling PC makers. They focused instead on the transforming productivity gains that can result when businesses incorporate Internet technologies. CNET's Ben Heskett noted that the study was based on data collected in the first half of 2000, and this makes its relevance in mid-January dubious

Profits Down in High-Tech Industry
Los Angeles Times

Grim Reports From Hewlett and Gateway
New York Times
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Hardware to Hurt Wall St.?

Hewlett-Packard Warns Earnings Will Miss Street's Expectations
Wall Street Journal
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Gateway Earnings Badly Trail Estimates as PC Market Sours
Wall Street Journal
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DoubleClick's Net Loss Widened in Period, But Firm Broke Even on Operating Basis
Wall Street Journal
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Study Shows Continued Internet Economy Growth