March 13, 2001, 4:54 PM — Disney pulled the plug on its Go.com portal this week, laying off 400 employees and absorbing its remaining Web operations unit back into the parent company.
While Go.com was an Internet failure, Disney clearly has the resources to recover from the money-losing venture and try again. But what about companies like Pets.com and Mercata that can't recover and simply close shop and cease to exist?
A story in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal says such companies may be in for tough labor disputes thanks to a law that's not widely known among the Internet sect. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, Act, says that a company with more than 100 employees must give 60 days notice before mass layoffs or shutdowns, or its employees may be entitled to 60 days back pay and other compensation.
Awareness of the WARN Act is growing among "new economy" companies, although suits are so far infrequent, reports the Wall Street Journal. Perhaps that's because along with our new economy thinking comes an acceptance of job insecurity. A dot- com is a gamble, and often there's another offer around the corner if it fails.
That's the thinking of a friend of mine who was among dozens of employees laid off from Akamai Tuesday. His attitude? "It's not fun, but it's not the end of the world by any means."
Now on to today's news.
Nondisclosure agreements weren't enough to keep beta copies of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6 under wraps. Two software sites got hold of preview copies of the Web browser's next release and made them available for download on Monday. Microsoft put an end to the downloading, but not before thousands of copies were leaked.
Six years perseverance finally paid off for Hewlett-Packard. The company landed a plum $2 million deal with the Department of Defense, which will use HP OpenView Network Node Manager software to manage network devices at 600 locations running the Defense Department's top-secret messaging system. The so-called Defense Message System has 10,000 nodes and is used by the strategic and tactical forces within the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.