The game of chicken poker is over and the loser is: everybody. AT&T drove Excite@Home into bankruptcy, hoping to pick up its assets for $300 million. The bondholders objected and said the assets were worth $1 billion. The bankruptcy court gave Excite permission to play hardball, and Excite turned off Internet access to AT&T’s subscribers last weekend. AT&T immediately began getting people back online using its own facilities and the other cable companies realized they could do the same thing pretty easily and pretty quickly.

The result is that overnight Excite’s assets became valueless. Excite has announced that it will cease operations in February.

Is this a strange world or what?

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