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Faster Access to Spur Internet Growth

November 17, 2005

SAN JOSE — The Internet has given rise to profitable companies such as Yahoo Inc., Google Inc., eBay Inc. and others, but the industry is still in the early days and will be further fueled as even faster Internet access proliferates through the United States and other countries, executives said on Wednesday.

“We are seeing the beginning of things,” said Reed Hastings, chief executive of online DVD rental company Netflix at the TechNet Innovation Summit in San Jose, of video on the web. “Web 2.0 is broadband. Web 3.0 is 10 gigabits a second.”

Now that more homes are connected at speeds of 2 to 3 gigabits per second, that has allowed for viewing of movie trailers and the like, and has opened up new markets for companies such as eBay, Salesforce.com and other Internet companies.

“Now we’re seeing services and applications,” said Jerry Yang, co-founder of Internet media firm Yahoo. “This has been one of the promises the Internet has offered for a long time — the consumer can really be the programmer.”

As broadband rolls out, companies such as Yahoo and online customer relationship management software maker Salesforce.com and others are building ever more complex services that run over the Internet and are used through a simple Web browser.

“Everything is really driven as a service over the Internet,” said Mark Benioff, chief executives of Salesforce.com during a panel discussion on what is next for the Web. “Instead of that traditional concept of you having a data center in your house or your business, you will use these services.”

For eBay, the leading online auctioneer, the Internet has obviously allowed it to connect buyers and sellers efficiently, cheaply and quickly, said Bill Cobb, president of eBay North America.

“It’s all about freedom,” Cobb said. What the Internet does now is it allows convergence between a seller and a buyer. All these inefficiencies in the supply chain can be eliminated.”

In addition to building communities of buyers and sellers on the Internet, eBay has expanding its services. Recently it bought Skype, which lets its users talk over the Internet, allowing for another form of communication via the Internet.

“If you go to the heart of it it’s about communications,” Cobb said.




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