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RealTime IT News

New Internet Giants Roam The Street

Over the past two years, the Internet stock universe has experienced unprecedented change and growth, with the number of publicly traded 'Net companies increasing fivefold to more than 400.

Yet during this time, through exhilarating run-ups and stomach-churning crashes, one fact has shone as bright and constant as the North Star: Cisco Systems , America Online and Yahoo (in that order) remained the three largest Internet companies in terms of market capitalization.

No more.

Thanks to a 49% year-to-date loss in value through Friday, Yahoo last week was eclipsed by router maker Juniper Networks , which has by far the top-performing stock among Internet companies this year, with a 264% gain.

With a market cap of $62.3 billion and climbing, JNPR knocks Yahoo into fourth place, with a value of $57.2 billion.

And unless it can reverse its sagging fortunes, Yahoo will have trouble defending that slot from high-speed chipmaker Broadcom , with has gained 63% this year and now has a market cap of $51.0 billion.

Here's a list of the 10 largest 'Net players by market cap through Friday.

1. Cisco Systems             $448.6B
2. America Online            $127.5B
3. Juniper Networks           $62.3B
4. Yahoo                      $57.2B
5. Broadcom                   $51.0B
6. Ariba                      $37.0B
7. VeriSign                   $33.4B
8. i2 Technologies            $31.8B
9. Sycamore Networks          $28.5B
10. Exodus Communications     $25.9B
As you can see, the list is dominated by infrastructure (Cisco, Juniper, Broadcom, Sycamore ), B2B e-commerce companies (Ariba and i2 Technologies ) and corporate Internet services providers (VeriSign and Exodus ). Even AOL generates most of its money by providing access.

That Yahoo, a consumer portal, is an anomaly on this list is both a testament to its wild success and an indication that the company's days as one of the handful of largest 'Net companies may be growing short.

Fears about a decline in Internet advertising - Yahoo's bread and butter - could drive YHOO shares and value down even further. Sure, Yahoo's market cap now is more than twice that of No. 10 Exodus, but as recently as six months ago, Yahoo was worth nearly double the value of No. 4 Broadcom:

Largest Internet Market Caps Through March 8, 2000

1. Cisco Systems           $452.9B
2. America Online          $125.2B
3. Yahoo                    $93.2B
4. Broadcom                 $48.8B
5. Juniper Networks         $42.7B
6. Sycamore Networks        $39.3B
7. Internet Capital Group   $36.1B
8. CMGI                     $34.1B
9. Ariba                    $31.8B
10. i2 Technologies         $29.3B

Wonder where the two Internet incubators on the above list, CMGI and Internet Capital Group , are in the wake of their respective ticker meltdowns? With a 67% YTD loss, CMGI now has a market cap of $11.7 billion and ranks No. 17.

ICGE, meanwhile, has plummeted 73% this year to a market cap of $9.2 billion, placing it at No. 22.

Now let's look at the largest Internet companies from one year ago:

Largest Internet Market Caps Through Sept. 8, 1999

1. Cisco Systems             $222.2B
2. America Online            $