I have to admit I didn’t call this one: Webvan is going out of business, making official what observers have been speculating for months. In the two years since it got started, Webvan burned through about a billion dollars of investors’ money (OK, it was actually $800 million, but whats a few hundred mil between friends?) and had almost exactly nothing to show for it at the end of the day.
How anyone can spend that much money and still not emerge a major market force, I don’t know. Back when they were getting started, I predicted Webvan would eventually give FedEx a run for its money as a rapid-delivery service, capable of bringing everything from fresh eggs to Playstations right to your door. At the time, that seemed like a critical piece of the e-commerce pie. As it turns out, FedEx and UPS are doing just fine handling deliveries for the few dot-coms still in business, and for the rest of the nation’s economy, well, it’s still pretty much owned by the same giants as ever.