I’ve been covering Internet stocks for more than five years and cannot remember a time when legal disputes and resolutions were having a greater impact on the industry and its companies. Perhaps this is indicative of a segment that’s becoming more stable and mature. Maybe the legal activity evidences the growing importance of intellectual property in the Net area, as companies increasingly employ it to establish and extend competitive advantages. We at S&P do think the Internet field is more crowded than it was a few years ago, and players are striving for proprietary differentiation.
The world’s largest Web companies and at least one equity analyst who covers them are taking notice. Today’s competition is taking place in the marketplace and in courtrooms. Corporate success for online businesses seems predicated on both good products and services and associated legal protections.