(Photo via Eoin Gardiner)

Marc Andreessen doesn’t think we’re experiencing a tech bubble. But Groupon just filed for an initial public offering that could value the daily deal site at $30 billion, and Microsoft last month paid $8.5 billion for Skype, a company that has yet to prove it can turn a profit.

Meanwhile, a new report from Dow Jones shows that the estimated market value of venture-backed companies rose 19 percent during the fourth quarter. So, what do you think?

Are we in the midst of another tech bubble? Vote in the GeekWire poll, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Meanwhile, here’s a look back at the results of a similar poll we ran in April. (I guess you can call this our official bubble watch).

Things certainly are different from the HomeGrocer.com and Pets.com era of the late 1990s. After all, many of today’s companies driving the bubble talk have real revenue and — in some cases — substantial profits. A number of the new breed also have decided, at least for now, to maintain a healthy distance from the private markets. (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

But that’s starting to change. Now, the key debate centers on whether  any of these companies — from LinkedIn and Facebook to Zynga and Zillow — deserve the valuations that investors are placing on them.

John Cook is co-founder of GeekWire. Follow on Twitter: @geekwirenews and Facebook.

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Comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=749483715 Brian Moore

    I think there are some absurd valuations being put out there in some cases- but it is not across the board like it was in the 90′s. It can be strategic to pay more than face value if you are buying technology that builds your core business, blocks competitors from making in-roads, or enables a technological leap forward. I’m taking a wait and see attitude.

  • Guest

    of course he will say that this is not a bubble… because he is one of the major beneficiaries of this WebFrenzy 2.0…
    Recent example: AirBNB valuation – $1B…SRSLY?
    -Billions became very easy to pronounce these days…

  • http://erickennedy.org Eric Kennedy

    This bubble is more like the housing bubble (50%+ overvalued) than the 90s internet bubble, but it still has the classic characteristics where stock prices (in this case mostly private except for LinkedIn) are increasing faster than the fundamentals, and it’s all driven by central bank largess. In 1999 it was Y2K ATM fears that prompted Easy Al Greenspan to inject extra capital into the banking system, now its QE2 and 0% interest rates. 

    Marc said we’re not in a bubble because back in 1999/2000 “no one thought it was a bubble”.  I worked at startups as an intern from 1996 – 2000, and when prices started detaching from any sane valuation of revenue in 1999 it was clearly a bubble.  I have the short sale trade confirmations to prove it, but as with most bubbles, the markets can “stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.”

    Back in 2000, the real trouble started when companies hit the 180 day lockup expiration or priced secondary stock offerings that put too much supply onto the market. Until that happens, there are too many lemmings chasing a thin float so it’s best to stay on the sidelines.

    This tech bubble will also deflate like the housing bubble (versus the 78% Nasdaq decline in only 2 years), since the companies involved have real revenues, and in some cases, profits.

  • Facebook User

    I don’t think it’s that hard to notice a bubble, what’s hard is to know when it will pop. Almost everyone thought there was a bubble in house prices, but many of us thought that for 5 years as they continued to go up. Only in 2011 can we see that prices are back to about the 2004 level. There is another tech bubble, but it could last 5 months or 5 years.

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