Ups and downs Featured

9:33am EDT July 22, 2002

(Ups) to OfficeMax. The giant retailer's restructuring continues with plans to close 50 underperforming stores. Tightening the network to concentrate on driving profits for shareholders is a good move. But, by the time it works, will CEO Michael Feuer still be around or will the company's low stock price result in a takeover?

(Downs) to AOL. Last month, consumer electronics retailer Best Buy announced it had signed up 1 million customers for AOL rival MSN, Microsoft's Internet access service. As Microsoft's future status remains unclear, its efforts to broach AOL's market are becoming increasingly vivid. That's good news for Microsoft and bad news for AOL.

(Ups) to Napster. The recent alliance with BMG, parent company Bertelsmann AG, shores up Napster's chances to settle the copyright infringement lawsuit and stay in business. With BMG on board, the courts may find it more difficult to slap the label "raider" on the online music trader.

(Downs) to the ever-shifting Executive Pendulum. First, execs fled traditional businesses for the potential riches of the dot-com world. Now, with The Great Shakeout in full swing, those same execs have found the riches elusive and the hours long and they're trickling back into the bricks-and-mortar world. We're wondering just what it is they've learned from this experience.

(Ups) to WCLV. President and co-founder Robert Conrad's commitment to keeping classical music on the Cleveland airwaves and supporting the community through the foundation of a nonprofit organization underscores what the Pillar Award for Community Service was designed to honor. Hey, Bob, mind if we send you a 2001 application?