Webvan Buys HomeGrocer.com -- The online supermarket industry has started its consolidation, with the California-based Webvan buying Washington-based HomeGrocer.com for about $1 billion in stock. (See "Groceries in the Mist" in TidBITS-470 for a look at HomeGrocer.com.) The combined company will serve thirteen major metropolitan areas by the end of the year (Atlanta, Baltimore, Bergen County (NJ), Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Orange County (CA), Portland (OR), Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.) and be in a good position to dominate the Internet grocery business, ahead of companies like Peapod and Streamline.com and the efforts of traditional supermarket chains, such as Albertson's in the Seattle area. However, even though the companies expect their merger to save $200 million in capital investments, delivering groceries still requires massive infrastructure costs in a business that traditionally suffers from razor thin margins. With Jupiter Communications estimating $7.5 billion in online grocery sales by 2003, there's no question that online grocery shopping will succeed, but the players may change significantly by the time the dust settles. But the main problem with this merger? Webvan isn't nearly as good a name as HomeGrocer - what is a webvan, anyway? [ACE]
Mac OS X Services in Snow Leopard
Mac OS X Services let one application supply its powers to another; for example, a Grab service helps TextEdit paste a screenshot into a document. Most users either don't know that Services exist, because they're in an obscure hierarchical menu (ApplicationName > Services), or they mostly don't use them because there are so many of them.
Snow Leopard makes it easier for the uninitiated to utilize this feature; only services appropriate to the current context appear. And in addition to the hierarchical menu, services are discoverable as custom contextual menu items - Control-click in a TextEdit document to access the Grab service, for instance.
In addition, the revamped Keyboard preference pane lets you manage services for the first time ever. You can enable and disable them, and even change their keyboard shortcuts.
Other articles in the series Groceries in Our Midst
- Amazon Delivers Like It's 1999 (11 Dec 07)
- Where Webvan Went Wrong (16 Jul 01)
- Webvan Announces Shutdown and Chapter 11 (09 Jul 01)
- Internet Grocers Drop Like Flies (20 Nov 00)
- Priceline.com Ceases Bidding on Groceries (30 Oct 00)
- Internet Grocery Shopping Continues to Mature (16 Aug 99)
- Groceries in the Mist (08 Mar 99)
Published in TidBITS 537.
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