EarthLink has come a long way from the days of Mindspring and dial-up. That revenue did allow it to make big mistakes - Helio, Muni Wi-Fi - and make acquisitions to become the company they are today.
From dial-up to muni wi-fi to Clearwire 4G service, EarthLink has tried to stay close to its roots as a consumer ISP. Luckily, they made other moves to become a business servcie provider too.
Some acquisitions like New Edge Networks, ITC Deltacom and One Comm. look kind of foolish because EarthLink has never really wanted to be in the CLEC transport business. Some of those networks just helped them reduce costs on dial-up and add metro fiber assets to its busiest burgs.
There have been a number of strategic acquisitions though. When STS was acquired, it wasn't for the softswitch but for the implementation and deployment expertise on Hosted PBX. That can be a money saver from the beginning if you spend less man-hours per install and have happier customers during and after deployment. (Get it right the first time kind of stuff.)
The following MSP type acquisitions are what has resulted in EarthLink's latest "network heavy" press release and its latest service offerings.
- LogicalSolutions.net, an enterprise data center solution and cloud services provider
- Business Vitals, a provider of IT security and professional services
- xDefenders, a managed IT security company
- the IT Solution Center and cloud-based app business from Synergy Global Solutions
- CenterBeam, Inc., a provider of remote managed IT services--with an IT Support Center providing help desk, desktop technical support and application support services
ELNK added 4 data centers to make it 8. Then it used partnerships with independenceIT and AirTight Networks to deliver on specific retail products that are panning out nicely.
Not everything works. Try stuff. Fail. Learn. Try more stuff. Fail. Learn. This leads to Success. Not everything will work, but some stuff will.
The other 2 pieces of the puzzle are focus and execution. Even the best ideas fail when executed poorly. An idea is worthless unless it is executed on.
The focus on Retail and managed services has helped get them here. (They should have been saying No to other services a while ago but I guess even crappy revenue - annoyed partners - is revenue on the books. How do they still have a loss?)