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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

March 16, 2006 at 1:49 PM

Asking the question: Why not buy Speakeasy et al.?

Speakeasy, the Seattle DSL provider that started out as an Internet cafe here, is not quite for sale, but some see as it as an attractive acquisition candidate.

Om Malik, senior writer at Business 2.0, pondered today in his blog why EarthLink doesn’t just buy Speakeasy to get more agressive about being a prominent DSL provider. He paired the thought with today’s announcement by EarthLink that it will roll out voice over IP in eight more cities in conjunction with Covad. As part of the deal, EarthLink said it will also make a $50 million investment in Covad.

The new markets are: Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, San Diego and Washington, D.C. EarthLink already provides DSL and phone service in Dallas, San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle.

Malik asked why EarthLink was making investments, and why not just buy Covad? “And while they are at it, why not just scoop up some of the smaller DSL players. Like Speakeasy,” he said.

Last time we spoke to Speakeasy in July, Chief Executive Bruce Chatterley said it had increased the number of business users to 14,000, had raised $27 million in venture capital, had 228 employees and moved into 25,000 square feet of office space, and expected to ring in about $100 million next year.

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