Great Recession

Could Bernanke kill the tech boom? Could Greece?

June 21, 2011: 12:12 PM ET

By Kevin Kelleher, contributor

Silicon Valley boosters swear there's no tech bubble, but maybe that's because they've all been living in one.

FORTUNE -- For all the talk this year about a tech bubble, there is surprisingly little agreement. On the one hand, valuations of hot web companies are irrationally high; on the other big tech valuations are inexplicably low. On the one hand, the number of overpriced IPOs in 2011 is nowhere near that of 1999; but on the other, most of the speculation is happening on private markets. On the one hand, stocks of recent debuts like LinkedIn (LNKD) and RenRen (RENN) are down from their initial highs; but on the other they are still expensive by any sensible measure.

Even with recent IPOs down from the high points of their oh-so-brief histories, It's safe to say there is a small-scale tech bubble in the making -- relatively contained, but unsettling nonetheless. The better question is how big it could get. Will it metastasize like the dot-com frenzy of 1999? Will there be little demand beyond marquee names like Groupon, Zynga or Twitter? Will an imminent Facebook IPO pour fuel onto the bonfire, or simply mark the culmination of what will prove a modest brushfire? More

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