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November 1, 1998

At Deadline - OptiMark Delays

By John A. Byrne

OptiMark Technologies dismissed a report that the planned summer launch of its trading system on Nasdaq is likely to be postponed by 12 months. As reported here last month, the challenge of Year-2000 compliance will be a higher priority next year among trading desks than cementing links with OptiMark. Downplaying the delay report, OptiMark has noted that the Year-2000 bug is partly the reason it committed to an aggressive summer launch. Scott Peterson, a spokesman for Nasdaq, says the exchange's goal is still "complete implementation of OptiMark by summer 1999."

Meanwhile, many Nasdaq market makers, fearful about the possibility of losing order flow because of OptiMark, seemed quite pleased by the reported delay. Even so, at a press conference in early September, OptiMark co-founder Bill Lupien said he had spent months showing market makers a presentation on how they can enhance their profitability using OptiMark. "A lot of them are more relaxed," he said. Meanwhile, OptiMark's planned launch as a facility of the Pacific Exchange has itself been slightly delayed again and is now set to go live in January, instead of this month.

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