No Limit Icahn Poker: FTC Greenlights More Yahoo Investment

yahoo stockAt this week’s D6 trade conference a question was asked of Rupert Murdoch about Carl Icahn’s grab at Yahoo.  Mr. Murdoch, often frank and to the point, replied “that’s not serious. He just wants to make a few hundred million bucks.”

Accurate or off base, one mogul’s insight on another is always fascinating.  Here, I’d suspect the conclusion is true as well.  Icahn is a special kind of value investor – he looks for corporate weakness and tries to turn it into short term investment opportunity.  He’s an opportunist imbued with the mentality of a trader, together mixed in with the instinct of a predator and the guile of a poker player.  He’s honed his game over years of practice.  The playbook is in memory; tried and true.  Yahoo, as a target,  was looking weak.  The opportunity was there.

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Sony Says Goodbye to Set Top Boxes

tv agreementCable companies have been driving their use for years.  Building B, now called Sezmi, is pitching a unique flavor of their own.  Vudu has an on-demand-only versionNetflix just began offering a variant with Roku. Tivo’s got a few too.  Still, for all the history, experimentation and evolution, despite the massive volume in use around the country, the days of the TV set-top box may be numbered.  At least that’s the case for Cable TV decoding boxes thanks to a new deal.

Tuesday, Sony signed an agreement with the 6 largest cable operators in the U.S. (Comcast, Time Warner, Cox Communications, Charter, Cablevision and Bright House Networks) to standardize technology that will allow future TV’s to receive “two-way” cable services without the need of a separate, decoding, cable box.

The deal will pave the way for more “interactive” TV features in the future. 

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Solar Apples: Patenting Future Power Sources

solar appleThere you are, rocking out to your favorite rock song, drumming your fingers to the guitar riff… or maybe you are 30 minutes into an important phone call, the other person waiting for your reply…  or you’re working away on your laptop, caught up in the middle of something urgent. You’re doing something important. That’s always when it happens. The batteries die.   In the blink of an eye a digital nightmare begins.  It takes just a blip of a second but in that time unsaved work is lost.  Calls are missed.  Songs interrupted.   It’s something that’s happened to us all, a consequence of our digitally connected era.  And it is something inventors and engineers have yet to find a solution for.  But they are trying.

In Apple’s Cupertino research labs, one idea being explored is small scale solar.  In fact, according to reports on the Macrumors website Apple has even filed a patent that aims to harness solar power to fuel future generations of portable devices (iPods, iPhones, Macbook’s etc).

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Microsoft Live Search Books Euthanized

digit booksFrom futuristic “Cloud Computing”, to search, from advertising to applications, Microsoft and Google have been battling each other for greater share of Internet audiences and eyeballs for a few years now.  By last June, digitally indexing books looked set to be another one of the fronts in which the companies would face off.   What a difference a year makes.  This week, Microsoft quietly discontinued their Live Book Search project.

In a blog post on May 23rd, Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s VP of Search, Portal and Advertising, made the disclosure. Click to Read More

Sony Hot Ticket: Theater and Concerts at the Movies

hot-ticket.jpgWhen the phrase “live entertainment” is used in a word association game, most people aren’t likely to jump up and down screaming rebroadcast or replay.  The phrase also isn’t likely to conjure thoughts of a big screen unless one is part of the staging.   For most people, “Live Entertainment” is, well, … live. It’s the energy of a packed house, the buzz of the crowd.  It’s Broadway.  It’s concert halls and small clubs.  It’s the spectacle of a show revealed second by second. Sony is hoping in the right settings, with the right context, that “live factor” won’t be so important; that replays will catch on.  

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Ubisoft Yearend: more strong numbers for gaming sector

global gamingIn a year where gaming companies seem to be shattering records at every turn, another stellar result no longer comes as a surprise but is instead, an expectation.  French game publisher Ubisoft didn’t disappoint Thursday.  Even after upping expectations several times in the past year (most recently in March) the company reported fiscal yearend earnings that raised the bar even higher.


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Hedge Funds Following Icahn to Yahoo, Microsoft Unimpressed

too-much-yahoo.jpgWhere there is smoke there is usually fire.  A similar maxim is often true with investors: where one big name goes, others usually follow.  It’s something of a law of opportunity, an investor piggy-back clause.  People follow success and will ride its coattails. So where Warren Buffet invests, others follow. Where Icahn goes, others go too.  With Yahoo the bulls eye in Icahn’s game du jour, that’s not good news for the company’s management.

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