France says Google (GOOG) and other web bandwidth hogs should pay something to help European telecoms maintain or upgrade their clogging networks. France will explore new proposals, included mandated payments. “The digital economy is developing thanks to the investments of operators," says a French minister.
After the Groupon failure, Google (GOOG) is in talks to acquire a smaller local online coupon company, instead of launching its own effort, say sources. Potential targets may include LivingSocial, or the New York City-based BuyWithMe. Premarket, Google is +0.4%.
Resurgent online sales are allowing web retailers to be choosier about their discounts. As buyers grew more comfortable shopping on the web, online sales grew 12% this holiday season, to $27.5B. This means the end of broad discounts, and the rise of 'laser-beam promoting.'
Yahoo (YHOO) expects to incur pre-tax cash charges of $33M to $38M for severance pay expenses and other costs related to last week's downsizing, according to an SEC filing. Most of the charges will be recognized in Q4. Yahoo is flat.
Barclays Capital believes Amazon (AMZN) is gaining market share from both offline and online rivals this holiday season. Barclays boosted Amazon's estimates and the price target to $195 from $180, and maintains an Overweight rating. Premarket, Amazon is +0.8%.
Facebook is blocked in China, but that didn't stop CEO Mark Zuckerberg from paying a call on Baidu (BIDU) Monday to meet with company CEO Robin Li. Baidu didn't comment on the discussions, but it would be hard to believe Google's (GOOG) name didn't come up. Premarket, Bidu is +0.9%.
Sources say Google (GOOG) is asking hardware partners to delay unveiling their Google TV-enabled sets at the crucial Consumer Electronics Show next month. Facing a lukewarm reception for its TV initiative, Google wants time to tweak the software. Premarket, Google is +0.5%.
eBay (EBAY) is acquiring brands4friends, a Berlin online shopping club, for $200M cash. This move is intended to strengthen eBay's position as an "online fashion destination in Europe." Premarket, eBay is +0.2%. (PR)
If history holds, Time's selection of Mark Zuckerberg as Person of the Year marks a top in the value of Facebook - $56B? $200B? - Barry Ritholtz suggests, noting the 1999 cover of Jeff Bezos that marked the high point in Amazon’s (AMZN) stock for the next decade.
Heavy discounts and promotions haven't let Amazon (AMZN +0.1%) dent the iTunes Store's content sales lead. In Q3, Amazon owned 13.3% of the paid digital download market, up from 11% in the prior year. But largely by selling through its iPods and other devices, Apple's share rose to 66% from 63% in the same period.
Cash-killing online payment system Dwolla is aiming squarely at PayPal (EBAY -1.2%), perhaps the one eBay business that's actually thriving. Undercutting PayPal's fees, Dwolla charges a flat 25 cents per transaction, and has a mobile app and social network capabilities. At the least, Dwolla's presence shows PayPal's vulnerability to contenders.
Gabelli & Co. starts Apple (AAPL) coverage with a Buy, expecting this fiscal year to see revenues of $98B. Driving sales is Apple's expanding user base, who'll make iTunes the de facto industry content platform. One issue: what to do with $97B in cash estimated to be on hand by Sept. 2012.
The pro-WikiLeaks hackers who attacked Amazon (AMZN) and other companies are virtually untouchable by U.S. prosecutors. Charging them would require extradition, location of the infected computers, subpoenas for multiple ISPs, and so on. Given these hurdles, the government may just treat the hacks 'as graffiti.'
Sources claim Apple (AAPL) plans to sell 6M iPad 2 units a month, up from the current rate of 4M a quarter for the current model. Apple supply chain sources also doubt the rumors Apple will launch a 7-inch iPad. Apple is flat.
Optimists see 2011's tech sector as poised for growth, with strong company balance sheets, high consumer interest, and businesses needing to drive efficiency gains. Other positives: 2010's M&A activity, tablet computers, streaming video, mobile apps and services, and the cloud. But not everyone is so upbeat.