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  • As Square celebrates its partnership with Starbucks, PayPal (EBAY) may be close to scoring a giant deal with McDonald's (MCD): the fast-food kingpin is testing a PayPal-based payments solution at 30 French locations. The service allows users to place orders online or through a McDonald's app, pay with PayPal, and pick up meals in a separate line. McDonald's hopes the solution will cut wait times and improve sales. PayPal has already reached offline payment deals with over a dozen major retailers. [View news story]
    It is getting increasingly annoying reading "comments" of grievances with a company on a financial/investment community website. I hope SA adopts a more stringent editing/censorship policy to filter complaints about company's business when they are irrelevant to the Market Currents and it's content as relates to the listed companies.

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    I agree with Phillip that McD could create their own ecosystem, even creating a points system for depositing money into a McDonalds money account as an incentive for consumers to create an account to make orders and check-out with.

    PayPal is not an autonomous financial institution, it is predominantly reliant on MA & V. They could save money and actually increase profits by using their own system (under the same structure as the points listed in the Reuters article) without contracting a 3rd party payment processor, that in itself is a 3rd party payment processor.

    I am VERY curious to benefits of 3rd party (3rd party) payment processors such as Square and PayPal being used as payment terminals.

    My conclusion is that they hope to eventually create their own financial systems equivalent to the major credit/debit card companies. However, why haven't they done that already?

    Someone please explain.
    Aug 17, 2012. 08:56 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The bears are still piling in to Facebook (FB), the number of shares on loan to short sellers standing at 97M, up from 63M a month ago. One reason could be lockup expiration - an additional 2B shares will become eligible to sell between now and next May, adding to the current float of 421M. [View news story]
    I am currently bearish on FB in the short term but believe that the Street will eventually respond positively to an upswing in ad revenue. If that does not happen this quarter, it may happen in the last quarter of the year.

    I think FB will convince multi-national corporations to invest in them as a platform equivalent to TV, outdoor billboards, and FB is the best strategy for internet advertising. I don't know any other website other than Google that gets as many impressions.
    Aug 15, 2012. 08:16 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • eBay Is On Fire [View article]
    I am all for free speech. This dude's spam and re-posting is horrendous. Just because he got jerked out of $20 he, in his self-righteousness, goes on a tirade on an investment website.

    Phillip, what you are doing is unfair and unjust to the purpose of this website and it's followers.

    Please take your statements regarding eBay to a larger forum, this is an investment community.

    I believe it will be difficult for you to change peoples' opinions of eBay and your method of doing so, especially the extremely long diatribe on an e-commerce forum, of which you received ZERO replies, is extremely off-topic to this website, and the serious nature of discussion around the financial and consumer trends of the aforementioned company.

    I completely understand and respect where you are coming from, but I hope that you will reconsider your actions and posts on and around this website/community.

    Thank you
    Aug 7, 2012. 02:32 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • S&P cuts its rating on Best Buy (BBY +15.1%) to BB+ from BBB-, saying a buyout led by founder Richard Schulze would "materially weaken" the company with the substantial amount of debt it would add to the retailer's balance sheet. The ratings agency says depending upon the nature of a finalized buyout, it could lower its ratings by several more notches. [View news story]
    From a trends and US perspective, WMT / TGT / Costco > BBY.

    Lower prices, less corporate sales mentality, though less knowledgable staff. I prefer to shop at WMT / TGT / Costco. Best Buy used to be cool, but now that I do my own research on electronics, I don't need to be fed the same elementary pitch about TVs. LED / Plasma, refresh rate, blah blah blah.

    Price is the bottom line, though not all consumers are created equal. I am staying short throughout Schultz PR pump. There's a reason he doesn't own the company.
    Aug 7, 2012. 02:24 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • According to an economic barometer called the Money Market Index, the recent rally in the Dow over the past three trading sessions has been "totally irrational," says the index's chief researcher Dan Geller. The rally, mostly due to the release of Friday's monthly jobs report, shows that the enthusiasm has been mispaced due to the simple fact that a large portion of the 163K new jobs reported are only temporary, and likely to vanish soon. The move "has no economic merit," Geller insists.  [View news story]
    How can the "market", whatever that is, "rally", whatever THAT is, when we are literally experiencing global financial turmoil.

    The previous sentence is analogous to a dysfunctional family meeting for a holiday, with all types of intra-family drama, and pretending that everything is ok.

    Let's all go about our business as if everything is ok, but if there is "news" or a "rumor" of an event, then somehow the "market" moves in grand fashion in a single direction.
    Aug 6, 2012. 09:15 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Want same-day delivery on an eBay (EBAY) purchase? It's now possible for San Franciscans placing $25+ orders with certain local stores, courtesy of the eBay Now iOS app. Presumably, more cities and platforms will be added in time. eBay's move is aimed not only at Amazon (AMZN), which has said same-day isn't economical "on a broad scale," but at Groupon (GRPN), which wants to evolve into a soup-to-nuts local commerce partner. Shopkick may also be a target. A $5/item delivery fee applies to each purchase.  [View news story]
    In my opinion, eBay (and AMZN) have a lot of room to grow. Also, PayPal could become the first self-sufficient financial ecosystem, not relying on MA, V, Discover and AXP to fund transactions. I think eBay offers a great service.

    Disclosure: I do not own any shares of EBAY but do plan on buying within the next 72 hours.
    Aug 5, 2012. 08:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Best Buy's Balance Sheet: How Do You Calculate The Hidden Losses That Investors Can't See? [View article]
    This article and proceeding comment has provided a rich source of literature to browse through.

    As a fellow short, I do share the same opinion as the author, his analysis will be put to the test.

    I am interested to see this story pan out.
    Aug 2, 2012. 02:45 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Best Buy's Balance Sheet: How Do You Calculate The Hidden Losses That Investors Can't See? [View article]
    Great explanation re: margins and up-selling. My friend works at BB and extremely dislikes the pressure on him to sell peripherals.

    I believe that as our society becomes more knowledgeable about technology and electronics, and I do believe that this is happening (though I may be biased because I am in a large city, Los Angeles), the less accessories will be purchased.

    Also, many people have friends, and online networks, to consult with regarding these extra products. I agree, and kudos to EBAY, which actually beats AMZN on accessories such as auxiliary cables for MP3 devices, or iPhone chargers and cases.

    I do believe that the online retail trend will take 5-10 years to become a mainstream trend, however, the retailers that thrive will be the largest and highest margin performing chains.
    Aug 2, 2012. 02:41 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Should Amazon (AMZN -0.4%) purchase Best Buy (BBY +0.3%)? Now that the state sales tax issue isn't a major consideration, the question is getting bandied around with a bit more weight. Though the thought of tackling the overheard of +1K brick-and-mortar stores may bring on a migraine for shareholders, having its own showroom (legitimately) and an extra $50B in revenue does have advantages.  [View news story]
    The founder is desperate to drive up the price/premium of the stock because he is desperate and knows that nobody wants the burden of real estate, merchandise, etc.

    Best Buy is the last great electronics retailer, but like all the others, their time is coming. WMT, COST, and other larger warehouse retailers, in addition to the increasing threat of AMZN, means a shrinking consumer base and lower revenue for BBY.

    A buyout by Amazon? This is pure rumor and speculation, and not the type of Apple rumors where people actually care and want to know because it is exiting. The AMZN/BBY rumor smells fishy, as the "refresh" rumor of BBY founder's desire to take the company private.

    Hopefully this rumor backfires with a stern official statement by AMZN that the retail space is a losing proposition and they have no interest in BBY.
    Aug 2, 2012. 02:27 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More on mobile payments: VC Lee Hower argues mobile payments solutions have failed to take off (he doesn't see Square as one) because they simply act as another means of paying via credit card, rather than creating "a new store of value." Also, current approaches suffer from both a chicken & egg problem between merchants and buyers, and a need to change human behavior. However, he thinks a major push from credit-card issuers, Apple/Google, or the government could spur adoption.  [View news story]
    AAPL GOOG and EBAY have the best opportunity of creating a new financial ecosystem separate from mainstream credit/debit transactions.

    Google Wallet never took off as was intended in their inspiration from PayPal and Apple can be assumed to be creating a financial ecosystem as their general ecosystem is brilliant and they have the best minds.

    Facebook would be an internal ecosystem though I'm sure they aspire to have a larger Facebook Credits ecosystem.

    My bets are AAPL and EBAY.
    Jul 20, 2012. 04:06 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Facebook (FB -2.9%) and Zynga (ZNGA -7%) dive following a Capstone Investments report claiming Facebook's U.S. users fell 1.1% over the last 6 months. Capstone adds Facebook's growth was minimal or negative in 14 of the 23 countries in which its penetration rate is above 50%. The report backs up recent data suggesting U.S. saturation, and drives home Facebook's dependence on less profitable emerging markets to drive user growth. (previous)  [View news story]
    SoldHigh - Interesting comment. I agree with you, their long term target is teens or lower, whom are less tech savvy, though adapting increasingly towards technical know-how (cite: evolution), but may be more likely to fund advertising sources such as games, likes, brands, music.

    I have a gut feeling that the top "valley" biz/tech talent can monetize the hell out of their products. However, it will be interesting to see the privacy policy debates brewing as, irony would have it, social media catches wind of unfavorable user experiences.

    This is an interesting story.
    Jul 18, 2012. 02:12 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Nokia Has Great Upside, Contrarians Buy Research In Motion [View article]
    "Quite frankly I see very little future for either RIM or Nokia. Both companies are in a downward death spiral and will likely not be in business a year from now...at least not as any kind of a significant player. BB10 will not save RIM any more so than Windows will save Nokia. Both are operating systems that the public in general will reject in favor of either Google's Android or Apple's iOS. Neither RIM nor Nokia has a management team with the vision necessary to help pull it from the ashes"

    I have to agree with Marcap. As the tech business landscape evolves and rapid adoption of iOS and Android have blanketed the current smartphone market, it will take a huge shift in consumer behavior to save these two companies.

    Corporate marketing costs and/or partnerships with stars or strategic tech partnerships would be the only possible way to disseminate NOK or RIMM tech on a mass and sustainable scale. My personal opinion is that it is too little too late for RIMM as a sustainable business model for the future, and going to be difficult for NOK to maintain the dominance they once had without evolving and offering the complete service that Apple (and cleverly adopted by Android) has developed, it's ecosystem, in order to not just survive, in this day and age, but thrive as an innovator.

    I have read great reviews of the Lumia phone, but in attempting to stay grounded and realistic, after the Dot com bubble, and now Web 2.0, technology evolves at a rapid pace and I strongly believe that we will all be shocked in the next year at not only massive changes in technology, but consolidation in other sectors of business and finance. Best Buy beat out other retailers such as Circuit City and Good Guys based on a retail edge. The notion of retail has changed.

    Being able to predict consumer trends or developers' ideas and business models is difficult without being immersed in the environment around like minded people (Silicon Valley), so without this knowledge, and an insider's look at the numbers of companies like RIMM or NOK, it is hard for us average investors to imagine a once thriving corporation, with a monopoly in enterprise cell and data workflow, slowly become extinct.

    Per RIMM, with AAPL, GOOG, NOK, and MSFT, capable of performing the same functions, if not better, as well, maintaining a relationship with it's peers to cross-function amongst each other, over the long term (5 years plus) their business plan is not sustainable. With a knowledge of non-sustainability, that makes the nearer long term picture look worse.

    As far as NOK, I am reading comments and see a lot of bulls excited to see their phone perform well. In the near time, I am guessing that their numbers will disappoint based on previous guidance, whereas, overtime, they may be able to develop an ecosystem with more Apps, a music service, cloud storage, which all seem stale and generic compared to the more evolved and already 'linked' ecosystems of Android and iPhone. I do not have a single friend in Los Angeles, CA that owns a Lumia phone.

    I am aware that LA, CA is not the center of the world. On the contrary, a look at smartphone distribution numbers shows the lions share being split between Android and iOS, specifically Samsung and AAPL. It is hard to adopt a 'foreign' device, which would be the Lumia, when friends and family are using one service. Would you see a doctor, based on recommendations, outside of your comfort zone, geography, knowledge, experience, when you have friends and family seeing one that does a great job.

    Analogies often don't do justice or are biased to the writers favor; however, a phone may only be a few hundred dollars, but nevertheless is an investment. I am currently short RIMM but am not willing to place a bet/investment on NOK going further down until I see some sales figures, which again, I believe will dissapoint analysts, because I do not believe that the Lumia will be a global smartphone.

    In conclusion, I see the extreme development of the iPhone, specifically, their efforts with NFC (I know it's not specific to the iPhone) in addition to their Passport feature, being too strong of an offering for opposition to overcome. I can't predict the short term, though I do believe long term success is unsustainable for both RIMM and NOK.
    Jul 11, 2012. 03:21 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Social Gaming Concern's Latest Earnings Report Should Impress Potential Acquirers [View article]
    Very interested in taking a position in this stock. The company has a self-sustaining business model, quality staff, is well run, and is one game (or in music industry lingo, one hit) away from going over the top with earnings or being bought out.

    I worry that they won't be able to sustain the growth as shown in this quarter. Will take a small position.
    May 4, 2012. 01:17 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • ON2 Technologies Updates on Google Merger: Don't Think It's Enough to Make It Happen [View article]
    I really want to believe that the stock price was manipulate down to the $0.30 low-average and then 'doubled' to $0.60. All-in-all chump change for Google even if it was at $2.00 per share. In the end, their technology isn't the greatest thing since sliced bread, but a DAMN good low-gluten upgrade.
    Dec 8, 2009. 02:25 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • MySpace Music: Just Not For Me [View article]
    I am going to come out and say it, this sounds like a GREAT idea but the youth demographic is prone to spend money impulsively but our generation is a bit cheaper, we are in this "recession", and most young people don't have credit cards to buy music online, so while it is a great idea, it lacks footing and historical success.
    Sep 28, 2008. 03:23 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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