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  • Jefferies & Co. upgraded Research in Motion (RIMM) stock to Buy from Hold. Jefferies notes RIM's new QNX operating system will run on low or high end devices alike, will attract developers, and has a good browser. Premarket, RIM is +1.4% to $59.83.  [View news story]
    QNX is very robust and will be highly adaptable to many environments in the institutional, government, and enterprise areas RIMM plays most in, but RIMM's gamble is not just a bet on QNX it's a bet on Adobe via Flash, as RIMM's new OS is heavily built around Flash.

    This may or may not be a good thing since Flash is not controlled by RIMM.

    QNX seems like it's a big bet for RIMM since it can be the foundation of a whole new genre of devices, it can be placed pretty much anywhere and do pretty much anything (as in, it is as functional as Windows and as secure as OSX but has a much smaller footprint).

    It seems likely that RIMM will continue to grow revenue, considering specifically their tablet Playbook, so it's likely the stock is undervalued at this level.

    However, if Playbook doesn't come out for holiday shopping, that would be somewhat bearish in the short term, since it seems likely that any tablet demand may be taken by Apple and enterprise demand may start to migrate to WM7 devices with higher specifications.
    Nov 30 09:02 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Comcast's (CMCSA) decision to charge Level 3 (LVLT) a recurring fee for the transmission of certain web content isn't just a blow to net neutrality or LVLT's finances. It could also have major ramifications for Comcast's proposed takeover of NBC Universal (GE).  [View news story]
    ...and they've already pissed off people for acting like the NBC takeover is a done deal, so this may hurt Comcast some more...
    Nov 30 08:48 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Comcast's (CMSCA) decision to collect recurring fees from Level 3 (LVLT) to transmit some web content is a 'violation in spirit' of net neutrality, the latter claims. Level 3 nevertheless says it will pay the fees, although it could damage its operations, particularly now that it's a Netflix (NFLX) primary content delivery network. Comcast may also be setting a precedent that affects web traffic overall. (PR)  [View news story]
    Is congress still working on rewriting the telecom act and is the FCC still looking at redefining the internet so it can better regulate internet traffic and support net neutrality...

    With guys like Google and Verizon backing net neutrality, I'd suspect if Level 3 yells loud enough someone will start sniffing around.
    Nov 30 08:46 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Toyota (TM -1.6%) will pay to fix around 650,000 Prius hybrids worldwide because of a glitch that could cause the car to overheat and lose power. The repair campaign is not a formal recall, and Toyota says the flaw poses no safety risk.  [View news story]
    The problem is that over time, changes in the marketplace have created a situation where manufacturers have added lots of extra components to their products.

    For example, in order for some newer cars to hit their mpg numbers, manufacturers are using tweaks that are not very robust -over time- and prone to failure. But it doesn't matter as long as the magic mpg number is hit out the gate - cars are no longer manufactured to maintain standards over time.

    Fiat's cylinder head tech isn't like that, which is one reason i am a believer in the Chrysler turnaround, but most of the "efficiency" improvement tech everyone is using is complex and no matter how robust it can be made, more components = more things that can go wrong.

    It isn't even just the efficiency stuff - although I place most of the weight there - safety standards have been raised, parts are being manufactured in different parts of the world by different factories with differing quality standards - so it is getting harder to maintain a high standard.

    Toyota is just the latest victim, and for most Americans who still remember the fiascos of the late 70s and early 80s, it's a bit of a shock to be faced with the prospect that a Japanese manufacturer can have such issues. But for those of us actually paying attention to cars, US has long since caught up in terms of quality and reliability, it was price that was kicking US ass (because of overzealous union benefits). So us manufacturers were dealing with a situation that had their overseas competition able to manufacture the exact same product at a significantly cheaper price.

    That situation is changing now too though, as the Yen strengthens and US automakers shed some liabilities (via bailouts/restructuring).

    If the Yen continues to strengthen Toyota will be forced to manufacture overseas and that will likely only exacerbate its problems.
    Nov 30 08:37 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • One way the Fed’s low rates will hurt U.S. households is by reducing chances of getting better mortgage rates, Chris Whalen argues. If current interest rates were a little higher, he believes banks would be more willing to refinance some mortgages, which would help consumers pay off their debts, which in turn would speed the recovery.  [View news story]
    First, those who could refinance to take advantage of lower rates, did.

    Then, those who could afford to reduce the duration of their 30 and 20 year loans to 15 as a result of low rates, did.

    Now, anyone who could qualify for a refi, likely already has. It's not about underwriting it's about the fiscal condition of the borrowers. Good luck seeing a benefit from raising rates.
    Nov 29 05:00 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • A mere 25% of existing smartphone owners plan to remain loyal to their current operating system, says a new survey. A whopping 56% of them are undecided which OS they'll select for their next purchase. As smartphone sales will grow by more than half in 2010, it could become anybody's game.  [View news story]
    Traditional differentiators are falling by the wayside..

    The virtual standardization of the touchscreen formfactor doesn't lend much flexibilty to design variation or innovation, apps are ending up cross platform, and the OS in the devices is seeing a lot of convergence. Hardware is also seeing a lot of convergence.

    The last truly unique OS/UI experience I remember seeing was on the ELSE mobile linux based device. Such a shame they weren't able to bring that to market.

    Definitely interesting times.

    Nov 29 04:52 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Congratulations are in order for GM (GM), which managed to close the largest IPO in the world at a total value of $23.1B after underwriters exercised an overallotment option. The previous No. 1 IPO was Agricultural Bank of China at $22.1B.  [View news story]
    Would be nice if on a post like this on a blog like this people would put aside their personal politics for a second to weigh the merits of actually holding this as part of their portfolio.

    I think the question folks should be proposing is whether a GM with so many fewer expenses and liabilities can possibly perform poorly moving forward.
    Nov 27 04:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Since its launch last month, Windows Phone 7 Marketplace (MSFT) has proved a step up from the preceding Windows Marketplace for Mobile, according to a survey. Phone 7 has 2,600 apps - up from its predecessor's 1,350 - that are more competitively priced, with games being highly popular. It's a start, at least.  [View news story]
    Wonder if you are talking the previous windows mobile or the current WindowsMobile7, WM7 is really quite nice.
    Nov 26 05:05 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple (AAPL) has recently hired 5 executives with BlackBerry (RIMM) phone marketing expertise, indicating it may be chasing after Research in Motion's corporate accounts. With 46M customers, RIM leads the corporate phone market, but also recently saw a major defection from Dell (DELL), indicating it's not unassailable.  [View news story]
    yeah that sure stopped ex HP ceo Hurd...
    Nov 25 12:19 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The European emergency fund, billed as having the financial firepower to douse a financial crisis in the euro zone, may not have enough money to cover a bailout of Spain. If Spain needs a bailout, the fund "will be precarious and it won't leave anything for anybody else," a World Bank official says.  [View news story]
    Because if I owe you 100,000, I have a problem, but if I owe you 100,000,000, you have the problem.
    Nov 24 06:29 PM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple (AAPL) has recently hired 5 executives with BlackBerry (RIMM) phone marketing expertise, indicating it may be chasing after Research in Motion's corporate accounts. With 46M customers, RIM leads the corporate phone market, but also recently saw a major defection from Dell (DELL), indicating it's not unassailable.  [View news story]
    And by the way I will definitely find it hilarious the day I see iPhones being the phone of choice for the enterprise, seriously. It's one thing to be ranked at the top of teenagers wishlists, quite another when your media hungry data hog is linked through the corporate backend.
    Nov 24 03:43 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • With the much-anticipated iOS 4.2 (AAPL +2%) deployed just this week, the whisper mill is already claiming a mid-December release of iOS 4.3. Sources claim the update has a new billing feature to enable the planned launch of News Corp's (NWS +1.5%) iPad newspaper.  [View news story]
    Then 4.4 will have new ways to advertise to iPad users

    4.5 will automatically charge you each time you press the power button

    4.6 will automatically order you any new i-Product on day of its debut

    5.0 will link your bank account directly to iTunes and make payments every payday...

    /tongue firmly in cheek (and luckily the rabid iPhonies don't know where I live yet...)
    Nov 24 03:38 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Last week saw $2.8B in outflows from domestic mutual funds, the 29th consecutive outflow and a jump from last week's $677M in money moving out. Municipal bond funds suffered a $4.8B outflow.  [View news story]
    Munis are getting hammered, I sold some too, but I am not sure it was a good idea. Switched to EM short term locally denominated bond fund (bearish versus dollar), but I'd love to hear what other folks are doing/thinking with RE to Munis.
    Nov 24 03:31 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple (AAPL) has recently hired 5 executives with BlackBerry (RIMM) phone marketing expertise, indicating it may be chasing after Research in Motion's corporate accounts. With 46M customers, RIM leads the corporate phone market, but also recently saw a major defection from Dell (DELL), indicating it's not unassailable.  [View news story]
    Heh, maybe RIMM should do a Google and give everyone 10% raises.
    Nov 24 03:28 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The survival of the euro comes down to how two questions are answered, Geoffrey Wood writes: "Would Germany want to remain in a union with slow-growing, fiscally irresponsible members? And would those countries in turn want to stay in a union in which they are no more than poor and subservient provinces?" The answer seems clear.  [View news story]
    A recent SA comment linked to comments by Merkel and Schauble which are clearly indicating the Germans are trying to figure out a workaround to keep Eurozone together, I think those of us outside it see the benefits of its dissolution but no one on the inside wants to consider it.

    No one is getting kicked out and no one is leaving of their volition. The SA question becomes, if Euro isn't going away, what WILL happen to Euro?
    Nov 24 03:27 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment