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  • Here's a tip: Millennials don't tip  [View news story]
    This seems to be a discussion based on an incorrect premise.
    Tips in most restaurants are shared rather than individually retained. They are pooled to help make up the minimum wage for the staff. The restaurant pays about $2.50/hr plus the tip pool.
    If that sum exceeds the minimum wage, the staff is lucky. If not, the restaurant has to make up the difference. I might add that management also often gets a cut from the tip pool.
    Imho, these changes have eliminated the social basis for tipping, because the only way to reward good service is to slip the person some cash. Putting a big tip on the check just saves the management some money. Applying the minimum wage laws honestly and uniformly seems a better alternative than tipping.
    Jan 3, 2016. 10:42 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Volkswagen orders probe into EPA emissions violations  [View news story]
    I doubt Piech is smiling. His net worth is largely VW stock.
    Moreover, he surely is on the hook. He was the boss until very recently and was known for being very much hands on involved in technical issues. The fraud began and continued on his watch, so the buck stops with him.
    In any case, given US class action law, I'd expect VWs biggest expense will not be the EPA fine, but the suit by the VW diesel owners who were cheated.
    Sep 21, 2015. 04:32 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Market For 'Lemons': A Lesson For Dividend Investors  [View article]
    Are these statistics suitably adjusted for survivor bias?
    Presumably there were numerous other companies back in 1964 that qualified for the high yield, high or low quality rankings that failed to thrive. Excluding them improves the performance of the remainder, but a 1964 investor would not know which to exclude.
    At a minimum, there should be some indication of how large a percentage of firms in both categories disappeared during this 50 year interval. That might also add insight into another risk factor.
    Jun 11, 2015. 04:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Intel Turns The Screws On AMD  [View article]
    AMD is an inconsequential player in the mobile markets that are the growth centers in electronics. Intel needs to adjust its aim to serve those markets, not expand its lead in zero or negative growth segments such as PCs.
    Intel has unfortunately been a repeat non performer in the radio/telephony space, from the days when Radio Free Intel was a
    promising research effort into the new world of digital radio, Thus far, it has always been other players who have gotten market acceptance in this space, not Intel. Yet this ongoing critical failure receives no analytical coverage. Intel management may well be blind to their own failures, but financial analysts are paid to look at facts and report them. It would be great if a smart guy such as Ashraf would burn a few calories on this topic rather than on another AMD rewrite.
    Nov 24, 2013. 04:35 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Mechanical problems may have contributed to the crash of Asiana's Boeing (BA) 777 in San Francisco on Saturday. The pilots had "armed" the plane's auto-throttle devices to maintain a safe airspeed, but the velocity dropped anyway as the jet came into land. Whatever the primary cause of the crash, aviation lawyer Robert Clifford reckons Boeing could anyway be liable, because the 777 didn't have an audio warning of low airspeed despite industry discussions about installing such an alert ten years ago.  [View news story]
    Au contraire.
    Never underestimate the dogged determination of US aviation lawyers seeking justice and a substantial settlement, perhaps in that order.
    If there was a mechanical failure and a secondary sensor that was suggested as a safety measure was omitted, that would be a good starting point for an inquiry. If the competing Airbus aircraft do offer that secondary sensor backup, Boeing's odds in front of a California jury might not be so good, notwithstanding the 777's record.
    Jul 10, 2013. 06:19 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Samsung Galaxy S4: A Gift To Apple Shareholders  [View article]
    Trader, you make a good case for margin compression in the phone business. Your last point about lower iPhone software system capability however seems off the mark.
    Very few customers for this stuff are engineers and most users don't begin to push the limits of their iPhone, much less their S3s or Note2s. They just want stuff that works well and reliably executes the basics. Imho, that reinforces your initial point, phones will get a lot less profitable because they will get a lot cheaper.
    Nobody really needs most of the features producers are cramming on in desperation as they try to cling to the market lead. We are in the same place as the industry was in the 70s with digital watches, they started high priced, then producers added features to keep the price up and then the prices collapsed as the watches became commodities. I think we are just waiting for the sub $100 unsubsidized smart phone to blow this circus apart.
    Mar 15, 2013. 08:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Intel Perfectly Positioned For Next Computing Revolution  [View article]
    As a long suffering Intel shareholder, I would like to believe your cheerful story. Some things give me pause:
    1 The CEO quits unexpectedly, well before any reasonable retirement date.
    2 The Intel graphics drivers remain a mess, many years after first being fingered as a real problem.
    3 Intel remains a day late and a dollar short in the low power computing space, even though that has been the growth arena for the past decade.

    It seems the firm has a good process for incremental product improvement, the Tick, Tock model for alternate annual processor redos and process shrinks, but that that success has blinded the firm to the need to develop completely new markets.
    Imho, the firm has become complacent and lacks the intensity of an Andy Grove, who would never have allowed Intel to miss the mobility revolution as badly as it has thus far.
    Feb 11, 2013. 07:35 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Better Burger Threat To McDonald's  [View article]
    This is a very US centric article and suffers because of it.
    Even the UK MCDs serve a very different menu from their US counterparts, with lamb burgers and vegetarian burgers prominent on the menu. It would be more helpful if the author would focus his considerable talents on MCD's international thrust to judge whether MCD can replicate their Russia success in India and China. Potentially, a truly globalized MCD could dwarf the current enterprise, but I've not found much analysis of that aspect of the business.
    Jan 1, 2013. 08:13 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • It looks like Intel (INTC) is serious about being a pay-TV provider. 9 months after the WSJ reported (to some mockery) a Web-based Intel TV service is in the works, an industry source tells TechCrunch the chip giant will soon launch a subscription service in select cities that features traditional channels and Web video, and relies on an Intel-powered set-top that will be demoed at CES. Unsurprisingly, content licensing issues will limit availability. The source claims Intel was tired of "everyone doing a half-***** Google TV." Google already offers pay-TV services, but they're tied to Google Fiber. (Intel Smart TVs[View news story]
    Having taken the mobile computing and telephony world by storm, Intel is obviously looking for new worlds to conquer.
    Dec 29, 2012. 05:13 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How Intel Can Get Back Into The Apple iPhone  [View article]
    If your analysis is correct, should you not be short QCOM rather than ARMH?
    Dec 18, 2012. 05:58 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Worrisome Amazon CEO Letter  [View article]
    Amazon is easy to do business with and has a good customer service reputation.
    Not sure there are many US retailers that match those attributes any more.
    The company may be cursed with visionary management which is still investing capital and profits in nascent businesses, but there appear to be enough investors willing to give that team the benefit of the doubt, perhaps based on the performance to date, as evidenced by a 1.8:1 price/sales ratio for a low margin retailer.
    Are those investors mistaken? Perhaps, but imho their risk is one of Amazon execution, not competitive threats from sales taxes or new, lower cost competitors.
    The record to date would give these investors some basis for continuing their faith, despite the wretched earnings numbers.
    Apr 15, 2012. 03:27 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Chevron (CVX) files an appeal with Ecuador's National Court of Justice seeking the review of a judgment issued against it early this month in an Ecuadorian court. The oil giant is accused of oil contamination in Ecuador's Amazon region. The company denies the allegations, calling the claims illegitimate.   [View news story]
    An interesting case.
    I do not think Chevron disputes the contamination, but rather the claims arising from that. Afaik, Chevron claims that it acted in compliance with the rather sketchy Ecuadorian environmental regulations in force at the time. So the claims are a sort of ex post law making/enforcement.
    Jan 21, 2012. 12:28 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Siemens (SI) withdrew more than €500M from a large French bank and deposited it with the ECB 2 weeks ago. In total, Siemens has €4-€6B parked at the central bank. A source says the company is concerned about the health of the unnamed French lender and also gets a better interest rate from the ECB.   [View news story]
    Is it common knowledge that private entities can deposit funds with the ECB? If so, what is the threshold? Greek (and perhaps French, Italian, Spanish etc etc) savers want to know.
    Sep 19, 2011. 04:07 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Should Dividend Growth Investors Forgive General Electric? Part 1: The Jack Welch Era  [View article]
    Given McNerney's performance at Boeing, I think Jack picked the right guy. Nardelli did well operationally, but his tin ear for public concerns did him in.
    Jul 21, 2011. 03:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment