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from Breakingviews:

Apple CEO Tim Cook gets $25 billion warning shot

By Rob Cox

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Shareholders have given Apple boss Tim Cook about 25 billion reasons to worry. That’s how many dollars they have wiped off the company’s stock-market value in the past two days after a botched system update and reports its new iPhones can be bent. It’s a small hit for a $600-billion-odd company. But the 2012 Apple Maps fiasco is a reminder that one-off snafus can presage prolonged pain.

On their own, neither problem necessarily constitutes an impending disaster. Exerting pressure on the longer, thinner iPhone 6 Plus – say by putting it in a back pocket and sitting on it – smacks more of user error – or a YouTube dare - than anything else. It is, though, embarrassing that a software update to fix some bugs in Apple’s new iOS 8 operating system had to be pulled on Wednesday because it contained a flaw of its own.

All tech firms – even Apple - have launch problems at some point. And unlike automotive companies, they tend not to result in dead customers. Founder Steve Jobs dropped the price of the original iPhone by $200 soon after its 2007 launch, angering many who’d bought it already. Its iPhone 4 sported an imperfect antenna design that prompted the company to provide rubber bumpers free of charge. And Apple’s premature move two years ago to replace Google Maps with its own crummy version left people annoyed and, at times, literally lost.

from Breakingviews:

Sam Waksal’s new biotech tests Wall Street amnesia

By Robert Cyran

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Sam Waksal’s new biotech tests Wall Street’s selective amnesia. The former ImClone boss who went to prison for an insider trading scandal that also ensnared Martha Stewart said on Wednesday that he plans to take his latest venture, Kadmon, public this year. He follows second-chancers like Donald Trump and Long-Term Capital Management founder John Meriwether. Investors can be astonishingly forgiving.

from Breakingviews:

Wall Street needs sheriff more than toll collector

By Reynolds Holding

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Wall Street needs a sheriff more than a glorified toll collector. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is stepping down after squeezing multibillion-dollar penalties from the likes of JPMorgan and Bank of America. He had less success securing convictions, though, making law enforcement just an expensive cost of doing business. Next financial crisis, Uncle Sam should send in a tougher cop.

from Breakingviews:

Hedge-fund-free – the latest Californian fad?

By Richard Beales

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Call it the Sacramento Model. In contrast to the famed Yale Model for endowments, Calpers, the $300 billion Californian pension manager, is exiting its $4 billion of hedge fund investments. For retirement funds, Calpers’ hedge-fund free regime could be more than the latest fad from the Golden State.

from Breakingviews:

SAB/Heineken could leap antitrust hurdles

By Robert Cole

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

A $130 billion Anglo-Dutch beer monster could leap antitrust hurdles. Heineken has rebuffed a takeover approach from SABMiller as “non-actionable.” As you might expect from a combination of the world’s second- and third-biggest brewers, there are major competition concerns. But these could be fixed and the result would be an emerging markets titan. The rejection suggests family control of Heineken is the real sticking point.

from Breakingviews:

Rakuten’s $1bln U.S. buy stretches loyalty logic

By Una Galani

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Rakuten’s latest acquisition stretches loyalty logic. Buying U.S. cash back site Ebates for $1 billion will help Japan’s largest e-commerce group beef up abroad. It also underscores Rakuten’s determination to use loyalty schemes to distinguish itself from rivals like eBay and China’s Alibaba. Yet, as with Rakuten’s other recent chunky deals, it’s unclear how all the parts fit together.

from Breakingviews:

Six steps to Alibaba’s twelve-figure valuation

By Peter Thal Larsen 

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

How do you value a tech company? What about a dominant, fast-growing, profitable tech company with no peers that operates in an opaque economy? Fund managers need to decide as Alibaba kicks off the roadshow for its long-awaited initial public offering. Breakingviews offers a six-step guide to sizing up China’s biggest e-commerce group.

from Breakingviews:

Gold’s geopolitical ledge won’t hold up

By Ian Campbell

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The Ukrainian crisis and Middle Eastern conflict have provided a respite for the price of gold. After going over a cliff and dropping from heights of $1,700 an ounce during 2013, it has found a ledge at around $1,300. The ledge is eroding.

from Breakingviews:

Tragedy may reshape Brazil economy, not just vote

By Martin Hutchinson and Richard Beales

The authors are Breakingviews columnists. All opinions expressed are their own. 

Add Marina Silva to the challenges facing Dilma Rousseff. Brazil’s president faces a new opposition candidate in October’s election after Eduardo Campos’ death in a plane crash, and Silva looks a far bigger threat. If she ousts Rousseff, which polls show is possible, Brazil could gain economically from less state meddling.

from Breakingviews:

SoftBank’s U.S. mobile retreat is least bad option

By Peter Thal Larsen 

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Masayoshi Son has been forced to scale back his mobile phone ambitions in the United States. The chief executive of Japan’s SoftBank has belatedly bowed to hostile regulators and abandoned plans for his Sprint unit’s $32 billion takeover of T-Mobile US. He has chosen the least bad option.

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