Feb 4, 2014 17:19 UTC

Microsoft founders recede into middle distance

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By Robert Cyran
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
Microsoft’s founding fathers are finally receding into the middle distance. Satya Nadella’s experience makes him a solid choice to succeed longtime Chief Executive Steven Ballmer. Better still, he will have greater room to maneuver as Bill Gates steps down as chairman. Nadella will need to grapple with his predecessors’ bad decisions, like the Nokia deal, and he’s unlikely to pursue a breakup. But he can focus on what the company does best.

While many candidates entered the frame, it was always going to be a difficult post to fill. Microsoft spans everything from its omnipresent operating system to enterprise software to consumer hardware. It’s also threatened by upstarts and a shift in technology away from PCs. Finding a manager that understands technology, all these markets and has skills in revitalizing a mature behemoth was close to impossible.

Feb 3, 2014 15:11 UTC

Lloyds still looks best of a bad bunch of UK banks

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By Dominic Elliott

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

Lloyds Banking Group’s past is delaying its promise of a sunnier future. The lender brought forward its annual results on Feb. 3, including the shock revelation of another 1.8 billion pounds of legal reserves to cover the mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI). The past weighs heavily on Lloyds, but its premium to peers still looks intact.

Jan 31, 2014 21:45 UTC

Chinese M&A rings in new year with Auld Lang Syne

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

Old friends are kicking off Chinese New Year with a rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne. Last year’s $2.5 billion sale of Cooper Tire & Rubber was undermined by its joint venture partner in Rongsheng. The two sides have now agreed a deal that helps them part ways. Given what transpired, Cooper may not be the only outsider singing “should old acquaintance be forgot” in the Year of the Horse.

Jan 31, 2014 11:30 UTC

Emerging vacuum a harbinger of global downdraught

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By Ian Campbell

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

Emerging economy policymakers are wailing, understandably. But they can’t expect some magical coordination of global monetary policy. U.S. tightening is essential to curb global bubbles. Emerging markets are the first victims. They won’t be the last.

Jan 30, 2014 18:04 UTC

Lenovo’s M&A spree challenges investors’ faith

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By Ethan Bilby and Peter Thal Larsen
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Lenovo prides itself on being a modern multinational, but its approach to divulging information remains frustratingly old-school. The Chinese group is buying Google’s Motorola phone business just a week after picking up IBM’s low-end server unit. Adding the two loss-making divisions to its portfolio will cost up to $5.2 billion in cash and stock. Though there’s some strategic logic, shareholders have little way of working out whether the deals stack up.

Jan 30, 2014 12:15 UTC
Edward Hadas

Markets give central bankers lessons in humility

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By Edward Hadas

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

Markets are teaching central bankers some hard lessons. The monetary authorities in developed economies are learning how hard it is to switch direction. And emerging markets are showing that no policy rate is right when the economy is wrong.

Jan 29, 2014 18:52 UTC

Sotheby’s revamps financial science – now for art

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By Richard Beales

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

Sotheby’s is revamping its financial science – now for the art. The auctioneer’s stock popped, at least initially, on Wednesday’s news of a $300 million special dividend and new criteria for investment. The plan addresses some aspects of the critique by activist investor Dan Loeb. But governance and broader strategy remain at issue.

Jan 29, 2014 06:43 UTC

Apple numbers show scale of China challenge

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By Ethan Bilby

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

Apple may be a dominant player in flogging smartphones in most of the world, but it’s still an also-ran in China. Disappointing global sales increase the pressure on the iPhone maker to gain ground in the People’s Republic. Though its deal with China Mobile should provide a boost, lower-cost rivals will limit its market share gains.

Jan 28, 2014 18:58 UTC

Travel tech IPO charts familiar round trip

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

Another big pre-crisis buyout is heading for an unexpectedly safe landing. Seven years after taking travel technology company Sabre private for $5 billion, owners TPG and Silver Lake Partners are making the round-trip return to public markets. It’s one of many boom-time deals whose badly timed takeoff led to a bumpy ride.

Jan 28, 2014 05:46 UTC

Exportless recovery adds to emerging market risks

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

The devaluation of the Argentine peso has shaken investors. It’s not exactly an emerging market crisis, but cracks are beginning to emerge in the cheery consensus about the global economy’s prospects in 2014.