Breakingviews

EU’s competition sprawl as worrying as Google’s

April 15, 2015

Europe has accused the web giant of favoring its own shopping search results and broadened the case to include its Android mobile operating system. Investigations and appeals may take a decade. Brussels’ ambitious lack of focus is similar to what threatens ever-expanding Google.

Google’s CFO search should have it feeling lucky

March 24, 2015

There’s a dearth of executives with the financial, tech and government experience needed to help run a $400 bln company. Even fewer women fit the bill. Silicon Valley and Wall Street just can’t find enough Ruth Porats fast enough. The challenge is to create more like her.

Tech drive strips old-school carmakers of clout

By Breakingviews Columnists
March 2, 2015

Apple is the latest to take an interest. From Tesla to Google, the shift to connected, self-driving vehicles may take a while, but it could shake up everything from systems to materials to car usage. The winners may be able to rev up returns far higher than current performance.

SpaceX satellite dream is throwback to 1990s

January 21, 2015

Google is investing in Elon Musk’s company, which is planning a broadband network of 4,000 satellites. The pioneering Teledesic tried something similar two decades ago but failed. Falling costs and rising demand have changed the equation. But SpaceX could still be too early.

Facebook and Google catch glimpse of split future

October 9, 2014

Symantec and EMC may join eBay and HP in breaking up. These old-time tech companies have become unwieldy, often by acquisition. Relative newcomers like Facebook, Google and Alibaba are following a similar growth path. Investors are on board now, but their carve-up time will come.

Heed New York Times governance risk headlines

May 21, 2014

Investors surrendering their rights to founders at Facebook, Google, Alibaba and elsewhere may want to consider the management kerfuffle at the Grey Lady. It’s what can happen when, down the line, the competent leaders they entrusted are gone and their successors entrenched.

Rob Cox: ITT’s ghost hangs over Silicon Valley

May 20, 2014

As Amazon, Facebook, Alibaba and Google have become the new conglomerates, it’s instructive to consider the experience of Harold Geneen, who turned ITT into the original M&A machine. The internet approach may be different, but the driver is the same: a fear of obsolescence.

Mini-me tech bubble is mere shadow of 2000 excess

May 5, 2014

The run-up may have paused, but dozens of companies are in line to float, hubris is rampant, oddball metrics abound, and revenue-free startups are still worth fortunes. Even nerd culture has become hip. The latest internet boom is as absurd as the last, but it’s far smaller.

Rob Cox: GE should put itself up for sale

April 1, 2014

April Fools’ Day joke? Nope. It’s a shareholder proposal on the ballot at GE’s annual meeting. Setting aside the absence of buyers for a $260 bln company, it illustrates the kind of shareholder democracy gone wild that many boards and an SEC commissioner would like to squelch.

Unicorns stampede through tech fantasyland

March 11, 2014

The single-horned stallions have made the leap from legend to run free through Silicon Valley, New York, London and the plains of Israel. The term unicorn is now used to describe the most successful startups. In a different and unintended sense, the trope couldn’t be more apt.