Breakingviews

Murdoch’s second season could be good for Sky

January 29, 2016

Four years after resigning at the height of a phone-hacking scandal, James Murdoch is back as chairman of the pay-TV group. That may rattle minority investors, but Murdoch has proven himself. It would be an odd move if Fox planned to buy the 61 percent of the company it doesn’t own.

Facebook’s free internet faces big test in India

January 5, 2016

Mark Zuckerberg is fighting hard to save his plan to offer a free mobile web service to the country’s poor. If India shuts it down, other developing nations may follow. It’s another case where the social network founder’s apparently noble goals have sparked a furious backlash.

Netflix will be recast from ally to villain

December 22, 2015

Once derided as the “Albanian army” by Time Warner boss Jeff Bewkes, the video-streaming service is now valued at about the same $55 bln as his company. With some 69 mln subscribers globally, it may be too late for media bosses to do anything about this beast they helped create.

China will stop ignoring Facebook’s friend request

December 22, 2015

The People’s Republic has blocked access to the $300 bln social network since 2009. Boss Mark Zuckerberg is eager to leap the Great Firewall. LinkedIn and Apple have shown China’s censors that foreign groups can play by local rules. Finding a local partner should seal the deal.

Yahoo a good bet for Barry Diller’s menagerie

December 9, 2015

The flailing internet firm scrapped plans to spin off its Alibaba stake and may split its search and advertising unit instead. The media mogul’s assorted online businesses could be a logical home, as might Verizon, owner of AOL. In truth, almost any deal would be a win for Yahoo.

China’s music dream is out of tune with reality

December 4, 2015

State planners are good at building bridges and roads. Appealing to consumers is harder. Their latest goal is to expand China’s music business to $47 bln by 2020 – almost three times the current size of the U.S. market. It just shows how out of touch bureaucrats are.

Yahoo sale would carry a warning from print

December 3, 2015

The internet company may be putting itself on the block. Private equity is interested – and perhaps in L.A. Times parent Tribune, too. Both are plagued by a long-term decline in advertising revenue. LBO shops fell victim to that disease with newspapers a decade ago.

Jack Ma paper chase is test of newsprint’s appeal

November 26, 2015

The Alibaba founder is interested in buying Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post. The 112-year old title’s earnings are under pressure, and the financial logic looks thin. But as fellow e-commerce boss Jeff Bezos showed with the Washington Post, newspapers still have trophy value.

Facebook a master at hooking users on mobile habit

November 5, 2015

The social network reported more than 1 bln active daily visitors, a testament to its success in persuading people to check in on smartphones and tablets. Its reward was a 40 pct rise in ad revenue. Future growth may depend on pushing this kind of digital addiction.

Did Watson randomly generate IBM’s weather deal?

October 28, 2015

Big Blue’s purchase of the bulk of Weather Co assets carries no clear strategic logic or even a price tag. But it has created a golden opportunity for CEO Ginni Rometty to distract her long-suffering shareholders with a litany of buzzwords and hollow corporate speak.