Breakingviews

China’s startups have few good options left

September 20, 2016

A slowdown in venture capital is squeezing smaller tech hopefuls. Many have flocked to the "New Third Board" but it's hard to raise new equity on this moribund over-the-counter market. Some cash-strapped groups may sell out to larger rivals, or cut costs and hope for the best.

Tencent is sturdiest rock inside China’s firewall

August 18, 2016

China's closed internet has allowed giants Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent to thrive. The fortunes of the trio are diverging, however. While Baidu has stumbled and Alibaba too often goes off track, Pony Ma's focus makes the $240 bln Tencent look like the best of the bunch.

Chinese investors up the ante in online games

August 1, 2016

Gaming outfit Shanghai Giant, Alibaba boss Jack Ma, and partners are buying Israel's Playtika for $4.4 bln. This looks pricier than Tencent's recent purchase of the firm behind Clash of Clans. Plus, casino-style games are even more at risk of being overtaken by the latest hit.

Oracle-NetSuite deal may be sweetest for Ellison

July 28, 2016

The business-software company is paying $9.3 bln, a whopping 44 pct premium, for a cloud-computing company effectively controlled by the Oracle CEO. The deal makes strategic sense, but Ellison looks to be once again cashing in on a side investment at Oracle's expense.

ARM bids best left to the irrational or desperate

July 18, 2016

Japan's SoftBank's $32 bln offer for the UK chip designer is a monster bet on the "internet of things". It would only make financial sense if the bidder quintupled ARM's operating profit. That sets a high bar for rivals like Intel, who in any case could face anti-trust hurdles.

Salesforce fluffs up cloud business at a high cost

June 1, 2016

The online-software company agreed to pay $2.8 bln for e-commerce specialist Demandware. That may add some zing to slowing growth while boosting a heated rivalry with old-school Oracle. But the price includes a lofty premium of nine times estimated revenue, a sign of fog ahead.

First case against algorithm could reboot U.S. law

December 22, 2014

A market manipulation prosecution essentially turns on whether one program duped another. That makes proving criminal intent seem futuristic at best. Similar obstacles could trip up other cases where software is the de facto defendant. Judges will tackle the issue in 2015.

Tim Cook’s pride may expand corporate talent pool

October 30, 2014

The Apple CEO’s decision to speak publicly about being gay should help advance the march toward acceptance. As boss of the world’s biggest company by market value, Cook could inspire others, giving C-suites and boardrooms more choice. They could use it.

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.

Larry Ellison cedes driver seat with hand on wheel

September 19, 2014

The Oracle founder is stepping down as CEO, but his 25 pct stake in the software giant – and dual role as chairman and chief technology officer – ensure he’s far from relinquishing control. Splitting his old job between two executives could, however, lead to a bumpy transition.