Breakingviews

Apollo wagers $4.3 bln on Amazonian capitulation

August 26, 2016

Leon Black's private-equity firm is taking Rackspace private as the cloud-computing firm has struggled to compete against Amazon, Microsoft and other tech heavyweights. If Rackspace's strategic shift to sell services on these platforms succeeds, Apollo will have a nice payday.

New planet may help Silicon Valley live its cliché

August 25, 2016

Proxima b, the just-spotted Earth-like body in the star system nearest the sun, could be reached in 20 years by a super-fast spacecraft being financed by tech titan Yuri Milner. Making our world a better place is a startup bromide. Visiting another would deliver on the promise.

Uber steers self-driving to robots vs. jobs crash

August 18, 2016

The ride-hailing app is buying autonomous big-rig startup Otto and unleashing driverless taxis in Pittsburgh. Such technology would save lives but automate a task that employs millions of U.S. workers. The U.S. safety net is ill-prepared for such a job-destroying juggernaut.

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.

Two $150 bln-plus tech giants face divergent futures

August 17, 2016

Intel is swallowing its pride and licensing IP from rival ARM. Cisco, meanwhile, may be planning to cut 20 pct of its workers. The outlook for last-generation tech titans is often grim as margins shrink. But the capital intensity of chipmaking should give Intel a second life.

China’s Netflix-to-Tesla is spread painfully thin

August 16, 2016

Jia Yueting's LeEco is pushing into TVs, mobile handsets, electric vehicles and video-streaming. That poses huge financial and strategic challenges for his mostly private group. These are fast-moving, capital-intensive industries with very well-resourced competitors.

Lyft’s off-ramp leads to General Motors

August 15, 2016

The No. 2 U.S. ride-hailing service recently rebuffed takeover interest from its 9 pct owner. There are good reasons for Lyft to steer clear of Detroit, despite a shared vision for autonomous cars. But cash-flush rivals could yet force the Silicon Valley upstart into GM's lane.

Disney deal finally puts ESPN on offense

August 10, 2016

A year after sparking concerns about its sports network losing subscribers, the media conglomerate is buying a one-third stake in Major League Baseball's streaming technology firm for $1 bln. That will take ESPN direct to consumers and give Disney a valuable step into the future.

Microsoft’s Monster warning for LinkedIn deal

August 9, 2016

The software giant's $26 bln swoop for the professional social-networking site already looked pricey. Monster.com offers a cautionary tale of how bad it could get. The job-listing board was once worth $8 bln until LinkedIn crushed it. Now it has sold to a rival for just $429 mln.

Wal-Mart has long unicorn ride in Amazon chase

August 4, 2016

The $220 bln retail titan is reportedly in talks to buy Jet, a fledgling online-shopping site. Wal-Mart has been accelerating acquisitions of tech startups in a bid to beef up digital efforts. Amazon, however, keeps moving ahead with efforts like one-day shipping and groceries.