Breakingviews

SoftBank lives up to its name with Indian startup

May 19, 2015

Housing.com CEO Rahul Yadav is a venture capital nightmare. The 26 year-old has slammed investors including the Japanese group as intellectually incapable and pledged to give away his shares. SoftBank may value a reputation for being founder-friendly, but being weak is worse.

India online retail hierarchy looks far from fixed

May 14, 2015

Investors are pouring money into the country searching for the next Alibaba or Amazon. Though India’s e-commerce opportunity is huge, low barriers to entry mean it is easy for anyone with deep pockets to spoil the party.

Rob Cox: Parsing the short life of Dave Goldberg

May 12, 2015

The untimely death of the CEO of startup SurveyMonkey sparked an unusual outpouring of emotion from Silicon Valley. His age and marital affiliation can only explain part of the response. The worrisome message is that nice guys really are too rare a breed in the tech ecosystem.

Verizon’s dumb pipes no smarter with $4.4 bln AOL

May 12, 2015

Seeking refuge from a vicious wireless war, the telecom carrier is buying the owner of the Huffington Post and old internet dial-up customers. The video ad tech business may be the prize, but it faces threats from Google and others. This is just another silly deal involving AOL.

SoftBank’s next boss more symbol than succession

May 12, 2015

Chairman Masayoshi Son has no plans to retire but has named ex-Google executive Nikesh Arora as his likely successor. Appointing a foreigner to the role may be mainly a way for SoftBank to gild its international credentials, but the gesture is still a valuable one.

Thruppence: Can Snapchat unmask dodgy borrowers?

By Breakingviews Columnists
May 11, 2015

Alternative lender Affirm has raised $275 mln for a model that rates creditworthiness using social media data alongside other old-school indicators. Breakingviews columnists debate whether info gleaned from Facebook and its ilk could supplant traditional credit-scoring methods.

Alibaba generation shift treats investors as kids

May 8, 2015

The e-commerce group is swapping its chief executive for a younger insider. The plan was drawn up before the company’s IPO. Yet Alibaba has offered no explanation. Founder Jack Ma wants to promote young leaders, but investors deserve adult answers on who makes decisions and why.

Would Microsoft really want to own Salesforce?

May 6, 2015

Buying the cloud-based customer-service software could make businesses less likely to ditch Office. It might, however, cost Microsoft some $60 bln, more than all past deals combined. A bold bet for boss Satya Nadella would create earnings dilution that annoys his shareholders.

Salesforce’s slow growth may prompt hunt for buyer

April 30, 2015

The $47 bln software outfit is said to be on the market. Oracle and Microsoft want to beef up cloud capacity, making them possible suitors. Founder Marc Benioff has been offloading shares, and persistent losses and disappointing revenue could tempt him to hawk the whole thing.

Huge Apple payouts play catch-up with China growth

April 28, 2015

The $760 bln iPhone behemoth is adding $50 bln more to its buyback plans. Quarterly numbers, though, show the Middle Kingdom overtaking Europe as Apple’s second-biggest market after 71 pct growth. CEO Tim Cook is in danger of taking more fire for returning cash too slowly.