Breakingviews

HP’s China deal extracts harmony from awkwardness

May 22, 2015

Selling 51 pct of its Chinese networking unit for $2.3 bln to a state-owned company looks like a partial retreat from an unfriendly market. But the U.S. tech giant now has a powerful ally with deep ties to Beijing. Rivals from Cisco to Microsoft should consider similar matches.

Review: The virtual bubble of bitcoin

By Edward Chancellor
May 15, 2015

The digital currency fits well in the inglorious history of finance. Nathaniel Popper tells the story in “Digital Gold”. Bitcoin’s hot idea, limited supply and uncertain value helped spawn a price explosion. After the bust, the underlying technology may still have a future.

China’s cyber crackdown: A guide for the perplexed

April 24, 2015

The People’s Republic is squeezing technology companies. New banking rules and counter-terrorism legislation could make it harder for foreign groups to operate in the expanding market. Is security just an excuse to protect domestic players? Breakingviews cracks the code.

China’s answer to Uber may be worth more than Uber

April 13, 2015

Twin taxi-hailing apps Didi and Kuaidi Dache may be worth $14 bln – twice their last reported amount – a Breakingviews calculator shows. They could even close in on the $40 billion valuation of Uber itself. All hangs on what passengers will pay for something they now get free.

Tencent’s discount to Facebook harder to justify

April 7, 2015

The Chinese social media giant generated about the same revenue as its U.S. counterpart last year and was more profitable, despite having fewer users. Yet it trades at a lower multiple of earnings. As the two business models converge, the valuation gap needs a rethink.

NY judge gives 1970s sitcom a Silicon Valley spin

April 2, 2015

A “Three’s Company” parody didn’t breach rights to the TV hit, despite similarities. Like rulings on Google Books and Aereo’s video streaming, the verdict reflects Big Apple legal thinking that ideas are for sharing. It’s a philosophy tech firms might want more courts to follow.

Clock ticks for Swatch in Apple Watch challenge

March 17, 2015

Swatch CEO Nick Hayek is sanguine about the tech giant’s attempt to disrupt time. Yet he faces tricky options: lock horns with Tim Cook in a smartwatch war, or move upmarket where Apple will struggle to compete on craftsmanship. Swatch doesn’t look primed for either.

Watch the small print in Qualcomm’s China fight

February 4, 2015

Antitrust regulators are putting together a case against the U.S. chipmaker. If it’s found guilty, a big fine would grab the headlines. But forcing Qualcomm to lower patent fees, or banning the company from linking royalties to chip sales, could do greater financial damage.

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.

Bitcoin is latest victim of disinflation

By Edward Hadas
January 16, 2015

The would-be currency is down 33 pct this year. Bitcoin is a collectible like a painting so psychology matters, and that’s against it in the current climate. Free transactions could end too. The tech may have value, but bitcoin will struggle to regain lost confidence.