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Oct 18, 2012
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Google’s hardware ambitions proving costly

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By Robert Cyran

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews journalist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Google’s hardware ambitions are proving surprisingly costly. The search giant paid $12.5 billion for Motorola’s handset business. The division lost another $527 million in the third quarter and the mistaken early release of unexpectedly weak earnings knocked over $20 billion off Google’s market capitalization in afternoon trade. A bigger concern is the risk of long-term management distraction.

Oct 2, 2012

Super-voting stock hardly super in terms of value

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions
expressed are his own.)

By Robert Cyran

NEW YORK, Oct 2 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Super-voting stock
is hardly super in terms of value. Facebook (FB.O: Quote, Profile, Research), Groupon
(GRPN.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and Zynga (ZNGA.O: Quote, Profile, Research) are among the growing number of
companies using multiple classes of shares. Yet their returns
are worse than for simpler ownership structures over most time
periods, new research finds. Investors should consider they’re
often giving up more than just control.

Sep 24, 2012
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iPhone 5 will live up to the hype – in time

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Robert Cyran
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The iPhone 5 will live up to the hype – in time. Apple sold 5 million of the new handset, or about $3 billion worth, during its three-day debut. That fell short of Wall Street’s whisper number, which was up to twice as high. Yet the latest sales outpaced those of its predecessor and the company couldn’t meet demand. Supply-chain glitches and map-app hysteria won’t derail Apple’s smartphone train.

Sep 20, 2012
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Real estate wave helps an IPO avoid tech wipeout

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By Robert Cyran
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

A real estate wave helped an initial public offering avoid a tech wipeout. Newly listed shares of Trulia, an online property listing service, popped by over 40 percent in their debut on Thursday. That defies the dire dot-com market evidenced by the likes of Facebook and Groupon. The U.S. housing recovery is a good story but Trulia is also still hitched to the Web.

Sep 19, 2012
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Obama may find an exceptional friend in Facebook

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By Robert Cyran
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

U.S. President Barack Obama might find an exceptional friend in Facebook. The social network’s second-in-command, Sheryl Sandberg, should be on the short list for a top economic job if he wins a second term in office. Yet she’d potentially give up some $130 million in unvested equity to take the job. Her boss Mark Zuckerberg could bridge the gap. But it may cost Facebook shareholders dearly.

Sep 17, 2012

Motorola: the breakup that keeps on giving

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions
expressed are his own.)

By Robert Cyran

NEW YORK, Sept 17 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Motorola has
been the corporate breakup that keeps on giving. Splitting in
two early last year resulted in Google (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) buying its
cellphone operations for a chunky premium. Motorola Solutions
(MSI.N: Quote, Profile, Research), its emergency communications arm, has done even better.
Moreover, the $14 billion company looks poised to buy back a
third of its stock without much strain.

Sep 12, 2012
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Apple’s iPhone offers subtle and sublime charms

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By Robert Cyran
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Apple’s iPhone 5 offers subtle and sublime charms. The unveiling of the company’s latest handset may have been a bit of a snooze. Better isn’t as exciting as new. But throw in improved software and it’s enough to be a big hit with consumers – and Apple investors, too.

Sep 11, 2012
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Tech IPO disaster represents epic cautionary tale

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By Robert Cyran

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews  columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The latest IPO disaster is an epic cautionary tale. Special effects creator Digital Domain Media Group, whose credits include “Titanic,” “Transformers” and the Tupac Shakur hologram, filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday less than a year after going public. Elements of the company’s problems are shared by other new technology stocks. It’s a case study for investor skepticism. 

Aug 14, 2012

Google searches for local edge with guidebook deal

By Robert Cyran

NEW YORK, Aug 13 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Frommer’s travel guides may be better known among frugal travelers with comfortable shoes than with the digital cool kids. Yet Google’s purchase of the publisher looks like a smart way to further its push into the booming local online advertising market, building on last year’s purchase of Zagat, the dining curator.

The growth of smartphones – more than half of Americans now have one – is profoundly affecting Google. While users flock to the devices, advertisers haven’t yet. This can be easily seen in the search firm’s results – while the number of clicks on ads rose more than 40 percent in the last quarter, the amount of revenue Google fetches per click fell 16 percent.

Aug 10, 2012
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Yahoo investors counting on Mayer burning cash

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By Robert Cyran
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

This looks like a case of lost in translation for Yahoo. The internet group led by Marissa Mayer says it may use much of the bounty from selling its stake in Alibaba, the Chinese web conglomerate, for acquisitions, rather than returning it to shareholders in the form a special dividend or buyback. As crummy as that sounds, it is already baked into Yahoo’s value. Investors seem resigned to Mayer wasting a chunk of their cash. 

Yahoo obviously did not hire Mayer to wind down the troubled company. The former Google hotshot is ambitious. And the $70 million pay package the company granted her must be predicated on bigger things than acting as a caretaker or liquidator. Yet investors seemed startled that Mayer now may hang on to the $4.2 billion or so Yahoo will reap after taxes from the sale of half of its stake in Alibaba. Yahoo’s shares fell almost 6 percent. 

    • About Robert

      "Robert Cyran, U.S. tech columnist, joined Breakingviews in London in 2003 and moved four years later to New York, where he continues to cover global technology, pharmaceuticals and special situations. Robert began his career at Forbes magazine, where he assisted in the start-up of the international version of the magazine. Before working at Breakingviews he worked as a market researcher and reporter covering the pharmaceutical industry. Robert has a Masters degree in economics from Birmingham University and an undergraduate degree from George Washington University."
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