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Dec 5, 2012
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Pharma lands one-two punch on government finances

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By Robert Cyran and Reynolds Holding

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Pharma has landed a double blow against the American government. The U.S. Court of Appeals in New York has ruled that a drug salesman was exercising his right to free speech by pitching a narcolepsy drug as effective against insomnia, chronic fatigue and other conditions the Food and Drug Administration had not approved. If the Supreme Court upholds this decision, companies will pay fewer multi-billion dollar fines and useless healthcare spending will increase.

Nov 30, 2012
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Groupon discounts dual-class share structures

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By Robert Cyran

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

Groupon’s melodrama is discounting dual-class share structures. Chief Executive Andrew Mason and Chairman Eric Lefkofsky appear locked in a dysfunctional battle over how to run the flailing company. The board is keeping Mason at the helm, but the fighting probably isn’t over. Super-voting shares like the ones both men own are meant to give founders flexibility. But Groupon is a reminder of just how dangerous the arrangement can be.

Nov 19, 2012
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If Apple becomes Microsoft, investors should cheer

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By Robert Cyran and Richard Beales
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

If Apple becomes Microsoft, investors should cheer. At least, that is, for their wallets. Middle age for technology stocks can hurt as shareholders looking for rapid growth lose interest and value-oriented owners await stability. But Apple has already made the transition – before its growth has slowed much. Even if its next decade echoes Microsoft’s last, the company is worth over $1 trillion.

Nov 7, 2012
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Sandy fiasco reveals investor-customer disconnect

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

Hurricane Sandy revealed a massive disconnect between the shareholders of electric utilities and their customers. The storm that caused up to $50 billion of damage across the American East Coast left 8 million people without power – and extra ornery. Politicians are hopping mad, too. Yet the market values of the region’s three listed monopolies barely took a hit. That may be rational today, but in the long term cannot last.

Oct 31, 2012
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Apple infighting may be sign of golden age waning

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

Executive infighting at Apple may be a sign of a golden age on the wane. The company’s genius has always been the smooth integration of art and engineering. Steve Jobs’ force of will kept an uneasy peace between these two camps. With mobile software chief Scott Forstall out, design guru Jony Ive will have a say over hardware and software. That is a big ask, as Apple needs mastery of both.

Oct 25, 2012
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Apple results shrink iPad mini’s relevance

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

Apple’s results have shrunken the iPad mini’s relevance to size. Hawking nearly 27 million iPhones last quarter dwarfs all the hoopla earlier this week surrounding the launch of the tinier tablet, which may sell about the same amount in a year. Moreover, iPad profit margins don’t compare – and the mini’s will be smaller still. The phone still energizes the Apple ecosystem.

Oct 24, 2012
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Why do investors prefer Amazon to Apple?

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

Why do investors prefer Amazon to Apple? Sure, the gadget maker’s market capitalization is far larger. Yet investors are willing to pay almost nine times as much for the retailer’s estimated earnings. That looks expensive in any case. But it’s also odd, because Amazon perpetually promises more jam tomorrow, while Apple delivers it.

Oct 24, 2012

Breakingviews – Apple takes lower-priced tablet fight to Amazon

By Robert Cyran

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) – Apple (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) is taking the tablet fight to Amazon (AMZN.O: Quote, Profile, Research). The Cupertino tech company’s new iPad mini takes it closer to the price point for the online retailer’s devices. The new hardware rivalry could pressure Amazon into price cuts.

Investors didn’t seem to see it quite that way. They knocked some 3 percent, or about $20 billion, off Apple’s market value despite a slew of product updates and the unveiling of the smaller iPad on Tuesday afternoon. Perhaps at an entry-level $329, Apple’s widely anticipated new product wasn’t seen as competitive enough with Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire HD.

Oct 20, 2012
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Is everything sacred in Canada?

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By Robert Cyran

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

Is everything sacred in Canada? At first it was a hole in the ground. Then it was the stock exchange and a DIY chain. This week, regulators blocked two more big deals, including a $5.2 billion bid for Progress Energy by Petronas of Malaysia. Taken as a whole, these actions signal the market for corporate control in Canada – especially when it comes to foreign buyers – is effectively closed.

Oct 20, 2012
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Internet parasitism powers Barry Diller’s returns

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By Robert Cyran

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

Barry Diller is abandoning Newsweek magazine’s print edition as the media mogul’s web businesses are thriving. But his IAC conglomerate seems to be powered by a risky form of internet parasitism. The $4.6 billion company’s stock rallied some 20 percent this year on a boom in online search largely driven by customers unwittingly downloading IAC toolbars. That’s no way to build a lasting business.

    • 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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