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Jan 20, 2012
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Google finds new tech expectations hard to meet

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

Google has found the expectations of new technology hard to meet. The Internet giant’s revenue rocketed 25 percent in the fourth quarter, but its shares still plunged 9 percent after hours on Thursday. Google failed to match Wall Street’s hopes, whereas Microsoft and IBM’s more pedestrian results – and Intel’s closer fit with analysts’ forecasts – reassured. In uncertain times, the tech sector old guard’s predictability can trump edgier possibilities.

Jan 18, 2012
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Yang’s goodbye finally frees Yahoo

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

Jerry Yang has freed Yahoo by finally saying goodbye. The Internet firm’s co-founder has quit its board as well as those of its valuable Asian assets and position of “chief yahoo.” That gives Scott Thompson, the new chief executive, fresh flexibility. Yang’s departure means a disposal or dismemberment of Yahoo is now that much more likely.

Jan 17, 2012
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Ex-American Idol boss readies own tech audition

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

The former boss of American Idol is ready for his own audition. Robert Sillerman, the TV talent show mogul and concert promoter, has turned a little cash, a listed shell and the buzzy concept of socially networked TV into a big stake in a $1 billion dollar company called Function(x). But so far, the venture only has an X factor in clever finance.

Jan 10, 2012
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Apple ties Cook into Jobs’ boots – at a price

By Robert Cyran 

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

Apple has tied Chief Executive Tim Cook into Steve Jobs’ boots – albeit at a high price. The maker of functional but expensive gadgets now has a $376 million CEO retention plan to match. Cook deserves much after standing in for Jobs, and Apple needs continuity. But in future the board can pay Cook a bit more like the company’s late co-founder.

Jan 4, 2012
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Yahoo’s gain is eBay holders’ pain

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

Yahoo’s gain is probably eBay shareholders’ pain. The Internet company has nabbed Scott Thompson, the head of eBay’s PayPal division, as its new chief executive. That’s good for Yahoo, but less so for eBay’s owners. The auctioneer’s payments business is a gem that could grow faster on its own. Thompson’s walk suggests such a split isn’t coming any time soon.

PayPal has grown rapidly and in the most recent quarter accounted for almost 40 percent of eBay’s revenue. But with more than 100 million regular users, further expansion will increasingly need to come from payments unrelated to eBay and even to the Internet. For example, PayPal is moving into services allowing people to use their phone numbers or swipe cards at terminals in brick-and-mortar stores. Retailers would surely be more receptive if PayPal were free of any connection to eBay, a potential rival for them.

Dec 28, 2011
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Next digital tidal wave target: 3D objects

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

The digital tidal wave up-ended the music, book, film and newspaper industries. The rise of new printing technology now threatens to wreak similar havoc on producers of three-dimensional objects. While this shift will take years, 2012 is shaping up as the year the technological hype hits the mainstream. 

Dec 19, 2011
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Gray market trading sucking life from IPOs

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

Facebook’s initial public offering will grab headlines in 2012. But as Zynga’s tepid debut shows, multiple private investment rounds and the ability to trade shares before going public means slim pickings when public market investors finally get their chance to own a slice of Silicon Valley’s emerging heavyweights. That’s one reason the average IPO this year has wound up trading some 10 percent below its offer price.

Dec 12, 2011
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Rumble in rock garden presages more hostile M&A

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

A rumble in the rock garden may presage more hostile M&A. That’s one way to read the unsolicited $4.6 billion offer that Martin Marietta Materials made for larger rival Vulcan Materials. The all-stock deal won’t succeed without some more fill. But the lesson is clear: if profits can’t be mined from the ground, they can still be found by cutting costs.

Dec 9, 2011
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Canaries in Q4 earnings coal mine looking sickly

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

Two canaries in the fourth-quarter earnings coal mine are looking sickly. DuPont and Texas Instruments now think their results will be weaker than they previously thought. U.S. multinationals’ earnings have been surprisingly robust up to now – but these bellwethers suggest that may be changing.

Dec 6, 2011
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Pharma center of gravity shifts eastward

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

Drug research tends to follow spending. Take Merck’s pledge to invest $1.5 billion in research and development in China over five years. Emerging economies’ citizens are growing wealthier and living longer, while their governments’ fiscal health is robust. Merck’s step suggests the pharmaceutical industry’s center of gravity is shifting eastward accordingly.

    • 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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