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Jul 29, 2011

Apple, Google and Microsoft revalue smartphone DNA

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

By Robert Cyran

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) – A battle royale has recalibrated the market for smartphone DNA. With Apple, Google and Microsoft duking it out for control of the mobile market, each needs or desires more and better patents for supremacy. Without them, their devices are vulnerable to shakedowns for royalties or, worse, demands to stop using the innovations. This has sparked a mad dash to acquire such portfolios — for use as both a saber and a shield.

Jul 22, 2011
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Microsoft ought to kick off search for Bing buyer

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

NEW YORK — Microsoft needs to concentrate on a different kind of search: finding a buyer for Bing, its online search business. The industry’s distant number two is a distraction for the software giant — and one that costs shareholders dearly. The division that houses Bing lost $2.6 billion in the latest fiscal year. Facebook, or even Apple, might make a better home for Bing. And a sale would be a boon for Microsoft’s investors.

Jul 21, 2011
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Express/Medco deal is antitrust roll of the dice

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

NEW YORK — Express Scripts’ $29.1 billion cash and stock offer for Medco Health Solutions isn’t just one of the largest deals of the year — it’s a massive antitrust roll of the dice. The combination would create a kahuna in the pharmacy benefits management (PBM) industry. So much so, it looks like a provocation to trustbusters.

Jul 15, 2011
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Google shrugs off economy and sets bar for rivals

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

What weak economy? Google’s second-quarter revenue and earnings both jumped more than a third year-on-year. Android, Google’s surging mobile platform, is picking up 550,000 customers daily. And a suddenly thriving social network is a warning shot for competitors.

Jul 14, 2011
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Facebook’s primary engine nears burnout

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

Facebook has added 150 million members over the past six months, bringing its total to 750 million. The end of the social network’s rocket ride may, however, be in sight. The company’s growth rate has been slowing. It took less than eight months to go from 100 million to 200 million users. The latest doubling took about a year and a half.

Jul 8, 2011
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CEO’s pay package hits brazen new high — and low

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

The real estate industry somehow just pushed the limits of executive pay. Simon Property Group is giving Chairman and Chief Executive David Simon shares worth $120 million to stick around until 2019. America’s biggest mall owner, co-founded by Simon’s father and uncle, has rebounded well from the recession. But Simon already has a fat compensation deal. Top brass don’t deserve extra bonuses just for showing up.

Jul 5, 2011
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Zynga brings much-needed cash crop to IPOville

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

Tech firms have gone to market this year by the bushel with little earnings in tow. Zynga arrives with income aplenty from online games like FarmVille. And Zynga’s profitability is even more bountiful than first appears.

Jul 1, 2011
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Pricey Nortel IP shows fear of Google’s Android

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

Android paranoia can now be valued. A consortium of Apple, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research In Motion and Sony has agreed to pay an eye-watering $4.5 billion for wireless patents and applications held by bankrupt Nortel. That’s about three times the expected price, and blows Google’s early $900 million bid out of the water. It’s partly an effort to hold back the search giant’s phone platform, but Android looks strong enough to shrug it off.

Jun 30, 2011
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Google probe may resemble Microsoft’s in end alone

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

The antitrust probe into Google invites comparisons to the case against Microsoft. But however easy the links are to make, many are also facile. The most significant resemblance between the two situations may be their outcomes.

Jun 24, 2011
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History suggests Big Tech discount could linger

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

Microsoft, Apple and Google — together worth over $650 billion — seem to have plenty of growth left in the tank, but it’s not evident in their stock valuations. The shares of all three tech giants, after accounting for their cash hoards, trade at a discount to the market. This phenomenon isn’t new. Investors shunned the sector for long stretches twice over the last 40 years, worrying that obsolescence might pre-empt expansion.

    • 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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