Robert's Feed
Aug 21, 2013
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Big Blue’s earnings engine makes sputtering sounds

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

IBM’s earnings engine is making sputtering sounds. The tech giant missed projections for the first time in years last quarter. Big Blue characterizes these as mere speed bumps. And Chief Executive Ginni Rometty appears hell-bent on making $20 per share in 2015, by the company’s measure of earnings. That’s almost a third more than it earned last year. Pressing on the accelerator of job cuts, software acquisitions and select disposals has worked well so far. But some of the smartest money on Wall Street is betting the company has a bigger problem, with falling sales pointing to a hole in the gas tank.

Aug 14, 2013
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Carl Icahn makes #activism look easy at Apple

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By Robert Cyran 

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

Apple may be Carl Icahn’s easiest activist campaign ever. The 77-year-old billionaire disclosed a big position in the iPad maker on Twitter in what may be one of the most valuable tweets to date, at $142 million a character based on the roughly $20 billion it added to the company’s market value on Tuesday. His message was as simple as the medium – Apple should buy back more stock and fast. It would be a smart, relatively effortless move.

Aug 12, 2013
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Plummeting BlackBerry would stain any buyout

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

At the rate BlackBerry is plummeting, it would stain any buyout. A clean balance sheet makes the $5.4 billion Canadian company an enticing takeover candidate. Like Dell, it’s a technology icon in need of a turnaround. BlackBerry’s cash flow is worse, though, meaning applying leverage would be extra risky. And the Palm precedent should scare corporate buyers.

Aug 2, 2013
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Flawed Dell compromise saves faces all round

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By Robert Cyran

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

A flawed compromise on the buyout of Dell will save faces all round. Letting the $24 billion transaction fade away would have hurt most shareholders, the board and the company’s eponymous founder. A 2 percent hike in the offer price by buyers Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners in return for a tweaked voting procedure won’t delight anyone – but it should seal the deal.

Jul 24, 2013
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Facebook answers questions rivals can’t

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

Facebook is answering questions that its rivals can’t. Big technology firms have mostly reported subpar second-quarter earnings, with desktop software giant Microsoft the leading victim of the shift to mobile computing. By contrast, Mark Zuckerberg’s social network is thriving on portable gadgets, and Facebook’s revenue growth – 53 percent to $1.8 billion in the quarter – was the fastest since its initial public offering in May last year. There’s more fuel here.

Jul 24, 2013
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Apple overcomes China blues for now

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By Robert Cyran

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

Apple has overcome its China blues for now. One of the tech giant’s most reliable engines for growth has been booming Chinese demand. It flamed out during the quarter ended June 29, however, with revenue from the Middle Kingdom shrinking 14 percent. Solid sales in the larger U.S. market helped compensate, leaving revenue flat compared with the same period last year at $35 billion. But the performance shows just how badly Apple needs new products if it wants to shine again.

Jul 23, 2013

Breakingviews- Shrinking mobile gadgets fuel creative destruction

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

By Robert Cyran

NEW YORK, July 23 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Creative
destruction underpins the technology industry. Big names in the
sector, former beneficiaries of the phenomenon, are now
suffering from it. Microsoft (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research), Intel (INTC.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and Google
(GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) all reported disappointing quarterly results. The shift
from PCs to mobile devices is the root cause of their problems.
But Microsoft is in the most parlous position, which explains
the $30 billion decline in its market capitalization since it
reported earnings last Thursday.

Jul 22, 2013
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Dan Loeb’s Yahoo exit hurts investors twice over

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

Dan Loeb’s Yahoo exit hurts investors twice over. The Internet company is buying back two-thirds of the hedge fund mogul’s stake, owned by his firm Third Point, for $1.2 billion. That sucks up most of the cash Yahoo reserved for repurchases. It also heralds the departure of three Third Point-approved directors, robbing Yahoo of some much-needed advisers.

Jul 11, 2013
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Microsoft needs focus, gets bigger org chart

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

Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer says the software giant must speed up and focus on what customers want. That at least is the gist of two sprawling memos justifying a sweeping restructuring, unveiled on Thursday. Yet the Microsoft organization now looks more complex. And the company is vague about its purpose.

Jul 8, 2013

As smartphone battle subsides, OS war heats up

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

By Robert Cyran

NEW YORK, July 8 (Reuters Breakingviews) – The end of the
smartphone battle may be coming into sight, but the operating
system war is heating up. As the clash between handsets running
Google (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and Apple (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) software winds down, the
fight to provide the brains for game consoles, watches and other
gadgets is heating up.