July 2011 archive

Most Debt-Limit Debate Ignores the Real Issues

Yesterday, we initiated a new poll regarding the topic that is dominating current financial news. However, while the poll does address the question of tax increases vs. spending cuts, any poll limited to a single question on this difficult subject cannot address the full issue. The real issue is the deficit. Borrowing is only required …

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Nortel bankruptcy patent auction is biggest technology patent sale ever

Nortel’s patent portfolio was recently auctioned. The final cash price is a surprisingly high $4.5 billion for around 6000 patents and patent applications. The auction process and participants are described in this article. Nortel described the package as: … more than 6,000 patents and patent applications [covering] wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, Internet, …

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President Obama should stop fibbing about his pro-business de-regulation policies

In mid-January 2011, President Obama announced a business regulatory review. A prior blog entry indicated that this was likely a non-event.  Sadly so far, there has been no major de-regulation of American business under the Obama Administration. But the lack of progress did not keep President Obama from bragging about the non-existent progress.  In a …

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Americans missed out on $67 billion vacation in 2010

America is well known for providing its workers with less vacation time than other industrialized nations. According to a 2009 study by Mercer, more than two dozen industrialized nations require employers to offer at least four weeks of paid vacation to workers. Approximately a quarter of working Americans receive no paid time off. Despite frequent …

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What if Apple Had to Manufacture in the USA

The components of an iPhone

On June 29th, Samsung upped the stakes in their patent dispute with Apple Computer by filing a complaint with the US International Trade Commission.  The proposed relief sought in the complaint would be to ban Apple from importing the iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch into the U.S.  The battle between Apple and Samsung began when …

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Netflix misses an opportunity by un-tying its services

Groans and moans over product tying (aka bundling) are commonplace. When companies sell products as a package deal only, consumers frequently feel they’re getting the short end of the stick because they’re being “forced” to purchase products they don’t want. The classic example is cable television. The sports fan only wants to watch ESPN and …

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Google’s offer of the open-source Android system may result in a big payday for Microsoft.

The Android is an open-source operating system which Google offers for free.  This allows hardware makers a low cost base on which to build their user interface.   However, Microsoft contends that the Android infringes on its intellectual property patents.  So far, Microsoft has successfully convinced smartphone and tablet maker HTC to pay a $5 per …

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Good News: FBI Makes International Scareware Bust

On June 22nd, the Justice Department announced the arrest of two Latvians accused of running a scareware/Rogue AV scheme that caused as much as $74 million dollars in total loses and infected over a million computers.  The seizure also included five bank accounts, 22 computers in the USA and 25 computers in six other countries  This has become an extremely …

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California has 9 of top 10 U.S. jobless cities

Nevada has the highest unemployment of the states, with California running second in this dubious distinction. But according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, California has nine of the 10 U.S. metropolitan areas with the highest jobless rates. El Centro (east of San Diego) reported 27.7% unemployment. The eight other areas with unemployment at …

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Ponzi Scheme at the local PTA

Another Ponzi scheme has been uncovered.  While the perpetrators are not exactly Bernie Madoff, they did manage to bilk over 40 “investors” out of approximately $4 million. As is common with Ponzi schemes, the victims were concentrated within a tight social network which offers the illusion of trust and the insinuation that the members are …

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