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Friday, 4-May-2012 08:35 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Apple is Headed for a Fall, Says Forrester CEO

Never mind the blowout numbers announced Tuesday. Apple's best days are behind it.
Or so says Forrester Research CEO George Colony, who believes the iPhone and iPad maker without Steve Jobs is essentially rudderless, a company sailing downwind toward mediocrity.
As Colony sees it, the problem with Apple is that, well, Jobs is dead.
Apple's co-founder, as we all know, was a charismatic guy. Jobs had an uncanny ability to lure disciples, some of whom saw him as a guru-like figure with exceptional--perhaps even enchanted--powers. This was a carefully cultivated image that Jobs himself worked hard to achieve and maintain.
Jobs also had amazing instincts when it came to product design and usability. He knew what consumers wanted and how to deliver it.
Which brings us to Tim Cook, Apple's new CEO. Colony calls Jobs' replacement a "proven and competent executive," but one who lacks the magnetism to a lead a unique company like Apple.
In an April 25 post on his Forrester blog, Colony writes:
"Apple's momentum will carry it for 24-48 months. But without the arrival of a new charismatic leader it will move from being a great company to being a good company, with a commensurate step down in revenue growth and product innovation. Like Sony (post Morita), Polaroid (post Land), Apple circa 1985 (post Jobs), and Disney (in the 20 years post Walt Disney), Apple will coast, and then decelerate."
Fighting words, indeed. There's little doubt Colony will be pilloried by the loony fringe of Apple's user base for his heretical beliefs.

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Thursday, 3-May-2012 11:44 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Barrick Leads Miners Spending Faster Than Earnings Rise

Capital spending by the largest gold producers is increasing at a faster pace than earnings for a second straight year as the industry&rsquo;s biggest mining projects are beset by delays and surging labor costs.
Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX) said yesterday it&rsquo;s reviewing cost estimates for its $5 billion Pascua-Lama gold and silver project on the Chile-Argentina border because of wage and raw-materials inflation. Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM) (NEM) may have to raise the $4.8 billion budget for its Conga mine in Chile after political opposition.
The two gold miners are building the multibillion-dollar mines to arrest a decline in production and end the underperformance of their shares relative to the commodity they produce. Escalating costs may mean producers reassess other proposed projects, according to Jorge Beristain, an analyst at Deutsche Bank AG.
“The growth-at-any-cost route, I think, is the wrong way to go,” George Topping, a Toronto-based analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., said in an interview. “The only people that are making money off building these new mines are the employees, the government, contractors. The shareholders aren&rsquo;t actually getting any of the rewards here.”
Spending Triples
Barrick, Newmont and Goldcorp Inc. (G), the three largest producers by market value, have forecast a combined capital expenditure of as much as $11.8 billion this year, 24 percent more than in 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Aggregate operating income will climb 12 percent, according to the average of analysts&rsquo; estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

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Thursday, 3-May-2012 08:09 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Facebook roadshow a go Some things not set yet

Facebook is reportedly gearing up for an IPO road show that is supposed to start next week, but numerous details remain unknown - especially what range the Menlo Park company expects to price its stock.
Published reports in the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg indicate the road show, a series of key meetings that Facebook's top brass will use to try to sell major Wall Street executives on the merits of investing in the social network, will start Monday.
That would set Facebook on course to start selling stock on May 18 in what is the most widely anticipated technology company initial public offering since Google in 2004.
But Scott Sweet, senior managing partner of the advisory service IPO Boutique, said those investors need a stock price range and the number of shares to be sold before the road show to help them crunch the numbers. And as of Wednesday afternoon, Facebook had yet to file that information with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
That filing could still be made Thursday or Friday, Sweet said. Still, "they can say 'road show' any day of the week, but without the filing, there is no road show," he said.
Facebook, which has investors salivating because it reaches an audience of 901 million members around the world, reportedly plans to list its stock on the Nasdaq stock market under the ticker symbol FB.
Sam Hamadeh, chief executive officer of PrivCo LLC, a New York firm that tracks private companies, said Facebook is working under a "very tight" schedule and gave it only a 50-50 chance of starting its road show on the current schedule, which has already slipped.
Two big last-minute deals by Facebook may also be triggering a further review by the SEC, he said. Last month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, to the surprise of his own board, engineered a deal worth $1 billion to purchase San Francisco's Instagram. Facebook has revealed it paid $300 million in cash for the developer of the popular mobile photo-sharing app.

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Wednesday, 2-May-2012 17:16 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Giant fleas sucked dinosaurs' blood

These were insects much larger than modern fleas and from the size of their proboscis we can tell they would have been mean," says professor emeritus of zoology George Poinar.
"You wouldn't talk much about the good old days if you got bit by this insect. It would have felt about like a hypodermic needle going in - a flea shot, if not a flu shot. We can be thankful our modern fleas are not nearly this big."
Called Pseudopulex jurassicus and Pseudopulex magnus, the creatures had bodies that were flatter than those of present-day fleas, like a bedbug or tick. They had long claws that could reach over the scales on a skin dinosaur's skin, so they could hold on tightly while sucking blood.
Modern fleas are taller and thinner, with shorter antennae, and can move quickly through the fur or feathers of their victims.
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Wednesday, 2-May-2012 13:52 Email | Share | | Bookmark
UBS said in November it intends to cut risk-weighted assets at t

UBS said in November it intends to cut risk-weighted assets at the investment bank by 145 billion francs from 300 billion francs by 2016, under Basel III rules. The company said in March that Andrea Orcel, a top Bank of America Corp. dealmaker, will join in July to run the investment bank with 45-year-old Carsten Kengeter.
Orcel, 48, who joined Merrill Lynch & Co. in 1992, was among the biggest dealmakers when the firm was independent, leading the team that helped Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc buy ABN Amro Holding NV in 2008 in the biggest banking takeover. He was named chairman of global banking and markets after Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America acquired Merrill Lynch in September 2008.
The Italian banker, who got a reported $33.8 million in compensation for 2008, will be joining other former Merrill Lynch employees at UBS, including Ermotti, Robert McCann, 54, who heads business in the Americas, and Mike Stewart, 43, who heads the global equities business at the investment bank.
UBS&rsquo;s investment bank was shaken by the discovery of a $2.3 billion loss from unauthorized trading in September, which resulted in the departure of CEO Oswald Gruebel, 68. Villiger plans to step down at the bank&rsquo;s annual shareholder meeting tomorrow after former Bundesbank President Axel Weber, 55, is elected to the board of directors.
Credit Suisse last week reported that its securities unit benefited less from the rebound in debt markets in the first quarter than U.S. competitors as the Zurich-based company accelerated the reduction of risk-weighted assets. Net income fell to 44 million francs from 1.14 billion francs in the year- earlier period after accounting charges related to Credit Suisse&rsquo;s own debt and costs for 2011 bonuses.

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UBS said in November it intends to cut risk-weighted assets at the investment bank by 145 billion francs from 300 billion francs by 2016, under Basel III rules. The company said in March that Andrea Orcel, a top Bank of America Corp. dealmaker, will join in July to run the investment bank with 45-year-old Carsten Kengeter.
Orcel, 48, who joined Merrill Lynch & Co. in 1992, was among the biggest dealmakers when the firm was independent, leading the team that helped Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc buy ABN Amro Holding NV in 2008 in the biggest banking takeover. He was named chairman of global banking and markets after Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America acquired Merrill Lynch in September 2008.
The Italian banker, who got a reported $33.8 million in compensation for 2008, will be joining other former Merrill Lynch employees at UBS, including Ermotti, Robert McCann, 54, who heads business in the Americas, and Mike Stewart, 43, who heads the global equities business at the investment bank.


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