News, Reviews, Commentary and More

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    Amp’d Mobile Files for Bankruptcy

    Filed under: — 11:53 pm

    On June 1 Amp’d Mobile filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Nearly half of their customers don’t pay, and that became a problem.

    Source: BusinessWeek

    Google and Salesforce to Work Together

    Filed under: — 11:50 pm

    “Salesforce will introduce a version of its customer relationship management software that lets small companies buy Google text ads to promote their businesses, then manage leads that result from the campaigns from within Salesforce’s product. The tieup fell short of speculation that Google might buy or invest in Salesforce and underscores that while purveyors of on-demand software are seeking new partnerships for growth, the mergers-and-acquisitions market for those firms remains tepid.”

    Source: BusinessWeek


    News Corp Bids For Dow Jones

    Filed under: — 6:27 pm

    Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has made a $5 billion unsolicited bid for Dow Jones. Dow Jones, which publishes The Wall Street Journal and has the Dow Jones Newswires and MarketWatch news properties, is said to be examining the offer. Down Jones cannot be taken over without the Bancroft family’s consent and they have owned the company since 1902.

    Murdoch has apparently had his eyes set on the Journal for a while, and he is planning to start a cable news channel to compete with CNBC. “Murdoch has said the channel’s programming will be generally more favorable to companies and executives than CNBC’s” so that could mean less objectivity.

    Source: BusinessWeek


    SocialPicks: Stock Picking the Social Way

    Filed under: — 7:41 pm

    SocialPicks is an attempt at using the social aspect of the web to create a site where users manage their stock portfolio while making and reading stock picks. The main page has the standard ajax-based customizable modules and boxes to manage the information you want displayed there. The idea of using the knowledge of many to help pick good stocks is an interesting one, but one that is hard to get perfectly right. In the following article I delve into this relatively new site that is currently in alpha testing.

    Read the Review


    Yahoo and Ebay to Partner

    Filed under: — 12:28 pm

    Yahoo and eBay have announced that they are partnering. Under the terms of the agreement, Yahoo will become the exclusive provider of graphical advertising throughout eBay’s site and will provide some sponsored search results. PayPal will also become the preferred payment provider for purchases made on Yahoo. Skype will also be used as another marketing avenue for advertisers.

    The PayPal agreement could be a huge win for eBay, as Yahoo has many paid services. It could be especially valuable if PayPal is then promoted as the preferred payment method on all of the Yahoo Stores, where merchants can easily create their own online stores. I’ve noticed in at least one Yahoo Store that PayPal is already a default, so this may not have as much of an effect as I originally thought. I’m not sure how other stores are setup.

    Sources: CNNMoney, AP, Forbes


    Dell Burns Itself with Low Prices

    Filed under: — 1:30 pm

    By all accounts Dell has not been doing well. In recent weeks they have been offering many PCS at rock-bottom prices. They often discount machines before a fiscal quarter ends, in hopes of meeting expectations. “On May 8, Dell said it would post fiscal first-quarter revenue of $14.2 billion, at the low end of its earlier projection of $14.2 billion to $14.6 billion. Worse, Dell said it expects earnings of about 33 cents a share, falling short of a projected range of 36 cents to 38 cents, including an estimated three cents of stock-based compensation. The announcement sent shares down by almost 6% in extended trading.”

    “The trouble for Dell is that unit volumes aren’t compensating for price reductions. Besides hurting Dell’s sales and profit, sluggish unit growth is also eroding market share, another key measure of overall health. In the calendar first quarter, Dell’s share slipped for the first time in memory, analysts said. According to market researcher IDC, Dell’s worldwide share of the PC market fell to 18.1% from 18.6%, and in the U.S., share fell to 32.3% from 33.9%.”

    While dell is selling mid-range and high-end machines, those sales aren’t sufficient adn Dell is still being forced to cut prices. Dell also recently announced the acquisition of high-end computer manufacturer Alienware. Alienware always held a special place in my heart, and I hope that Dell doesn’t take them down with the ship.

    Source: BusinessWeek

    Fed Announcement Coming and More

    Filed under: — 2:28 am

    The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee meets to discuss monetary policy. An announcement by the Fed will come Wednesday at 2:15 p.m. Economists polled by Action Economics unanimously believe the central bank will raise the federal funds rate by 25 basis points. The current funds rate is 4.75%. Following Chairman Bernanke’s Apr. 28 testimony before Congress, economists now believe the Fed will not make a move in June.

    Today is a big week for numbers. Wednesday sees the numbers on mortgage application volume and the federal budget. Thursday brings the latest figures on jobless claims, retail sales, and business inventories. And Friday the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center will report its initial reading of consumer sentiment for May.

    Source: BusinessWeek


    AOL Fires 1300

    Filed under: — 1:59 pm

    Today AOL announced that it would lay off some 7% of its global labor force, cutting some 1,300 employees. The company will close its call center in Jacksonville, Fla. and cut jobs from call centers in Ogden, Utah, and Tucson, Ariz.

    An AOL spokesman attributed the call-center cuts to wiser users and to better tools that AOL had developed allowing users to help themselves. Call volume has “dropped by some 50% since 2004.”

    While the article downplays the effect of a decline in AOL subscriptions, these cuts are a step in the right direction for the ailing company.

    Source: Forbes

    Breathing New Life Into BusinessBits

    Filed under: — 1:40 pm

    As you can see the BusinessBits blog has fallen behind in the past few months. I, Jason Schramm, plan to infuse life into this blog again. I plan to bring the focus to market conditions, and general economy news. Of course I will also report on everything else business related, but I feel there is a need for this blog to have a greater focus on the state of the economy.

    You may also notice some slight reorganizations in the layout of this site, but the general layout will remain the same though I may widen the reading area a bit. I am excited to get this blog going again, and I am itching to start posting.


    Remote TiVo

    Filed under: — 4:30 pm

    Well, a couple of months ago I was telling some people how valuable technology would be that allows you to program your TiVo remotely and now I got my wish. There will be features on Verizon phones that once you pay for the service will let you record shows from anywhere. The technology would amaze me except for the fact that I pictured it also being able to show your shows from your TiVo from remote locations.

    The other phone services will probably wait it out and see if its a big draw for Verizon before they jump to spending the money on this technology.


    Spy Sharks

    Filed under: — 4:25 pm

    In the new cool fact of the day scientists are experimenting with the idea of using sharks as spies. The Pentagon wants to control the movements of these sharks with a newly designed neural implant. It could become a new technique in stealth warfare to use animals as scouts.

    I can’t wait to hear what PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has to say about this. It would probably be something like, “how can humans treat sharks this way, sharks have never done anything to us, why they wouldn’t hurt a fly”.

    Check all about these new spy sharks at


    A Real Owner In Sports

    Filed under: — 10:08 am

    I found an owner, that I know its hard to believe, but I think he may be a fan of his own team. Can you imagine an owner and a fan at the same time, its inconcievable. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was seen in his usual courtside seats rooting on his team on Sunday. He was however dressed a little more formal (he was wearing a suit) than his usual attire, a t-shirt and jeans and sometimes if he wants to go fancy, a Maverick jersey.

    The reason we found he was wearing a suit was he was nominated for an academy award for his producer credit on the Edward R. Murrow movie “Good Night and Good Luck”. The only thing is the Oscars were in 3 hours and he was still in Dallas. Cuban flew immediately following the game to the Oscars however, the fact that he was at the game in the first place amazed me. He makes a point of being not only a visual hands on owner but, also the team’s biggest fan, love him-or hate him for it. He was a couple of hours a way from possibly winning the biggest award in Hollywood and he makes sure he stays for an entire Sunday afternoon matinee regular season game, which in the long run is probably quite meaningless.

    I think many owners in sports can learn from his example, maybe not be an insane person yelling at referees but, to share his passion for the team they own. Most owners do not show up to every game and some barely show up making it a special occasion ala’ James Dolan.

    I can’t really knock Dolan (owner of the Knicks) though because other than that he is the ideal owner. Dolan is no doubt the worst all around owner in sports. You could forgive him for the losing if he were passionate or I could forgive his not caring about his team if the team was winning but, the combination of both makes him my worst owner in sports.

    I figured by comparing Cuban to Dolan you make Cuban look that much better but, I can do that with anyone and Dolan. Lucky he seems to be hands off on my New York Rangers this season. Go Rangers!


    Weird MP3 players

    Filed under: — 5:58 pm

    Techeblog has assembled their list of the top 10 strangest MP3 players. They vary from one that looks like a Teddy Bear to one that is an Altoids box. They are all pretty strange but interesting.

    The list is at Top 10 strangest MP3 players

    May I also suggest this entry. Here is an article about what could be coming in terms of the future of MP3 players, which is MP3 players inserted in breast implants. A signal would be relayed via bluetooth to a panel on the wrists.

    The end of the article mentions (pretty comically I might add) that it also may help in other ways like detecting heart murmurs, breast cancer, and diabetes. Somehow I don’t know I thought this might be more important than the fact it could play music

    Ray’s Pizza

    Filed under: — 2:58 pm

    Their are so many companies out there who people believe are taking over the world because they have such a large presence everywhere. Some examples are Walmart and Starbucks. You should be able to go anywhere and find yourself a Starbucks.

    However, no one is keeping their eye on the real threat to this global economy….Ray’s Pizza. Within the block that I work on in Manhattan there are three Ray’s Pizzas. I see the store everywhere I go. Even Hollywood recgonizes this threat because Santa Clause in the movie “Elf” talks about the over saturation of Ray’s Pizzas’ in New York.

    Watch out for a possible Rays’ Pizza-Starbucks merger anyday now.

    In all seriousness though, there are a lot of them. Who is this Ray and why does he have so much pizza?


    Best of Web 2.0

    Filed under: — 11:37 pm

    Designtehnica has put together their list of the best examples of web 2.0 sites from each category. There are so many sites out there and this list will give you the best of the best in every category that best utilizes web 2.0 technology.

    Photo - Flickr

    Video- Vimeo

    Social Bookmarking-


    Newsreaders/RSS feeds- Bloglines

    Start Page- Netvibes

    Collaboration/Wordprocessing- Writeboard

    Maps/Directions- GoogleMaps

    Local Directories- Google Local

    Chat/IM- Meebo

    You can check out describtions for all these sites at Designtechnica

    Read the Disclaimer before acting on any information found here.
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