Is Justin Bieber Set to Become Silicon Valley’s Newest Titan?; Microsoft Has “Taxing” Scuffle With Chinese; Not Thankful for Jobless Claims Number

Smile and say Bieber!

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Looks like Twitter is going shopping this holiday season. It also looks like Twitter CFO Anthony Noto could use a comprehensive tutorial on how his company’s platform works. The social media exec publicly tweeted about a potential acquisition, which judging by the context, was actually meant as a private message. Of course, the internet universe went into overdrive speculating which company was the subject of the accidental tweet. The mystery was solved when CNBC reported that the company in question is none other than Shots, a selfie app backed by Justin Bieber. How convenient for him. And while it may be difficult for some (many) to stomach that Justin Bieber stands to make a fortune from an industry dominated by geniuses, know that the app already has 3 million users, 2/3 of whom are women under the age of 24.

Taxed out…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Microsoft is in really big trouble. Like $150 million worth of trouble. According to a report by the Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency, Microsoft, while not specifically named, but rather referred to as “Corp. M”  has to pay $150 million in back taxes and interest. A source, who is not officially allowed to speak about it publicly, (but spoke about it anyways, presumably in private, to someone who then made it public) confirmed that Corp. M is indeed Microsoft. Along with car manufacturers, GlaxoSmithKline, other tech companies – the list goes on, that have had actions taken against them, Microsoft is being accused of tax evasion because its China subsidiary reported losses while other players in the field did not. Hmm. China says Microsoft was moving the profits offshore. Of course, Microsoft disputed all this and says the settlement actually has to do with a “bilateral advanced pricing agreement” and not back taxes. By the way, back in May China banned Windows 8 from being installed on public computers. Just saying.

Thanksgiving downer…

Image courtesy of hywards/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of hywards/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Not that I’m trying to put a downer on your holiday weekend, but jobless claims are up. If you think that sucks, be thankful that you’re not among the jobless. And if you are, my apologies. The number of claims increased by 21,000 to 313,000 claims, according to the always-good-for-a-downer Labor Department. That’s the highest number in three months. Analysts actually predicted a drop to about 288,000 claims. The number of people, however, receiving jobless claims dropped by 17,000 to 2.32 million people. So it’s not all bad. Besides, there really is no need to freak out, just yet, anyways, since the holiday season has just begun and for some reason that means those gosh-darn numbers aren’t as ominous as they would be at other times during the year.

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Bieber Fever Doesn’t Smell Like Profit; Home Depot Keeps Improving on Wall Street; and Dick’s Sporting Goods Scores Without Golf

What’s that smell?

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Looks like Justin Bieber isn’t as marketable as previously thought. Oddly enough neither is Taylor Swift. And Nicki Minaj and…Celebrity fragrances put a major crimp in sales at Elizabeth Arden causing its shares to drop 24% on news of its stinky earnings. In fact, the company hasn’t seen earnings this bad since August of 2010. Hmmm. How old was the Beebs then? The drop in sales for celebrity fragrances was even bigger than expected. While the company pulled in $191.7 million in sales, expectations were over $241 million. That’s a big stininking gap, alright. Shares of Elizabeth Arden dropped $1.04 per share which was almost three times the loss that was predicted. That’s on top of the fact that shares already dropped 58% this year. Yikes. But the comapny has plans this year to focus on stabilizing its business – which I can only assume means less Justin Bieber.

Earnings beat…

Image courtesy of Kookkai_nak/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Kookkai_nak/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

On the heels of yesterday’s good news about the improving  housing sector, Home Depot came out with earnings today that easily beat analysts’ expectations. The nations largest home improvement company pulled in $23.8 billion in second quarter revenue, an almost 6% increase from this time last year. Wall Street expected a mere $23.5 billion. The company also pulled in net income of $2.1 billion, gaining $1.52 a share, and coming  in $.08 above expectations. By George,  that’s more than a 22% increase over the same time last year. While some feel that Home Depot’s earning’s success is tied to improvements in the housing market, others feel Home Depot would have gone up no matter what. So there.

Fly away birdie…

Image courtesy of Gualberto107/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Gualberto107/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dick’s Sporting Goods announced its earnings with some mixed results. The company pulled in $1.7 billion in second quarter revenue, which happens to be a 10% increase over the same time last year. The company also scored a $69.5 million profit. Sounds pretty good, right? Unfortunately that figure was more than 17% less than the same time last year. However, the sporting goods chain did gain $.67 per share, instead of the predicted $.65 per share. So where is all this money coming from anyways? Well it’s not coming from golf. And hunting. But definitely not golf.  It is coming from women’s and youth apparel.  The company consolidated its golf division which also includes its Golf Galaxy chain, and yeah, some people were given their walking papers with this “restructuring.” But at least it will free them up a little to play some profit-sucking golf while pondering their next career move.

GM Gets Whipped By Congress Yet Again, Washington Redskins Lose to US and Instagram’s Bigger Picture and

How would you like your GM grilled today?

Image courtesy of winnond/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of winnond/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

GM CEO Mary Barra visited Washington today for her second congressional grilling. Even after GM conducted its own internal investigation dubbed “The Valukas Report,” Congress still isn’t buying what it’s selling  – and recalling. Congress is still perplexed as to how GM took so very long – 11 years – to act on safety issues that claimed at least thirteen deaths. And while GM paid the maximum $35 million fine and set up a victims compensation fund, Congress was still left wondering how its possible that only fifteen people were fired over this debacle. Barra tried assured the government that forty new people were hired as safety inspectors. But then the CEO was forced to admit those “new hires” were promoted from within. In separate GM drama, the auto maker was served with a $10 billion lawsuit. “Victims” of this lawsuit are upset that the ignition switch recall affected the resale value of their cars and trucks.

Don’t say my name…

Image courtesy of vectorolie/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of vectorolie/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Redskins didn’t score today and the season didn’t even start. In a 2-1 vote in the US Patent Office, it was decided that the the Washington Redskons had no right to trademark their name. They can still keep the name, which some experts say is offensive and disparaging to Native Americans. Native Americans, however, seem to be split on that issue. The team intends to appeal the ruling. In the meantime, this ruling poses some unfortunate fiscal consequences – namely that third parties can use the name and logo to make money without paying a cent to the team. However, some experts argue that won’t be that big of a problem. Certainly the Redskins must feel otherwise.

Smile and say profit…

Image courtesy of tungphoto/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of tungphoto/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Looks like Instagram isn’t just for furthering Justin Bieber’s career. Small businesses are increasingly relying on the social media app to help them grow their business, without even resorting to the ludicrous antics favored by ego-maniacal celebrities and reality stars. Followed by 200 million users worldwide, Instagram helps companies of all sizes by driving sales and picking up customers and clients. The app also helps foster brand development. Now who doesn’t love all that? Businesses have even been paying people to post pics of themselves with the companies’ products on their Instagram accounts. It’s free advertising for small businesses and Kim Kardashian! Just don’t follow Kanye West’s example and take four days to edit a picture. There’s nothing Insta about that.