Thursday, June 28, 2007

Carl Icahn's theory on Management

Billionaire Carl Icahn was interviewed after the Deal and Deal Makers Conference at the NYSE and here's what he says -

“There are few companies I can’t go in to today and save 30%. A lot of companies are very wasteful.” (Call it the Seinfeld theory of management, after the sit-com famous for being about nothing.)

He is not a big fan of the U.S CEOs, it is quite obvious. However he still had a few good things to say about Motorola where he was denied the right to get on the board after many futile attempts earlier this year. Against many voices that we've heard off late on the PE market, he still predicts that private equity and LBO has peaked.

Watch his interview here -


Mossberg on the iPhone

Here's the Mossberg Solution on the iPhone -a thorough and comprehensive testing andd review, Walter Mossberg at his best as always...

WSJ Premium content

or catch it on his blog at:
The Mossberg Column archive

I love the way he's simulated the 7 hour phone call on the iPhone, check it out!


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Would you fall for this Jam Auction scam?

Hustlers steal money off gullible people by selling them worthless goods at first. Watch this video and reflect on whether you would be happy or not...:)

And, I think these people can't even go to jail because their customers are giving their money to them out of will. So, there's nothing illegal involved in this scam?


Borsa Italiana to merge with LSE

Heard something interesting today. We've all been long aware of the fact that Nasdaq has pursued the buy the London Stock Exchange (LSE) at least twice in the recent years. While the bids were being turned down by LSE, now they come up with talks with Borsa Italiana for a smashing merger. This combination would have listed on it, companies valued more than $5.1 trillion!

This is a clear indication of globalisation and consolidation of international financial markets. Exchanges worldwide have never been under such pressure before as they are now , from their shareholders, to merge in order to cut costs and offer a broader range of products at the same time.

We have to wait and see how Nasdaq responds to this. But I think they should still pursue the larger LSE even if this deal with Borsa Italiana works out. The European tinge could add more flavor to Nasdaq.


Microsoft succumbs to Google on antitrust allegation

In response to complaints from Google, Inc., Microsoft agreed to change its Windows Vista software in advance of a court hearing that will review its compliance with a 2002 antitrust settlement. Haha! Looks like they are getting to be proactive these days on the antitrust front. So, if they knew they were wrong, I'm curious if they are committing these antitrust crimes hoping that competitors don't file them? Well, maybe you have to do such things when you get big.

Google alleges Microsoft that Vista makes it hard for consumers to use rival desktop-search applications provided by Google and others. Microsoft, which denied the claims, however said the company was willing to alter Vista if required. It looks like they've seen and experienced enough of this anttrust stuff - primarily from the Windows Media Player antitrust lawsuit in the EU and now it is desktop search! You might think - is this illegal? No, it is not illegal, but it is unfair competition and does not stand a chance under the antitrust regulations both in the EU and in the US.

As usual, these changes to Vista software are expected to go out with their Service Pack-1 release awaited later this year, which would also include fixes to other security problems and bugs......amidst, of course, other new bugs.....

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Prometeus - the Media Revolution

Fascinating video on the media revolution. It is a futuristic vision of the media industry all the way upto 2050, with some interseting predictions like Google buying Microsoft and Amazon buying out Yahoo! by 2020-2030, which is little over a decade from now. It also talks about Second Life and points out that virtual life is the way of the future.

Hope you like the video

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Tax Boost for PE firms going public

Federal lawmakers on the Senate Finance committee launched a bipartisan bill against the blooming Private Equity market on the eve of the much awaited IPO of Blackstone Group. Historically, when hedge funds and buyout firms which are structured as private partnerships, become publicly traded, they enjoy the benefits of behaving like a corporation but pay taxes at the lower rates of partnerships. This bill introduced in the Senate, changes this agreement by raising the tax rates for private equity firms going public.

"It's unfair to allow a publicly traded company to act like a corporation but not pay corporate tax, contrary to the intent of the tax code."

People involved in the Blackstone IPO said that this bill could hit Blackstone's $40 billion valuation by as much as 20% !! Boy, that is huge and this also means that they may not be able to proceed with the IPO as planned and may have to defer the offering. This bill is definitely a blow to these hot buyout firms like Blackstone and KKR.

Blackstone has been amongst the most prominent PE firm with their audacious deals that range from their $39 billion takeover of the nation's largest ownwr of office buildings namely Equity Office Properties to Freescale Semiconductor. As one would expect, they are already indulging in some extensive lobbying to get a headstart against their rival firms intending to go public.

I think this is a good move and the bill should get passed both in the House and the Senate. It is a totally unfair rainbow that the PE firms are currently enjoying when they go public, unfair against the corporations and other startups going public.....All should be treated on par and taxed at the corporate rates. But will Blackstone going public escape this? Or has the bill been introduced at the right moment to stop it from going public?


Thursday, June 14, 2007

NDTV catches Rajnikanth for a quick interview

After watching the preview of Shivaji with TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu, Rajni was stopped to be interviewed for just a couple of minutes on NDTV. In a nutshell, Rajni says, "If I'm just a king in movies, Amitabh is an emperor, incorrect to compare the two.."

Watch the interview here


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

LeBron on Etch A Sketch

With the Spurs leading the Cavs 3-0 in the NBA finals, LeBron still manages to be in the spotlight. This time on Etch A Sketch. If you're not aware of this etching business, take a look at what Wikipedia has to say.
Here is a video of some guy who's gonna be on the Guiness books for doing this. This is simply amazing. Watch him etch the Cavs superstar LeBron James. I wish I had the talent to do something like that in a hundred years, however, at least I'm good at finding videos on YouTube!


Friday, June 08, 2007

A few cool quotes on friendship and love

I found these nice - hope you like 'em.

"Never explain--your friends do not need it, and your enemies will not believe you anyway." - Elbert Hubbard

"With true friends...even water drunk together is sweet enough." - Chinese proverb

"There is no remedy for love but to love more." - Henry David Thoreau

"Love makes the time pass. Time makes love pass." - Euripides

"It takes your enemy and your friend, working together, to hurt you to the heart: the one to slander you and the other to get the news to you." - Mark Twain

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them." - Mother Teresa

"A friend is one who believes in you when you have ceased to believe in yourself." - Anonymous

"He was a true friend, he stabbed me in the front." - Anonymous

"Better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all." - Alfred Lord Tennyson

"He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals." - Benjamin Franklin


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Don't Walk Alone in Paris

Says who? The answer is, none other than Sony!

Sony has launched a pretty creative yet unintuitive (at least the online version at seems rather unintuitive to me, but let me accept I'm not a big marketing guy) marketing campaign on the streets of Paris. They've started taking over the walls of the French city, so that you'll never have to walk alone again.

More videos are uploaded for some vague purpose on their campaign website -

In fact, until I read what is happening on Buzz Is Media, I had no clue that even Sony was involved with this - that's how clever (or unclever?) this whole campaign is.

I'm trying to think what are they trying to do? Are they marketing their wall projector, or are they going to project on the streets of Paris, their ads for their own diversified products?
If it is the latter, I might start getting inclined to think that it is a pretty cool idea, or at least an untraditional attempt. Let's see where they head from here. But nevertheless, you never have to walk alone in Paris again, yeah, you're going to be crowded around with stick figures and ghosts...beware!


Robert F. Kennedy's speech on MLK's assasination

I hit upon this video of Sen. Bobby addressing his gathering (predominantly black) while campaigning to become the Democratic candidate for the then Presidential elections of United States. He had to throw away his campaign speech and go almost extempore on this sudden news.
Great speech! Great man!

The speech ends at 3:45 minutes

And while I heard this speech, I don't know why, I was reminded of one of the all time best speeches I've ever heard, by President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) in ID4. Here you go!


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Lala launches on-demand free streaming music service

LaLa is now offering users the ability to listen to an unlimited amount of on-demand streaming music, for free, marking the first time this has been available legally. Their tag line is “Play albums on demand, buy the ones you love.”

This Lala is clearly aimed at iTunes, users can listen to complete songs as often as they like, while maintaining their playlists online as well. I just tried them out, the player is embedded and pretty neat. Their website also now looks pretty intuitive with Web 2.0 capabilities. Songs can be directly downloaded directly to the iPod too, at a price of $0.99 per song.

So, this helps us in two ways -
(1) I don't need to maintain songs on my computer, which I currently do
(2) Unlike Napster which was doomed to be illegal, Lala is legal and hence prevents the need for P2P sharing

You must try this out, I have a feeling I'm going to be addicted to this.

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Boycott Novell - already?

While the Novell-Microsoft deal can be among the worst things that has ever happened or could potentially happen to open source software development, there are already many many calls to start boycotting Novell's products as well. Novell has already posted a loss for the most recent quarter...

For those who missed, here is a reiteration of the main points of focus of the agreement, that took place in Nov 2006 -
  • Virtualization. Virtualization is one of the most important trends in the industry. Customers tell Microsoft that virtualization is one way they can consolidate and more easily manage rapidly growing server workloads and their large set of server applications. Microsoft and Novell will jointly develop a compelling virtualization offering for Linux and Windows.

  • Web services for managing physical and virtual servers. Web services and service-oriented architectures continue to be one of the defining ways software companies can deliver greater value to customers. Microsoft and Novell will undertake work to make it easier for customers to manage mixed Windows and SUSE Linux Enterprise environments and to make it easier for customers to federate Microsoft Active Directory® with Novell eDirectory.

  • Document format compatibility. Microsoft and Novell have been focusing on ways to improve interoperability between office productivity applications. The two companies will now work together on ways for OpenOffice and Microsoft Office system users to best share documents, and both will take steps to make translators available to improve interoperability between Open XML and OpenDocument formats.

Sounds neat? Or is it actually part of Microsoft's strategy to beat its only real threat in the OS market, Red Hat? Because, we all know Balmer would go anywhere to do anything to sell Windows, Windows and Windows....Open source developers must not fall a prey to believe that Microsoft has started to love Linux...but these are signs that they've begun to feel the heat in Linux.

Anyway, that's all old news. Visit to explore the reality behing the Microsoft-Novell deal and its subtle implications - it is a pretty interesting blog that I came across and wanted to share, which tears apart the Xandros deal among other things.


Shivaji trailers...

While the movie is to launch on the 15th of June worldwide, catch the trailers online.

or catch it on my friend's website (site dedicated to Tamil movies)- I've been closely following this guy's website for Shivaji HD images and other launch news and reviews - pretty comprehensive coverage on the movie.

Same Trailer from Behind Woods

Don't miss the last shot!


Monday, June 04, 2007

2006 U.S. Crime Statistics - mixed data

The Federal Bureau of Investigation released crime statistics data this week, for the previous year. This report was compiled with data from around 11,700 law enforcement agencies nationwide. Click here to view the entire report, but here are the highlights -

  • Overall, a slight 1.3% increase in violent crimes in 2006. But this is 2nd straight annual increase
  • Number of homicides in major metropolitan areas (those with more than 1M residents) increased by 6.7%
  • Smaller cities saw their murders decrease by a collective 11.9%
  • Violent crimes saw their numbers increase in every region except NorthEast, with the Western states seeing the largest jump, by 2.8%
  • Property crimes decreased by 2.9% from 2005
  • Burglaries, however, rose by a slight 3.3%, particularly in midsize cities
  • The spike in robberies marked the highest increase in any category of crime surveyed in the FBI report
Overall, I think the figures are not really threatening or should raise any alerts for the nation. The numbers are as bad as the previous year, but at least not worse in most categories. So the respective departments and offices are doing a fair job in maintaining these numbers.


iPhone fever to begin on June 29th!

Apple has confirmed to launch the much awaited iPhone on the 29th of June this year. It will retail for $499 or $599 depending on the configuration and will be offered exclusively AT&T's Cingular wireless service.

Apple's shares rose 7% last week and has nearly doubled over the last year to around $120 today.

The iPhone is the most awaited gadget expected to launch this year and it has been hyped up ever since Jobs announced its release in the Mac World conference earlier this year. I think this would have already been incorporated into its stock price rise and we may not observe any other hikes in this month or two during the iPhone launch - which would once again show us that the markets are effecient.

However, if the product does not do as well as expected, we might see AAPL's value drop as this is one of their biggest and revolutionizing products after the iPod. It would be interesting to keep track.