May 282011

Is Microsoft CEO a Charlie Brown, tumbling embarrassingly into a heap as Lucy repeatedly snatches the football away at the last minute. Hedge-fund manager David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital, famous for spotting trouble early at Lehman Brothers Holdings, thanks so. Einhorn, whose fund owns 9 million Microsoft shares, told the [continue reading . . . ]

May 272011
Alaska: Gas still stranded and low on oil

Alaska’s stranded North Slope natural gas looks to remain stranded. The more important trend for the short term, both for Alaska and for the Puget Sound area, especially Tacoma, is that oil production continues to decline. No one who’s been paying attention to natural-gas developments was surprised that BP and [continue reading . . . ]

May 212011
Lesser Depression?

What to call the period that arguably began in 2006 when the rich world’s housing market peaked? The Financial Times (FT) in a Lex column May 13 uses a term I have not seen before: “Lesser Depression.” The U.S. economy typically rebounds strongly following a recession. The 1974-75 and 1981-82 [continue reading . . . ]

May 162011

Facebook worth $76 billion, more than Boeing ($57.9 billion) or Ford ($57.8 billion)? LinkedIn, a Facebook for professionals, worth $3.3 billion, 200 times 2010 profit? Microsoft pays 400 times operating profit for Skype, where only a tiny minority of registered users pay anything. What’s wrong with this picture? Does this [continue reading . . . ]

May 122011

So you think the dollar is washed up as a reserve currency, destined to live up to the jibe “American peso.” Better whip out your library card and retrieve the column of Mansoor Mohi-uddin, managing director of foreign-exchange strategy at  UBS, on Page 22 of the Financial Times May 11, [continue reading . . . ]

May 112011

I said it on KUOW’s Weekday program today, and I’ll say it here: I’m from Missouri concerning Microsoft’s announced $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype, the service that allows users to make voice or video calls using the World Wide Web free or at very low cost. I understand what the [continue reading . . . ]

May 072011

Delivered with my New York Times on May 6, what is labeled the “Seattle Inaugural Issue” of China Daily, self-described as “the national English-language newspaper of the People’s Republic of China.” The paper runs 20 pages and is relatively unremarkable, with a couple of exceptions. First, there are almost no [continue reading . . . ]

May 052011
New normal

Mohamed El-Erian and Bill Gross of Pacific Investment Management Company (Pimco), the world’s largest fixed-income manager, to the best of my knowledge originated the phrase “new normal” to indicate that things fundamentally changed following the Panic of September 2008 and its aftermath. After studying a number of their writings, freely [continue reading . . . ]