The Wall Street hustle

Get ready for “that exciting phase of any financial crisis,” says Steven Pearlstein in The Washington Post, “when the lawsuits come fast and furious, criminal charges are lodged, and Wall Street firms agree to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for having snookered their customers once again.” Major banks in recent weeks have agreed to pay $500 million in penalties and buy back $50 billion in shifty auction-rate securities. What’s depressing about this is that a few years ago “these same companies reached similar settlements for defrauding many of the same investors.” Wall Street’s broken, deeply “corrupt culture” is responsible for today’s crisis, and if it isn’t mended, tomorrow’s financial scandals.

Google’s Chrome strategy

For years, Google has been pestering Microsoft “like a fly flitting around the kitchen,” says the Los Angeles Times in an editorial. But with its new Web browser, Chrome, Google is launching a direct attack “on the heart of Microsoft’s business,” Windows. Browsers have always posed a challenge to Microsoft, but Chrome is designed to work more efficiently with Web-based applications, like the free ones from Google. “If you think of Chrome not as a browser but as a replacement desktop, you’ll see how big a deal this could be.” And even if Chrome fails, the writing is on the wall. The Web is “where computing is headed, with or without Microsoft’s blessing,” and operating systems “just won’t matter.”