Google: Coming soon to a mobile phone near you

Multimedia: IAC/Interactive to split; Pharmaceuticals: Mixed results for Lilly

Google: Coming soon to a mobile phone near you

Google announced this week that it was forming a consortium to develop a software operating system for mobile phones, said Leslie Cauley in USA Today. The consortium, which will include mobile phone carriers Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile, as well as handset makers Motorola and Samsung, will collaborate with Google to produce software that will “showcase and promote Google’s ever-growing panoply of services.” The new software promises consumers a way “to start doing more easily on their phones what they can already do on the Web,” said Jessica E. Vascellaro in The Wall Street Journal. Looking up directions and sharing photographs, for instance, should be easier with Google’s operating system. Google will make its software available to any mobile phone company that wants to create applications with it. “We are not building a GPhone,” said Andy Rubin, Google’s director of mobile platforms. “We are enabling 1,000 people to build a GPhone.” The new system could be available on phones by next spring.

Multimedia: IAC/Interactive to split

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IAC/Interactive, which owns the Home Shopping Network, LendingTree, and TicketMaster, will split into five separately traded companies, said Dan Gallagher in The reorganization should help draw investors “who in the past may have been put off by the firm’s many diverse businesses.” Home Shopping, LendingTree, TicketMaster, and vacation-planning consultant Interval International will become freestanding entities, while IAC will retain the company’s Web sites, including,, and Having to explain all those businesses has required too “many mouthfuls of sentences,” said IAC Chairman Barry Diller.

Pharmaceuticals: Mixed results for Lilly’s heart pill

Lilly’s new heart-attack drug is more effective than the current standard treatment, but it also raises the risk of fatal bleeding in older patients, said Alex Berenson in The New York Times. The increased risk of bleeding probably won’t stop prasugrel from being approved by regulators, and Lilly predicts the drug will bring in $1.6 billion a year. But experts say many physicians may shy away from prescribing it. “I see it more as a niche-type product,” said Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Tim Anderson.

Chrysler: Massive layoffs announced

Days after reaching a new labor agreement with its unionized workforce, Chrysler last week announced it would lay off 12,000 workers, said Dee-Ann Durbin in the Associated Press. The cuts are in addition to 13,000 layoffs announced last February. “Some workers felt betrayed by the announcement.” But most analysts said the cuts were overdue, given the falling sales of many Chrysler vehicles. “They now have the ability to adjust production to demand,” said Aaron Bragman of Global Insight.

Computer services: Infighting at Affiliated Computer/

Five directors of Affiliated Computer resigned to protest what they called the “bullying and thuggery” by Chairman Darwin Deason, said Victor Godinez in The Dallas Morning News. Deason and the board members are locked in a bitter dispute over Deason’s bid, since withdrawn, to take the computer-services company private with a $6.2 billion buyout offer. Directors accused Deason of “deliberately sabotaging” efforts to find a buyer willing to pay a higher price. Deason counters that “foot-dragging” by the board prevented shareholders from voting on his buyout bid.


James Cayne

Merrill Lynch’s Stanley O’Neal and Citigroup’s Charles Prince may have fallen victim to the subprimemortgage debacle, but Bear Stearns CEO James Cayne is still hanging tough, said Kate Kelly in The Wall Street Journal. Yet there are serious questions about Cayne’s job performance. This summer, while two of Bear’s subprime-laden hedge funds were collapsing and the firm’s own survival was in doubt, Cayne, 73, was in Tennessee playing in a bridge tournament. “In the critical month of July, he spent 10 of the 21 working days out of the office, either at the bridge event or golfing.” And in August, Cayne walked out of a tense conference call with investors who were raising tough questions about Bear Stearn’s financial health. Cayne won’t discuss his performance, and colleagues dismiss the notion that he’s not “fully engaged.” But his friends admit he worries about his legacy. “It’s one thing if you’re 55,” said golfing buddy John Angelo. “It’s another if you’re 73.”

The Bottom Line

China’s state oil company, PetroChina, tripled in value in its first day of trading on the Shanghai Stock Exchange this week. With a market value of more than $1 trillion, PetroChina is worth more than Exxon Mobil and General Electric combined.

The New York Times

In 2006, the “click-through rate” for ads on major Web sites such as Yahoo and AOL fell from 0.75 percent of visitors to 0.27 percent, according to online ad service Eyeblaster.


Religious and anti-pornography groups are pushing Congress to bar the Pentagon from selling Playboy and Penthouse on military bases. Congress banned the sale of “sexually explicit material” on bases in 1996, but the Defense Department determined that Playboy and Penthouse, among others, were not explicit enough to ban.

USA Today

Google’s stock price hit the $600 mark for the first time, on Oct. 8. By Oct. 31, the price had passed the $700 mark. The shares are up 50 percent since Jan. 1.

The U.S. is back on top as the world’s most competitive economy, according to a survey of 11,000 business leaders by the World Economic Forum. The U.S. was No. 6 in the survey last year. Strong innovation fed by top universities helped the U.S. overcome low marks for high budget and trade deficits.

The Wall Street Journal

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