Since she joined in July 2012, CEO Marissa Mayer has acquired dozens of startups.
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Manufacturer Activision Blizzard gives up on the fad of music-focused games as sales tank
Unlike an aging rock star on an endless farewell tour, the iconic video game Guitar Hero has packed up its plastic Gibson guitar and called it quits just six years after the game's initial debut.
Maker Activision Blizzard (ATVI) announced today that it will no longer produce titles for the series. It will lay off 500 staff members as a result.
The quick departure of the title after a big moment in the spotlight a few years ago says a lot about the state of gaming right now -- and the state of ATVI stock as a whole.
Cisco and others are in denial about slowing growth and cooling margins, laying the blame elsewhere.
Flattening. Seasonality. Product transition.
And the question is: Can you name me three alibis for downbeat projections and missed numbers this reporting season?
We've heard these three terms from Motricity (MOTR), Akamai (AKAM) and Cisco (CSCO) in the past 24 hours, and they pretty much took our breaths -- and their market caps -- away. Billions got obliterated, and in each case they left us wondering what the heck is really going on.
Motricity, a $1.2 billion company a couple of months ago that is now worth $658 million, offers some really cool solutions for feature phones -- so-called stupid phones -- that help make more money for Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T) and dozens of other telco providers. Domestically, the money for Motricity is in feature phones, and the company said it saw a flattening out of Verizon and AT&T business this quarter as the market transitioned more quickly to smart phones.
Another industry panel says the cable company really shouldn't boast about an advanced fiber network.
The cable company has been bragging that its Internet was dramatically faster due to its "advanced fiber optic network." But Time Warner only takes fiber to a central point in its customers' neighborhoods, and uses copper wire in to the actual homes. That setup is known as "fiber to the node," Reuters reports.
Verizon Communications (VZ) has in its FiOS a true fiber network, called "fiber to the home," and complained about Time Warner's claims to the National Advertising Review Board. After investigating the issue, the review board is urging Time Warner to pull its ads.
The review board has little official sway, however, as part of the self-regulatory arm of the advertising industry. And so Time Warner is simply going to respectfully disagree with the decision, Reuters reports.
In the drilling business, state-of-the-art technology has become a top priority.
The taller, thinner Diet Pepsi is aimed at women.
The can debuts at Fashion Week, which starts Thursday in New York, and will be available nationwide starting next month.
"Our slim, attractive new can is the perfect complement to today's most stylish looks," said the chief marketing officer of PepsiCo. I don't know about you, but aluminum can falls even below small Chihuahua on my list of important fashion accessories -- and that's pretty low.
The short, fat Diet Pepsi can will still be around. But if you stand any chance at being fabulous, you will not buy it. And for the following week, Pepsi will refuse to acknowledge that it owns Frito-Lay.
As innovation evolves, so must businesses. Here's one showing promise.
Fool analyst Sean Sun understands that everything in the universe is forever in flux and that as the universe changes, so must the individual. And so must businesses, if they are to last. The printing industry is a great example.
Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor
While it's become fairly standard business practice to outsource a company's payroll management to ADP or website hosting to Rackspace, a lot of companies still haven't recognized the efficiency of outsourcing their printing needs. On the surface, it seems simply arcane: Why keep such a specialized operation in-house? That's anachronism No. 1: The universe has changed, but outdated printing practices have stubbornly remained.
Here are some ETFs that are well-positioned for a pickup in consumer spending this year.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Investors were greeted with promising news regarding consumer borrowing Tuesday. After two years of paring back in response to the global economic upheaval, increasing confidence appears to be spurring borrowing again.
According to BusinessWeek, consumer borrowing jumped 3% in December, highlighted by a 3.5% uptick in credit card usage, the first increase in 27 months.
For retail consumers, the economic healing process has been a slow, arduous process as unemployment and market turmoil has weighed heavily on sentiment and confidence.
Video game software stocks had a rough 2010, but a few blockbuster releases this year could lift publishers.
2010 was a year of extremes for the video game industry with software either breaking sales records or performing so badly that some analysts considered gaming retail dead.
Just look at Electronic Arts (ERTS) and Take-Two Interactive (TTWO), video publishers that both put out NBA-licensed basketball games last year. Take-Two's NBA 2K11 was one of ten best-selling games of the year. But EA's NBA Elite 2011 meanwhile was plagued by delays and bad reviews until the company killed the game altogether and took it off the shelves.
So what does the future hold in 2011 for video game retail? Well, it will likely be a mixed bag again -- with a few blockbusters and plenty of duds. If you're an investor looking for the best video game stocks or a fan looking for the hottest titles, keep an eye out for these three frontrunners that could easily sell 5 million copies apiece in 2011:
Investors will begin the day more concerned with the big picture than with the terrific news from Dow giants 3M and Disney -- but only until stocks slip to more attractive levels.
But the market looks soggy.
That's how it has been this whole run, hasn't it? The fundamentals of individual companies don't seem to matter in the morning. People yawn about amazing theme park attendance, even if no one expected it. People were downbeat about 3M's quarter and outlook, and then the company boosted its dividend and announced a big buyback, basically saying, "Look, we are much more rosy about the future than you are."
But that's all micro. People trade macro in the morning: Bernanke's time to be grilled negatively? China overheating? Oil not rallying? Mubarak not caving? Federal budget talks failing? That's what people trade off of. It's never good, and futures drag stocks lower.
Fluor is holding its own against intense competition from Asia even as it shifts to lower-margin mining work.
Concern over the next quarter gives us another buy opportunity.
What do you do if you've researched and bought a stock but the market is not agreeing with your assessment? Jim Mueller usually studies the next earnings report and buys more if his thesis is still intact. Such is the case with Power-One.
Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor
What do you call it when the market rewards your 143% year-over-year growth in annual revenue and very handily turning a loss last year into a profit this year, along with guidance of 80% revenue growth for the upcoming year, with a 21% shellacking of your stock price? I don't know about you, but I call it a chance to pick up some more shares.
The discount-deal site goes from darling to dud after a series of ads that some viewers thought were in bad taste.
The company has suffered days of negative feedback after running three Super Bowl spots that appeared to make light of issues like human rights oppression in Tibet. "The people of Tibet are in trouble," actor Timothy Hutton said with apparent concern. "But they still whip up an amazing fish curry!" You can watch the spot here.
The ads triggered so much criticism that Groupon's founder, Andrew Mason, went online not to apologize for them but to explain them. He said the Super Bowl commercials that are truly offensive are ones built around "the crass objectification of women." Groupon's ads didn't do that.
Mason said the ads were mostly self-mocking, a takeoff on the shameless self-promotion that advertising is usually based on. "We would never have run these ads if we thought they trivialized the causes," Mason wrote. "Even if we didn't take them as seriously as we do, what type of company would go out of their way to be so antagonistic?"
Chrysler's 2-minute spot appears to have won the night, but there is still some debate over which commercials fared worst.
By Seth Fiegerman, MainStreet
The Green Bay Packers may have won the Super Bowl, but the competition for the best commercial from the big game is still being hashed out in homes and offices across the country, perhaps most noticeably on the web.
By the end of Sunday night, the winning company appeared to be Chrysler. Its powerful two-minute commercial garnered the most buzz during the Super Bowl, according to the Brand Bowl, an annual contest powered by advertising consultants Mullen and Radian6 that ranks Super Bowl ads by the amount of positive or negative feedback they receive on Twitter.
Chrysler's commercial attempted to revive the brand and the reputation of Detroit in general, following the painful collapse of the auto industry that left many people in Michigan without jobs. The cinematic commercial featured a cameo from Eminem, the popular rapper raised in Detroit, and debuted a poignant new slogan, "Imported from Detroit," that will be the center of Chrysler's new ad campaign.
The Tucson shootings rekindled fears of tighter firearms laws and triggered a surge in sales. What does this mean for gun makers and sellers?
By Jamie Dlugosch, Stockpickr
The shootings last month in Tucson reminded us once again that we live in dangerous world. As horrific as such events may be, there is no changing the fact that guns are a part of our history and will be part of our future.
Sure enough, in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy gun sales soared. In Arizona alone, the FBI reported 263 background check requests on Jan. 10, compared with 164 on the corresponding Monday a year prior. In Tucson a firearms dealer reported that high-capacity magazine sales jumped 500%.
The reason for the jump has little to do with protection or a race to bear arms in a violent society. Instead, the concern of those buying has more to do with the possibility that an event like Tucson will trigger some sort of gun control or worse. It is assumed that liberals will use the event to call for a repeal of the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
Coffee, oatmeal and European business drive the chain's results higher than expected.
The burger chain reported a 5.3% increase in same-store sales in January from a year ago, more than the 4.5% analysts were expecting. Europe was the star of the month, with sales up 7% and contributing 40% of revenue.
In the U.S., sales of coffee and the new oatmeal menu item helped sales grow 3.1% -- not bad considering the horrendous weather in January that kept people from visiting stores. And the whole picture was decidedly brighter than a year ago, when McDonald's said its same-store sales rose only 2.6%, and that U.S. sales were down 0.7%.
January also saw sales rise 5.2% in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
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John Stumpf acknowledges that growth has been slow, but he says he's still optimistic.
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