The 5 dumbest things on Wall Street

Google stumbles into netbook market with Chromebook. Big Oil battles the Senate. Comcast turns friends into enemies.

By TheStreet Staff May 13, 2011 10:48AM

Here is this week's roundup of the dumbest actions on Wall Street.


5. Google hits the books


Google (GOOG) should have Googled "netbook" before it took the big plunge into Chromebook.


Seemingly unaware of the short, tragic history of the cheap, underpowered mini-notebook category, Google now holds up its breakthrough invention in personal computing: the Chromebook -- a cheap, underpowered mini-notebook with a three-year contract.


Google says it will sell the Asus and Samsung Chromebooks for at least $379, with a WiFi cloud-connection fee of $28 a month for business users and $20 for students. Business users and students will also have to sign three-year contracts. Read more

4. Big Oil's tax time theater


The battle between Big Oil's big five and the Senate on Thursday featured the typical embarrassing displays of grandstanding and corporate doublespeak that's the lifeblood of political theater.


The Senate Finance Committee took ConocoPhillips (CVX) CEO James Mulva to task after his company called the proposal to eliminate the Big Oil tax breaks "un-American" in a press release. Senators practically dared the ConocoPhillips CEO to say that all 28 co-sponsors of the bill were 'un-American." Read more


3. Skechers' skinny shoes for girls


For the shoe industry, marketing "magic shoes" is a part of its sole. Sorry, soul. This pair makes you run faster. These help you jump higher. And so on.


But the industry stumbled upon the ultimate gimmick with the introduction of so-called toning shoes, and kudos goes out to Skechers (SKX) for pushing the concept to the apex of ridiculousness. The company has decided to bring the widely discredited toning shoes to little girls.  Read more


2. Boston Scientific waits for its turnaround


For a company in the business of keeping hearts beating, Boston Scientific (BSX) spends a lot of time stopping investor hearts with unexpected shocks.


The biggest shock came this week, when the "turnaround specialist" hired in 2009 to turn the fortunes of the flailing medical technology company, Boston Scientific CEO Ray Elliott, announced that he's not sticking around for the turnaround he's commandeering. Read more


1. Comcast turns enemies into friends


The commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission said this week that she's leaving her post to become a lobbyist for Comcast (CMCSA) -- less than four months after voting to approve its merger with NBC Universal.

Meredith Attwell Baker, a Republican from Texas, plans to leave when her term ends next month. She'll head straight to what is surely the plushest of leather seats in cable, behind the desk that belongs to NBC Universal's "senior vice president for governmental affairs." Read more


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