News Of The Day 7/18/2011

Borders is liquidating. The NewsCorp scandal gets weirder. Amazon goes textbook lender. It's a bizarre day today.

Now the S&P is threatening to downgrade a bunch of financial companies in the US. Why they aren't threatening the Eurozone is a good question – and my guess is they think they don't need to.

Law Schools are jacking up tuition while people flock to them in a way that is making folks question just how valid this is. I also question how good it is to put students into debt who are then more likely to sue the crap out of you. A good read for econo-demographics.

. . . and Superman sort of has two storylines at DC comics one thats more origin and one that's current and in current continuity he's single again. Also it sounds like they're back to having the Kents dead. This really doesn't give me hope for Superman as a relatable character anymore, so that's one strike against the semi-reboot for me.

. . . and the News Corp Hacking Mess gets worse as a major whistleblower is found dead though the guy apparently had problems (including drinking and drug issues). If his death is indeed one of those things, it matters little, since this is going to add napalm to the fire. The political, technical, culture, and media fallout of this is likely to be immense.

Of course LulzSec got on on this and hacked the Sun to display a fake Murdoch death notice. Considering A) the unpopularity of News Corp, B) the fact they were involved in hacking, and C) this is high profile? Expect more hacking attempts and then some.

Borders is liquidating. It's pretty much over with at this point.

Remember the Kindle is great for 'drunk reading.' as a quote from a larger article notes. Having ordered books in the bathtub, I'm inclined to agree. I wonder if this "feature" is something people may try to exploit more in the future.

Amazon does Kindle textbook rentals, which is another potential money-printing opportunity for them, and a great move to get an edge on competitors. Remember those Amazon tablets and inevitable ecosystem? It just become a student dream. Side note – send them a damn resume already, and wait to see who tries a countermove.

Social Media:
An analyst downgrades LinkedIn values slightly. This is not entirely unreasonable – I love LinkedIn, it's a great company, but I think they got a little overvalued in this market – and a downgrade of 15% seems more than reasonable. Maybe we've got enough people looking out to keep from having a very big bubble, and that makes me slightly less concerned.

MoboTap, makers of the Dolphin web browser, score $10 million in funding. They make a good product – and are working on more – so I'd consider them a potential employer – and one that may lock up markets pretty well.

Is Netflix trying to kill the DVD someone asks Eric Garland of Big Champagne (while I pretty much answer "yes, duh"). Worth reading – and Garland's best point (of many) is that the split produced by the price raising puts pressure on content holders to stop treating streaming as second rate.

Side note, Garland's company tracks media and sounds pretty cool, so you might want to send them a resume at their website.

Video Games:
Lolapps and 6waves merge and you can be pretty sure they have their sights set on companies like Zynga. This also produces a powerful cross-Ocean alliance that can reacha lot of people. They're also profitable companies and apparently ambitious. Watch out Zynga, and investigate this new combined entity for opportunities.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: So who will be first – if anyone – to challenge Amazon in the e-textbook lending space?

Steven Savage