A Fool Looks Back

(Nasdaq: AAPL  ) is teaming up with Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) to allow Apple TV owners to stream YouTube videos on their television sets. I'm not impressed. Anyone with a Web-connected television can do that. It's usually cheaper than you think. I've seen YouTube videos on my TV through the free Internet browser on Nintendo Wii consoles. They're not only cheaper than Apple TV, but also play some pretty lively games. Heck, I could even look up this article through my Wii, if I really wanted to.

And my DVR is tethered to my home's WiFi connection, allowing me to check everything from my fantasy football league's scores to digital rentals. I know that Tim Beyers is pumped about the possibilities of Apple TV, but I still don't see it as the killer app that Apple envisioned. Macs, iPods, and the upcoming iPhones are slam dunks. Apple TV will have to do more than give me the LonelyGirl15 and Ask a Ninja clips that I can already catch on my PC, cell phone, and Wii-enabled television set.

I need an Apple TV like I need a Zune. OK, so I'm just saying that now. If my buddy Tim is right, Apple TV may creep its way to the top of my holiday wish list in a few months.

You know you're having a bad week when ...
Some companies just can't seem to shake the bad luck. This past week proved to be a bad one for a few of them. Let's see who got wronged.

  • Jazz. No, not the musical genre. The day after the Utah Jazz were eliminated from the NBA Finals, Jazz Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: JAZZ  ) cut the price of its upcoming IPO to $20-$21 a share. It was originally looking to get $24-$26 for each freshly minted share. A day later, it cut its IPO price again, ultimately going public at just $18 a share on Friday.
  • Casual-dining chain Applebee's (Nasdaq: APPB  ) also got whacked. It let the activists win, relinquishing a pair of board seats to Breeden Capital Management. Rubbing margarita salt in its own wounds, Applebee's even offered to bankroll the $500,000 bar tab of the proxy fight. I've heard that the customer is always right, but this is getting ridiculous.
  • Homebuilders also felt a bit more rumbling in their foundations. This time, it was Pulte Homes (NYSE: PHM  ) scaling back, announcing that it would cut 16% of its workforce. With a glut of new and pre-owned homes on the market, it just doesn't make much sense to keep building at this point. But Pulte wasn't the only one raining pink slips, as Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) and Circuit City (Nasdaq: CC  ) also trimmed their payrolls.
  • Dot-com merger cheerleaders had to drop their pom-poms when Google revealed that the Federal Trade Commission was looking into its pending acquisition of digital marketing specialist DoubleClick. Just imagine if Google had gone for TripleClick or QuadrupleClick instead!

I'm just hoping that the storm clouds clear -- or, at least, that these unlucky companies have remembered their umbrellas.

Until next week, I remain,
Rick Munarriz

Dell is a pick in both the Inside Value and Stock Advisor newsletter services. You can check out either market-beating newsletter with a 30-day free trial today.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look back. He is also part of theRule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

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