I'm Not Making This Up

There were a few business stories that made me chuckle this week. Come along and let me know if you think they're funny too.

1. And your new CEO is ...
Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS  ) had a shakeup at the top this week, with its outgoing CEO replaced by William Lynch -- the head of the superstore's online retailing division.

Let me see if I have this straight. Barnes & Noble is fading in relevancy with every passing year. The emergence of digital books will make bound books -- and the superstores that sell them -- even less popular in the future. Barnes & Noble has stumbled with its Nook e-reader, and it may not even be a factor once Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPad battles Amazon.com's (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) Kindle for market superiority.

Barnes & Noble needs to scale back costs -- and consider aggressive store closings -- and there's now a banner that reads "Will Lynch for CEO" out there.

Classic.

2. Where in the world is Garmin San Diego?
GPS giant Garmin (Nasdaq: GRMN  ) is asking shareholders to approve the move of its corporate headquarters from the Cayman Islands to Switzerland.

We're talking about a roughly 5,000-mile move, for Garmin to have a more visible presence in Europe. Let's hope that all those affected have Garmin GPS devices to find their way to the new legal HQ.

3. The Kinko's Conspiracy
When legal teams pen blog entries for their company sites it's usually more ho-hum than John Grisham. However, Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) YouTube is letting Viacom (NYSE: VIA  ) have it without holding back on the flavor.

Viacom is suing YouTube for allowing users to upload clips from its cable networks. YouTube's chief counsel -- Zahavah Levine -- is throwing out some pretty meaty accusations. Here are the two most scintillating paragraphs of the allegations.

For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there. It hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site. It deliberately "roughed up" the videos to make them look stolen or leaked. It opened YouTube accounts using phony email addresses. It even sent employees to Kinko's to upload clips from computers that couldn't be traced to Viacom. And in an effort to promote its own shows, as a matter of company policy Viacom routinely left up clips from shows that had been uploaded to YouTube by ordinary users. Executives as high up as the president of Comedy Central and the head of MTV Networks felt "very strongly" that clips from shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report should remain on YouTube.

Viacom's efforts to disguise its promotional use of YouTube worked so well that even its own employees could not keep track of everything it was posting or leaving up on the site. As a result, on countless occasions Viacom demanded the removal of clips that it had uploaded to YouTube, only to return later to sheepishly ask for their reinstatement. In fact, some of the very clips that Viacom is suing us over were actually uploaded by Viacom itself.

So Viacom is being accused of doctoring clips, running off to upload them from the nearest Kinko's using bogus YouTube accounts, only to sue YouTube because they're there? Stay close, Grisham. I think you can work with this.

Which news story amused you this week? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Apple and Amazon.com are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services, free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz finds that laughing at business news occasionally makes it more enjoyable. Hdoes not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (4)

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 19, 2010, at 4:37 PM, foolindeed1 wrote:

    It feels like the author has no clue about the current state of eBooks market or needs to stop drinking Apple Kool-Aid. In fact, Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook are battling for the market while Apple's iPad might not even be in play for eBooks wtb it's LED screen and supposedly 10 hour battery life (in reality the battery will probably last half of that). IPad is a tablet which will be ruling it out with other tablets for a slice of a tablet market. It has nothing - and never will have anything - on any of the sInk screens and weeks of battery life of either of the real eBook readers.

  • Report this Comment On March 19, 2010, at 4:38 PM, foolindeed1 wrote:

    It feels like the author has no clue about the current state of eBooks market or needs to stop drinking Apple Kool-Aid. In fact, Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook are battling for the market while Apple's iPad might not even be in play for eBooks wtb it's LED screen and supposedly 10 hour battery life (in reality the battery will probably last half of that). IPad is a tablet which will be ruling it out with other tablets for a slice of a tablet market. It has nothing - and never will have anything - on any of the sInk screens and weeks of battery life of wither of the real eBook readers.

  • Report this Comment On March 19, 2010, at 5:06 PM, Doris411 wrote:

    I agree with foolindeed1 that the iPad is not going to be the major competition for the Nook. While I'm sure it has many good points, the iPad is not going to replace a paperback book in the briefcase of the average commuter who is looking to lighten the load.

    The eBook reader that can display all the content providers' files will win: who wants to buy separate devices for titles from different publishers? How long will publishers support multiple formats for the same titles? (Baen Books had four or five choices the last time I looked.)

    But whether Nook succeeds or not, I think it's a good move to have someone leading Barnes & Noble who isn't married to the idea of paper and ink.

  • Report this Comment On March 19, 2010, at 5:31 PM, rd80 wrote:

    I suspect Garmin's move from the Cayman Islands to Switzerland has nothing to do with establishing a "a more visible presence in Europe."

    Most likely, it's an office and a few people to take advantage of lower tax rates.

    Transocean did the same thing about a year ago.

  • Report this Comment On March 20, 2010, at 9:39 AM, shanghaid wrote:

    Yes indeed, Barnes and Noble is still under siege. Prices of in store books are so high, the rare time I visit, I merely note titles of interest and place my $100 order for $20 less with Amazon. Not even in including the benefit of free shipping and no sales tax. One just has to study the financial statements of Amazon and B&N to see the different quality of businesses.

    As for e-readers, I don't see the iPad dealing a death blow to the Kindle. But I do believe it will continue to make electonic books main stream. Not to mention online newspapers and other content.

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2010, at 12:05 PM, acowanSF wrote:

    Regarding #1:

    Wait- what? The company needs to revisit its strategy in a radical way and it brings in a new CEO with online experience. How is that a funny or bad idea? Also, the stock is on the uptick on the news.

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