Stupidity is contagious. It gets us all from time to time. Even respectable companies can catch it. As I do every week, let's take a look at five dumb financial events this week that may make your head spin.
1. Anarchy in the U.K.
Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX ) can't catch a break across the pond.
Rival LOVEFiLM inked an exclusive movie streaming deal with 20th Century Fox. The deal doesn't include the studio's most recent movies, because satellite giant BSkyB has exclusive "first window" rights.
Do you see the problem? This isn't the first time that Netflix has missed out on landing juicy programming that winds up going to an entrenched competitor. Everyone views Netflix as the undisputed top dog stateside, but the California company may have bitten off more than it can chew in the U.K. -- a market that may be unprofitable for Netflix for a long time.
2. Welcome to DumbVille, Zynga
There was plenty riding ahead of Tuesday's Zynga Unleashed unveiling where the social gaming giant was supposed to wow the market with new games and fresh platforms.
Well, Zynga's (Nasdaq: ZNGA ) stock shed nearly 5% of its value on the day, so you know how investors felt about the presentation.
In a nutshell, it was more of the same. There will be more "Ville" games in the form of ChefVille and The Ville. There will be more of the matching colored objects niche in the form of Matching With Friends and the expansion of the recently released Ruby Blast.
Yes, Zynga did announce some intriguing initiatives to show that there is life beyond the social networking website giant that made Zynga a multibillion-dollar company. Unfortunately, we live in a time where folks are tiring of social games quickly. Zynga will need to keep cranking out magnetic games at an accelerating pace to keep players interested.
It doesn't seem like a very attractive model.
3. Barbed be Q
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) may be turning heads with its aggressively priced Nexus 7 tablet, but what can one make of Nexus Q.
The spherical device is calling itself the first social sharing media device, but we saw how well that worked out for the Zune.
Yes, Nexus Q is far cooler. It looks like a conversation piece. It feasts off the cloud -- and Google Play in particular -- to let folks with Android tablets and smarpthones mash up play music and video play lists.
Do we really need that?
This is the equivalent of those nickel jukeboxes at Johnny Rockets, but at least that limited play list is crafted so that any table's song will fit well with the next table's request. When a group of friends try to queue up Katy Perry after Metallica it's going to be a mess.
Who is going to buy this anyway? The $299 price point is steep, and owning one is going to be a signal to the world that "hey -- look at me -- I'm a pretentious hipster and I have friends who love all of the same indie artists that you've never heard about."
4. Facebook pokes your email out
Facebook (Nasdaq: FB ) has a lot of nerve.
The social networking giant got called out this week for its decision to show everyone's @facebook email account as the default contact on user profile pages.
You didn't know that you had an @facebook.com email? Well, remember when the leading social networking website decided to let folks register vanity URLs? Well, those usernames are also email accounts that feed right into the site's messaging system.
There's nothing wrong with that, but who told Facebook that it would be a good idea to change everyone's preferred email contact info to the @facebook email that isn't easily accessible outside of Facebook?
5. RIM takes a hit
Everyone figured that Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM ) would post a bad quarterly report yesterday, but it was even worse.
The beleaguered BlackBerry maker saw its revenue slide 42%. It posted a larger than expected deficit of $0.37 a share, and that's after backing out a nine-figure pre-tax charge for goodwill impairment.
The icky cherry on top is that its highly anticipated BlackBerry 10 operating system update won't be out until next year.
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