Cheaper DVD rentals, delicious apples, and chips ahoy dominated the week of financial news. Then the cops came.

Take the pal put of PayPal, and you just pay
Virtual auctioneers looking to close their deals on eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) in a hurry were in for a cruel wait after a software upgrade gone bad at its PayPal transaction site sparked intermittent outages at the popular service. With more than 50 million PayPal accounts -- clearing the way for $4.4 billion in online transactions this past quarter -- it bears noting that PayPal's downtime over the holiday weekend actually transcends the popularity of eBay's namesake site. From website donations to folks collecting fantasy football dues, PayPal is a worthy standalone financial institution. While the hiccups lasted all of six days before PayPal cleared out the bugs on Thursday it probably felt like an eternity to those who had grown accustomed to the speedy functionality of the Internet.

A is for Apple; J is for jacked-up earnings
Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) orchard has been producing a good harvest over the past few quarters. One has to wonder whether it can no longer be described as a computer company as it sold more iPod portable music players than iMacs this past quarter. In fact, the company also made more money in its laptop sales than in its signature stylish desktop systems. While its structural free cash flow margins still pale in comparison with that of lean and green Dell, it's starting to become a matter of comparing Apple to oranges at this point, isn't it? Apple is now a multimedia entertainment company as the leader in digital music that just happens to have a worthy niche making premium computers as well.

Chip replacement surgery
It's been a different story for microprocessor king Intel (NASDAQ:INTC). Stagnant inventories, disappointing gross margins and earnings that were padded by a lower effective tax rate produced a very questionable quarter for the chip maker. The company is still having a hard time clearing out its stock as demand isn't meeting its end of supply's bargain. Will Intel have to write down even more of its inventory? Will it have to scale back production? Will it have to drop prices? The answers aren't likely to be very pretty. Chips haven't looked this bad since Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada got together recently for a television reunion.

Can you mail-order scorched earth?
In a move that may seem irrational at first, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) destroyed a great third quarter showing by announcing that it would slash the monthly membership fees on its popular DVD mail-order rental service. With more twists than an M. Night Shyamalan movie, the monthly price for the basic Netflix service that allows subscribers to have 3 DVDs out at any given time went from $19.99 to $21.99 back in June but will drop back down to $17.99 next month. Why would it do such a thing when it was doing just fine competing against Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Blockbuster (NYSE:BBI)? Well, several sources told the company that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) was readying a similar service, and unlike its traditional brick-and-mortar competition it's obvious that Amazon understands electronic commerce.

While the lower rates may come as great news to you if you're one of its 2.2 million subscribers, the shareholders see it differently. They saw the stock get slammed on Friday as now the company thinks it will only break even next year because of the preemptive cutthroat move. Hey! What happened to the happy ending?

See you next week!

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wonders whether PayPal were to have a virtual collection to drum up the funds to right its outage if the funds would get through. He's just kidding. He owns shares in Netflix. He's not kidding. Yes, he feels the pain.