The Mac daddy humbles itself
Investors hanging on Steve Jobs' every "one more thing" walked away poorer after Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) keynote speech at MacWorld failed to wow the market. A laptop so light that it probably doubles as a Frisbee? A wireless backup storage solution? Video rentals through iTunes that we already knew about? An update to Apple TV that may make it an even cheaper paperweight?

Obviously Apple spoiled everyone last year with the iPhone announcement. There can't be an iPhone zinger at every MacWorld. Still, it was very anticlimactic after the previous week's announcements from other companies at the annual Consumer Electronics Show. I mean, come on now. Even TASER (Nasdaq: TASR) made waves with its leopard-print stun gun with a holster that doubles as an MP3 player. Where was Jobs with the iTaser stungun that zaps clever one-liners at passing laptops running Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Vista?

I'm not an Apple shareholder, though I might be grateful for the lull. Apple is reporting its quarterly earnings in a few days, and that is the news worthy of moving Apple's stock.

Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.

  • Stop the presses! Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) is snapping up an enterprise software competitor. What's that? Oracle is always doing this? I guess you're right. The company is always growing via acquisition, whether it's PeopleSoft, Siebel, Hyperion, or now BEA Systems (Nasdaq: BEAS). I doubt CEO Larry Ellison has ever been inside a Whole Foods or Wild Oats supermarket. He'd freak out at the organic growth.
  • We took a look at 17 candidates for The Worst Stock of 2008. You know what one of the best stocks for 2008 might be? Enron. Yes, Enron. The U.S. District court in Houston will be paying burned investors an average of $6.79 a share out of the $7.2 billion settlements fund. It won't be enough to make most shareholders whole, but it may be found money, given the lost cause that Enron became several years ago.
  • Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) began offering unlimited online streaming of its growing collection of digitally delivered flicks to existing subscribers. It's a move timed perfectly to coincide with Apple's premium rental announcement. Sure, the selection is still barren of most new releases. Netflix also doesn't have a clear way to monetize the streams beyond the warm fuzzies of subscriber loyalty. You get what you pay for. Or should that be "you get what you don't pay for," since it's a free add-on for paying subscribers?

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Netflix is a Stock Advisor newsletter recommendation. TASER is a Rule Breakers selection. Microsoft is an Inside Value stock pick. If this weekend finds you hungry for stock picks, snag a 30-day trial subscription offer to any of the newsletter services.

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