Stupidity is contagious. It gets us all from time to time. Even respectable companies can catch it. Let's take a look at five dumb financial events this week that may make your head spin.
1. Mr. Softy doesn't make sense
Microhoo revisited? Yahoo! shares soared on the news, which means that this dumb stock move will go one of two ways. If Ballmer is serious about going after Yahoo! again -- which I doubt -- he just shot himself in the foot by pre-announcing his plans. Now that speculators are chasing the stock higher, he won't get as good a deal as he could have by quietly approaching a depressed Yahoo!.
Since Ballmer is unlikely to be that boneheaded, the dummies are probably the investors who began snapping up shares of Yahoo! based on the buyout buzz. Don't get me wrong. Yahoo! is an attractive buy here. Traders just better make sure that they are buying for the right reasons, not the heartbreakingly orchestrated ones.
2. Lost and found
Speaking of Yahoo!, the company's blog introduced a new marketing campaign, seeking to emphasize the company's search engine superiority. It's a smart approach. However, the display ad it's rolling with actually takes a shot at Google
Attacking Goliath is a common marketing practice, but isn't this the same Yahoo! that is turning to Google in outsourcing its paid search ads? It's hypocritical at worst, and the key to clammy handshakes at best.
3. Cheap iPod killer is barely an iPod tickler
Flash memory titan SanDisk
Did I mention that you don't ever need to recharge your Sansa slotMusic Player? No, that's not good news. You need to replace the AAA battery inside when you go through less than 15 hours of playtime. Some have argued that SanDisk knows what it's doing. It must have spent a ton of time and money in testing the slotMusic viability. So? Tell me that this doesn't sound like clearance bin fodder by next summer.
4. While my DVD player gently weeps
This strategy would have made perfect sense 36 centerfolds ago. These days, there are too many free websites out there giving smut away. Despite its best efforts, Playboy's online revenue has been stagnant in recent years because of the competitive climate. The same can be said for the company's raunchier competition. So what is Playboy doing exactly? It is getting rid of the physical product that bunny-chasing consumers are willing to pay for, to pursue a crowded arena where traffic gravitates toward freebies? Bad move. What's next? Turning the signature mansion into a day-care center?
5. We're all bears, now
I'm never a fan of press releases that have a roundabout way of getting to the bad news. Yesterday's Build-A-Bear Workshop
The company is also shuttering its "friends 2B made" concept, offering customized girl dolls. Think Bratz or Mattel's
Let's beat the dumb drum:
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of dumb and smart business moves. Investors can learn plenty from both. He does 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.