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. You're getting a Dell phone, dude
We've been having a laugh at Dell's expense since these rumors first surfaced nearly a year ago. Dell has had problems when it strays outside its computing stronghold to introduce branded consumer electronics such as high-def televisions and portable media players. What makes Dell think it can make a dent in the smartphone market?
To be fair, Dell's entry won't be as ridiculous as it could have been. It's basing its phone on Google's
It's still going to be a tall order for Dell to make its smartphones cool enough that folks actually want to be seen with them. I don't know if Dell has it in its DNA to pull this off.
2. Yahoo! fires up the bulldozer
This still doesn't mean that axing the amateurish pages is the best solution. Yahoo! paid $3.6 billion for GeoCities on the other side of the dot-com bubble. Isn't that a whole lot of money to completely implode later this month?
I'm not waxing nostalgic. I'm not suggesting that the thinning GeoCities community should try to have its collection of dated content be preserved as a national landmark. I just think this is a stupid business decision. Yahoo! needs pages to populate with display ads. It also needs to assure users of its new offerings that the services will last. Closing GeoCities fails on both counts.
3. Bing gets bounced
The honeymoon is over. Microsoft's
Bing had gained ground on Google every month since its springtime launch. Taking a step back in September will lead many to wonder whether Bing's popularity peaked in August.
Maybe this will be good for Microsoft, if online users rally around Bing as the unlikely underdog in this battle. Since Bing's traffic was ascending well past the first few weeks of its launch, the so-called "decision engine" is clearly more than just a novelty. However, now Microsoft has to make sure it gets back on track before Bing becomes the new MSN Search or Live.com.
4. Boeing, Boeing, gone
There's another delay at Boeing
The admittedly unprofitable 747-8 would be ripe for cancellation if Boeing didn't have an order backlog for 105 of these planes. Boeing can't back out now, because its reputation is at stake.
Then again, given Boeing's punctuality problems, that reputation is already under fire.
5. Vonage gets its 15 minutes -- and that's about it
Well, the accolades lasted for only a day. AT&T opened up the following day and announced that it would allow all VoIP programs to lean on AT&T's data network to work. In other words, in a span of 24 hours, Vonage went from offering a unique program to being just another face in the crowded App Store catalog.
Let's beat the Dumb Drum:
Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Dell and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. That certainly wouldn't be a dumb move.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of dumb and smart business moves. Investors can learn plenty from both. He owns no shares in any of the stocks in this story and is also part of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.