If you're feeling good about the market, you're not alone. Take my hand as we go over some of this week's more uplifting headlines.
1. Get yer free Kindles, here!
In a move that seems ridiculous at first, Amazon.com
TechCrunch uncovered this little gem of a promotion. Practically giving away razors in the traditional razor-and-blades model can be a smart financial decision, but we're not talking about $259 razors!
The reason that this nugget is resting here -- and not as one of this week's dumbest stock moves -- is that Amazon is targeting only customers who have purchased a ton of books over the past year.
In other words, it's the crowd who would be the most likely to buy a lot of e-books. As loyal customers, they are also unlikely to call Amazon out on the guarantee. Either way, Amazon will have established a lifeline where it can replace physical books that are costly to ship (with Amazon usually subsidizing the fulfillment) with higher-margin digital reads.
Oh, and extra style points for Amazon making this offer just before the iTablet is announced next week.
2. There are 257,000 more reasons to believe in satellite radio
Validation is sweet for Sirius XM Radio
Sirius XM also expects to deliver $100 million in free cash flow for all of 2009, silencing any skeptics who figured that Sirius XM would never make money.
3. Lights! Camera! Five bucks!
Is it a risky move? You bet. Some of tech's biggest darlings have failed in getting Aeron potatoes to pay up for digital rentals. The move may also dent the YouTube brand, if consumers begin tiptoeing around the site to make sure they don't trigger any tollbooths. However, I still see this as a smart move by Google, and not just because it may help it diversify from its paid search stronghold.
Google is requiring that interested viewers pay through Google Checkout. Even if 99.9% of Google's more than 100 million unique stateside visitors balk at the offer, Google would still potentially open up to 100,000 new Google Checkout accounts.
4. Bing meets the bling king
This would be a blow to Google, but how many style points would the typically stodgy Mr. Softy secure in the process? Overnight, Microsoft would become the Patrick Dempsey character in Can't Buy Me Love, paying to go out with the most popular girl in school. Call it the mother of all street-cred makeovers.
Bing launched to generally favorable reviews last year, but the engine's growth has stalled lately. Apple's seal of approval -- no matter how it's acquired -- would be huge.
5. Banking on Google bites back
I've used eBay
We knew that PayPal would be a beast. We also knew that eBay would top Wall Street's profit targets, because that's what it has historically done (even during the past year and change of sloppy fundamentals). However, for the first time in more than a year, eBay's marketplace business is posting year-over-year growth.
There's more to this than the company's original auction business, naturally. Its recent acquisition of South Korea's Gmarket and healthy spurts at Stub Hub and Kijiji helped prop up performance. Still, year-over-year improvement for the segment as a whole is worth applauding, even if this means that eBay will have to buy Latin American speedster MercadoLibre
Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Google and Mercadolibre are Motley Fool Rule Breakers selections. Apple, Amazon.com, and eBay are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Motley Fool Options has recommended a bull call spread position on eBay and a diagonal call position on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services, free for 30 days.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is an optimist at every turn. 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.