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RIM's bad timing
Research in Motion
(Nasdaq: RIMM) could not have had worse timing to falter as Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) new iPhone 4S begins to sell in stores. RIM saw its worst service snag as it attempted to deal with a data backlog affecting thousands of users. The outage could be the needed push for many cell phone owners toward the iPhone and away from BlackBerries. Company executives said they were very concerned about the outage and the possible implications for the company.

RIM has been recently fighting off pressures to shake up the company's management, while moving all of its devices to a new operating system. On the other hand, Apple announced it had received a record-setting million pre-orders for the new phone. Read more at Bloomberg.

Closing the Gap
As consumers shop less, or move to online shopping, retailer Gap (NYSE: GPS) announced it would close a fifth of its stores in North America over a period of two years. Gap was once the largest specialty shop in the country. It was also the first to use the strategy of expanding its stores to any viable spot and then doing the same with a different brand. The company will close 189 stores, or 21% of them, bringing the number down to 700 stores. The company did not specify which stores it would be closing. Gap will not actively close the stores but instead it will wait for certain leases to expire as the pull back empties 2 million square feet.

The company will now shift its efforts to expand to newer markets such as China. The retailer's woes came from a saturation of the market that became visible during the recession. Gap has also been unable to produce a compelling line or style and missed certain trends. The closings come at a time when mall owners have been dealing with mounting numbers of empty storefronts. Read more at The Wall Street Journal

's (Nasdaq: GOOG) recent earnings release not only easily beat analyst expectations with an increase in revenue of 33%, but also proved it can make money of selling mobile ads. Even though the company doesn't break up revenue depending on the type of ad, it did say its mobile ad revenues were on track to generate $2.5 billion by the end of the year.

Google has nearly 100-percent control over mobile search and is investing heavily in its mobile ads. Google's earnings appeased those who believed that because more searches were being done on mobile devices ad revenue would be smaller. People are less likely to click on mobile ads, which are smaller and cheaper than other ad formats. But, Google seems to grow on all fronts as its computer-based search ad revenue continues to chug along. Read more at The New York Times.

Netflix pays up
After a failed attempt to divide its business, and after instituting an unpopular price increase, Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) paid about $1 billion to CBS (NYSE: CBS) and Time Warner (NYSE: TWC) to get the rights to air CW series. The network is known for having shows like “Gossip Girl” and “The Vampire Diaries.” Under the agreement, Netflix will be able to stream every episode of every show hosted by the network and all series that debut before the 2015 fall season. The only condition is that Netflix will have to wait for the end of the seasons before airing any episodes.

This is the first time Netflix signed a deal of this size with CBS. The deal is an addition to other expensive agreements on record. Last month the company signed deals with Dreamworks and Discovery Communications to offset losing deals with other networks like the Starz channel. The deal will help the owners of the CW offset its losses. CW has been losing up to $50 million as many of its users -- a young audience -- watch their shows on the Internet. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

So there you have it, the top financial stories for this afternoon. If you are interested in getting all the news and commentary on these stocks sign up to My Watchlist here its free!