Worst. Announcement. Ever.
I rank it up there with the debut of "Ginger," the two-wheeled failure best known for dumping our Commander in Chief on his face.
I'm talking about the much-anticipated, overhyped announcement that Google
More amazing yet was the near unanimity among headline and copy writers, all claiming that this yawner of a marketing deal amounted to a "serious challenge" to Microsoft's
The release says the companies have "agreed to explore opportunities to promote" things like OpenOffice, Sun's open-source office suite. I wonder how many of the scribbling journalists out there proclaiming doom for Microsoft (writing in Word, no doubt) have actually tried out OpenOffice? I have. I've got it on my machine. You know what it reminds me of? Microsoft Works, about a decade ago.
Mr. Softy may not be the sharpest crayon in the software world's box, but he's big and he's popular, and that's more than enough to fend off Sun. As for the folks at Google, I'm surprised they even risked besmirching their name by cozying up to a tech also-ran like Sun. I'm guessing this was just a convenient way to take a swipe at the Redmond bully. Google's A-game is in other places, and they know it.
I often wonder if there's anything less useful for the investor than the daily macroeconomic predictions churned out by our nation's fine analysts and the rest of the business press. (Buy, Sell, and Hold ratings are three that come to mind.)
Over the past few weeks, the tea-leaf readers and a zillion headline writers have been predicting disaster for retail, especially for firms like Wal-Mart
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Don't count Wal-Mart out. Surprise surprise, it did OK. The company voted most likely to stink it up (by my informal headline survey) actually turned in comparable-store sales growth of 3.8%, and reiterated earnings guidance of $0.55 to $0.59 per share for the coming quarter.
Here's a prediction: If consumers are pinched, they'll actually end up shopping at Wal-Mart more often, because they need to trim costs.
Taser's untenable position
Sometimes I really pity the guys at Taser International
Has it really come to this? Are we going to see a press release each time a Taser is used with good results? I should point out that I really believe that Taser's devices, properly deployed, are useful in keeping both police and suspects safe -- certainly safer than many of the older alternatives. Nonetheless, these releases smack of pure desperation.
I don't think this is a fight that Taser can win. Unfortunately for Taser and its shareholders, success stories like these will never get as much press as stories about the Tasering of preteens, the elderly, or stories like this one, about a cop who used a Taser on a young woman who was already on the ground, then threatened the guy filming the entire event with a shock of his own.
Here's a problem. I've yet to see Taser come right out and issue a press release saying anything like "Taser condemns misuse of its product on a handcuffed 13-year-old girl; Urges police to review use of force guidelines." Of course, such a tack would likely annoy Taser's primary constituency -- the police. Unfortunately, it might also be the only thing that would appease Taser's secondary constituency -- the citizens and politicians who hold the cops' purse strings.
My guess is that until Taser meets these kinds of stories head on and takes a harder line against misuse of its devices, you'll see continued hesitation from law enforcement procurement departments. After all, the easiest way for city and police officials to avoid the heat for potential Taser safety issues or misuse is not to buy them at all. Unfortunate shareholders already know that pain all too well.
For related Foolishness:
- Watch as Taser takes the stage.
- Review last week's eyes on the wise.
- Taser is a perfect example of the trouble with the next big thing.
Seth Jayson would still rather be Tased than clubbed, maced, police-dogged, or made to own Taser shares. At the time of publication, he had shares of Microsoft, but no positions in any other company mentioned here. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here . Taser is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Microsoft is a Monster Stocks pick. Fool rules arehere.