Goodbye, Computer
It was really just a matter of time before Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL) would ditch its boxy surname. Sure, the company still sells a ton of computers, but now it's moving more iPod units than Macs, and it's also blessing us with the iPhone and iTV in 2007, too.

Four months ago, Tim Beyers and I dueled over the company's emphasis. He insisted that it should remain Apple Computer, while I suggested that the company should rename itself Apple Entertainment. The company is splitting the difference and now heading into the future as simply Apple, Inc.

That iPhone sure is something, though, isn't it? Even if it isn't necessarily revolutionary in its actual features, it will send ripples through the makers of handsets and portable media players. Our own Seth Jayson even conceded that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) should just bow out of its Zune business now. Even as a Zune owner and Microsoft shareholder, he sees the company as years behind Apple now, thanks to the iPhone, and would prefer that the company throw its money behind the Xbox 360 than toss it at the dying handheld-media player.

I've got a better idea! Make the Zune more game-friendly and see whether it appeals to diehard gamers who live and die by the Halo 3 release dates.

Stern warning
I don't get it. Howard Stern can get away with some pretty racy content now that he's on the Sirius (NASDAQ:SIRI) airwaves, yet the one thing that ties the market's undies in a knot -- a balloon knot -- is an $83 million stock bonus?

He earned it. Fair and square, my friends. He signed his five-year deal a little more than two years ago, when Sirius had just 600,000 subscribers. Analysts figured that Sirius would have only 3.5 million subscribers by the end of 2006, so Sirius offered him a shot at a beefy bonus if the broadcaster could land at least 5.5 million.

Sirius went on to top that target, with nearly 500,000 extra sets of ears to spare. It's not Stern's fault that the operating infrastructure at Sirius has gotten so bloated that it is still a couple of years away from actual profitability. He's not the one green-lighting the stiff subscriber-acquisition costs or the pricey buildout process. He did exactly what he was brought in to do, and that is to bring in listeners. Sirius has landed more net new subscribers than competitor XM (NASDAQ:XMSR) has for five consecutive quarters. Would that have been possible without Stern? No way, Baba Booey.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Microsoft is a selection in the Inside Value newsletter. XM is a former pick of the Rule Breakers growth-stock service.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look back. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.