Word on the Street today was that stocks slumped due to a drop in consumer confidence. But let's not forget that it is Friday the 13th today, and consumers are strung out after emptying their wallets in anticipation of Valentine's Day tomorrow. We find it unlikely that consumers were really thinking about stocks while searching for chocolate treats, jewelry, and the last unwilted rose at Safeway.
We've been celebrating love all week long, but put your money to better use this V-Day. Save it and invest it. If you're looking for weekend reading, our Stocks Fools Love: 5 Stocks That Will Make You Weak in the Knees special is just the ticket. And if you're desperate and lonely, like our managing editor, why not take a spin on Love.Fool.com, our personals service. (OK, for those of you not in the know, Love.Fool.com was our April Fool's joke in 2002, so don't expect to get lucky.)
The markets are closed on Monday in observance of President's Day. The Motley Fool Take will be back on Tuesday. Until then, have a great weekend, everybody!
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- Eisner's Last Stand
- Shameless Plug: Get a Broker
- Microsoft's Bad Mojo
- Discussion Board of the Day: Disney
- Dell Incandescence
- Quote of Note
- More on Fool.com Today
Eisners's Last Stand
By Rick Aristotle Munarriz (TMF Edible)
If you are Disney
With monthly dissidents like these who needs a calendar?
It's pretty clear now that Eisner's days as the head of Disney are numbered. Don't worry, he's packing a beauty of a golden parachute. The only thing that may hurt on the way out is swallowed pride.
The shame here is that Disney was starting to look pretty good in the near term. Fresh attractions are being constructed at the parks just as the tourism industry is starting to pick up. ABC's ratings are still in the cellar, but the ad market is improving, and General Electric's
So if the mad rush to trip up Eisner almost feels orchestrated, well, it is. Everyone smells blood and waiting for the clotting process may make the hunt obsolete. Roy and Stanley realize that their voices would grow quieter as Disney's fiscal performance grows louder. Pixar's bargaining chips wouldn't be as heavy in demanding as much as it had, if Disney wasn't perceived as such an in-house lightweight in animation of late. And Comcast? If Disney's fortunes were to improve in the short term, the reasons to sell would diminish as the asking price would spike.
But that doesn't help Eisner now. He's caught in the web. He can't argue that Comcast's offer is insultingly low because his own efforts couldn't get the share price that high. He can't afford to lob shots at someone like Roy who bears the family name of the company he's running. The thorny ripcord is the only way out. Sure. It will hurt. But then the clotting process will have all the time in the world to heal.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares in both Disney and Pixar.
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Microsoft's Bad Mojo
By Alyce Lomax
Are you one of the many Windows users feeling a teensy bit insecure today? In the latest security snafu to befall Microsoft
Taking a bit of an open-source approach to writing, I consulted with (and gleaned my headline from) Foolish Chief Security Goon Joshua Brown, who pointed to Microsoft as a company that just doesn't seem to "get it" when it comes to security. The Washington Post reports that a former head of security at Microsoft said, "From a security standpoint, this is sort of like capturing a 1956 Russian fighter jet... Everyone has been beating on Windows 2000 and NT for a long time, and any flaws that may have been found have likely been fixed long ago."
The upshot was, it wasn't security that was the big worry, but rather the intellectual property concerns that Microsoft holds so dear, judging by its closed code. However, while Windows 2000 and NT may be a bit "old" by technology standards, comparing them to an anachronistic fighter jet from just shy of 50 years ago doesn't quite wash.
Further, Brown pointed out that some of the recent virulent worms have been pulled off without possession of actual source code, and those attacks affected users of Windows 2000, NT, 2003, and XP, which all contain a substantial amount of the same code. The worst-case scenario seems to be the possibility that a "zero-day" attack could be launched, which means attackers could exploit vulnerabilities before or at the same time Microsoft uncovers them.
It may still be too soon for a huge exodus of consumer and business computer users switching to Apple
News of security problems has been coming at a furious pace. As if the recent widespread worm attack weren't enough, Microsoft just a few days ago warned that Windows had some major security holes that could make it vulnerable to hacking, and said all users must download a critical patch to protect their systems.
Regardless of the outcome of today's breaking news, it's clearer than ever that Microsoft's got to realize that regardless of its nearly ubiquitous hold on home and business computer users, flawless security -- and keeping its customers from feeling insecure -- is essential to its continued dominance in the field.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any companies mentioned. She is the proud owner of an iMac.
Discussion Board of the Day: Disney
Will Comcast gobble The Mouse, or will it stand mighty? Should Disney CEO Michael Eisner be bidding his adieus? All this and more -- in the Disney discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
By Rick Aristotle Munarriz (TMF Edible)
While we'll get a clearer picture of the state of the industry when Hewlett-Packard
Powered by gains of 40% or better in its server and storage businesses, Dell also sold 2 million printers since teaming up with Lexmark
These are interesting times for the computer makers. Gateway
Granted, Dell doesn't have to worry about adjusting the rear-view mirror right now. It is comfortably ahead of the pack. It is looking to grow earnings by 22% in the current quarter on improving margins, and its cash hoard has grown to nearly $12 billion. Dell remains the classy head of the class.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz did the unthinkable. He traded in his Dell for an HP. Still, he does not own shares in any companies mentioned in this story.
Quote of Note
"To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance." -- Oscar Wilde
More on Fool.com Today
Let's Get Sirius, if the No. 2 satellite radio provider wants to play ball, Rick Munarriz has a couple of tips to get the company ready for the big league. And who could miss Taser's Stunning Run-up? Fool Don Crotty thinks the stun-gun maker still has more juice. Stocks Fools Love may be coming to a bittersweet end, but don't miss the last installment with Bill Mann's recommendation: A Retailer That's the Bomb. And last but not least, in the spirit of Valentine's Day, try to look beyond your stock's exterior and see the true value on the inside. Matt Richey has just the formula to find a business' true underlying value in Two With Hidden Value.
In other news:
- AOL: Female Gamers Rule
- Taser's Split Madness
- Recapitalizing Trump
- Smucker's Jammin'?
- Jangled Nerves at NVIDIA
- Ted's Not-So-Excellent Adventure
For a list of all our stories from today, see our Today's Headlines page.