Tag Archive | "president-obama"

D: NFLX Prepares For Deep Spend

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D: All Things Digital, The Wall Street Journal technology conference, is in full swing in Southern California.

Netflix (NFLX) Chief Executive Reed Hastings led off the proceedings this morning talking about international expansion. The Internet movie outfit is going to launch in Toronto first, a “bold” move, going to Canada, he jested. Then, Netflix will open it’s doors in an undisclosed foreign market shortly thereafter.

The upshot: international expansion could hurt profits. “We tell investors that the better it goes, the more money we are going to lose because we are going to invest” more in expansion, Hastings says. He says it takes one to three years for Netflix to establish itself in a new country, which is relatively fast. Hastings, who is a Microsoft (MSFT) board member, would not comment about hedge fund manager David Einhorn’s call for Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s ouster.

He was wiling to discuss his own open letter to short sellers to cover their negative bets, even calling short-selling “healthy” for markets.

“I’m not trying to have a battle with the shorts,” (but) if you have a friend on the short side and you think he’s losing money, and you think he’s wrong, then you want to tell him.”

The conference, now in its ninth year, got off to a rip roaring start last night when News Corp. “acting CEO” Jane Lynch, the star of the Fox Television hit Glee, recommended comic strips be added to the WSJ and other humorous mandates involving Sara Palin and talk show shock host, Glenn Beck.

Google (GOOG) Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt was the opening night keynote. The former CEO, who serves as an advisor to President Obama, says he has no intention to take a cabinet post or agency job, which had been rumored. But he will be active in the coming campaign just as he was during the President’s first election.

Note: For further ongoing coverage of D, see also former Tech Trader editor Eric Savitz’s blog at Forbes.com.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Eavesdropping In: Inside bin Laden Kill Plan; "The Rock" Johnson Tweets bin Laden Death Way Before Media; Sarah Palin Thanks Bush, Not…

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  • The details of the high risk, potentially disastrous plan to kill Osama bin Laden and play-by-play account of how it all went down. [LATimes]
  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was one of the first people outside the operation to know about the death of Osama bin Laden, tweets news 45 minutes before any media outlets. Yeah, I don’t get it either… [KTLA]
  • Sarah Palin delivers a speech thanking former President Bush, not current President Obama, for the death of bin Laden. Not even kidding. [HuffPo]
  • Are we to take Miley Cyrus’ rendition of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” at her concert last week as an unequivocal sign the apocalypse is fast-approaching? [TMZ]
  • For those who care to make a difference in the world, starting today you can vote online for the 2011 MTV Movie Awards Best Movie category from the list of nominees. [PE]

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L.A. Obama Traffic Returns Today

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Hope you guys don’t need to be anywhere important today because an unstoppable force sparing no one south of the 101 is descending on L.A. this afternoon that promises you’ll be late and sit in the kind of traffic that makes you seriously consider abandoning your vehicle to take off on foot. That’s right, President Obama is coming to town, Read the full story

Obama at Facebook: Zuckerberg A Tad Nervous

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My colleague Mark Veverka managed to sit it at the townhall meeting President Obama held at Facebook today, and filed this report. Thanks, Mark!

The social media president made his first stop on his California campaign swing at the headquarters of Facebook in Palo Alto, just down the street from Hewlett-Packard. The heavily-staged “town hall” event went down as scripted, with billionaire Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking the questions that were submitted in advance and over the Web.

Zuckerberg, sans hoodie, was a little nervous from the get-go being in the presence of President Obama on the big Internet stage.

The event was streamed live over Facebook, demonstrating the media power of a college experiment gone so viral that traditional television networks are nervous – and they should be.

Facebook is a privately held pre-IPO technology-media company that just hosted the president of the United States for a global chat. Talk about a road show.

You can watch the video here, in case you missed it.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Eavesdropping In: Man Finds Nic Cage’s Stolen $1 Mil Comic Book; Obama Spending Plan Speculation; Nicki Minaj To Open For Britney Spears Tour;…

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  • After having multiple homes foreclosed on and having to star in Drive Angry, we think Nicolas Cage kind of deserves the rare $1 million comic book stolen from him in 2000 back from the man who just found it. [KTLA]
  • Read all about President Obama’s speculated budget proposal to reduce the nation’s deficit and Paul Ryan’s “Draconian” program cuts… [HuffPo]
  • Nicki Minaj steps in after Enrique Iglesias jumps ship as the opener for Britney Spears’ upcoming tour. [TMZ]
  • Dear America: your favorite guidos and guidettes will reportedly each earn at least $100,000 per episode for “Jersey Shore” Season 4. [PE]
  • Catastrophe continues as three powerful aftershocks of 7.1, 6.0, and 5.6 magnitudes strike Japan causing landslides, power outages, further radiation leakage, and few fatalities. [LATimes]

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Solar: Big Vote Of Confidence As GE Gets Religion, Says Kaufman

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I had a chat with Kaufman Brothers analyst Jeffrey Bencik this morning about what seems a meaningful endorsement of solar energy with General Electric’s (GE) announcement yesterday it had achieved record efficiency in a type of solar panel component, made of “thin films” based on cadmium telluride materials, and that GE plans to build what it bills as the U.S.’s biggest solar-panel manufacturing facility, capable of 400-megawatts of production, employing 400 people and resulting in enough power generation to power 80,000 homes a year.

Bencik, who used to cover GE formally, and now covers First Solar (FSLR), among others, tells me that the initiative, “marks a significant shift” for GE in its attitude toward solar. GE was sour on the business not so long ago, but has now understood that solar, as Bencik puts it, is the only energy source not rising in cost, including wind energy.

“Five years ago, six years ago when I asked [GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt] about solar, he poo-poo’ed it at the time, said it was way too far away from cost competitiveness,” Bencik recalls.

Bencik muses that Immelt has seen the writing on the wall as far as cost: “The cost of solar has been cut in half in the last two years, while the cost of every other means of electricity generation has continued to increase because they are all steel turbine-based, and steel costs have been going up.”

“They can see the finish line,” he says of GE with regard to cost, “They can see this is a real business.”

For the solar business, it’s a big vote of confidence, says Bencik, even though it will take several years for the GE initiative to bear fruit. No site has been picked for the plant, and it will take a year or more for construction, then more time to ramp the facility, put out product, etc.

But, this will be the first solar energy company “with the ear of the president,” notes Bencik, referring to President Obama’s having appointed Immelt to his “Competitiveness Council” on industry. “With GE going into solar in a big way, it’s in their interest to have increased incentives for solar,” he observes, alluding to the possible impact on U.S. policy.

And the announcement may make solar real for some investors, he argues, though it will probably help to have GE announce a second facility at some point, to prove that the company is not going to just dabble and then walk away.

“If they follow this up with an additional one, then I think a lot of people will get off the fence,” says Bencik. “A second facility would remove all doubt” among investors.

For First Solar and others, there are more immediate benefits. Their customer base may increase as some prospects see GE coming in and decide the technology’s been blessed. First Solar, in particular, benefits forma the fact that GE has chosen thin-film. GE’s years away from threatening First Solar, and first solar has capacity of 2.5 gigawatts already, dwarfing what GE has planned.

But with a vocal lobby having warned against the health risks of cadmium telluride, First Solar may have gained a big ally in the public health debate.

Bencik maintains a Hold rating on First Solar shares, having downgraded it when it hit $165. He now thinks that, “there’s actually starting to be meaningful upside” for the shares at a recent price of $147.75.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Eavesdropping In: Obama Makes 2012 Bid Official; Southwest’s Crafts Are Janky; Fukushima Dumps Tons Of Radioactive Water Into Sea; Charlie Sheen Tour…

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  • President Obama makes his run for 2012 reelection official with an email sent this morning to his supporters [HuffPo]
  • Southwest was delinquent in inspecting the safety of its fleet of decades-old, rattling, hooptie-esque aircrafts? What??! [KTLA]
  • Fukushima releases 11,500 tons of radioactive water into sea as emergency measure to make room for water with 100,000 times more radiation [LAT]
  • After bombing the debut of his one-man show in Detroit, here’s a list of the high notes Charlie Sheen hit to find redemption in Chicago [TMZ]
  • For reasons that escape all logic and common sense, Hugh Hefner won’t make his 24 year-old fiancé (a cool 60 years his junior) Crystal Harris sign a prenup [PE]

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Solar: Jefferies Sees U.S. Share Of Demand Rising This Year

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Jefferies & Co. solar analyst Jesse Pichel this morning picks through some of the data from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) report from earlier this month on U.S. demand for solar.

Pichel notes that photovoltaic installations in the U.S. last year doubled from 2009, to 878 megawatts, with installations in the States set to rise double the market rate of 16% to 24% this year, according to SEIA.

Out of a total expected 18 gigawatt market, by Pichel’s estimate, that would give the U.S. 10% of global demand, up from about 5% in 2010.

More important, Pichel sees “steady demand” in the U.S. thanks to a broadening of the market to include not just utilities but also residential and commercial. Residential and utility should be “strong” this year, with “some weakness” in commercial installations, he writes.

Pichel notes that such growth depends on the U.S. Department of Energy’s “Loan Guarantee program” getting financed. He adds, “The Treasury Cash Grant program is also expiring at the end of 2011, furthering concerns that 2012 may be weak,” though his belief is, “efforts are underway to extend the Cash Grant program, or to even make it permanent as a cash refund.”

Pichel notes President Obama’s prominent support for solar and renewables in a talk just yesterday at Georgetown University.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Eavesdropping In: Playboy Mansion Disease Outbreak; Obama’s Budget Plans; Bieber Fans Revolt; Bill Murray Wins PGA Tourney; Mubarak’s Health In…

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Authorities investigate the cause of the illness outbreak said to have originated at the Playboy Mansion that affected dozens who attended an event at the estate [LATimes]
President Obama proposes a budget to congress with spending cuts on programs that help the working poor, middle [...]

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Obama’s State Of The Union China Mentions, Lack Of Appreciation For A Magnificent Ballroom Enraged Donald Trump

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As you may have heard, last night President Obama gave his State of the Union address, in which he mentioned China a couple of times. This, legendary businessman Donald Trump says, “was the low point of the speech.” While Trump pretty much hated the entire thing (there was “no substance whatsoever” and he “didn’t hear anything about all these states that are going to go bankrupt”), it was the China stuff that really grinded his gears. “Totally inappropriate,” the bankruptcy expert told Joe Kernan and Becky Quick this morning on Squawk Box. “What’s up with you and China? What got your dander up,” Joe asked, hoping to lighten the mood. “Did they tell you you couldn’t build a golf course over there or something?” Unfortunately, Donald was in no mood for jokes. Not when it comes to China, or the suggestion anyone tells him where he can and cannot build golf courses.

“Well, Joe, I understand China,” Trump replied, deadly serious. “I’ve done business with the Chinese- and actually done very well to put it mildly- and I know that the Chinese are no friends of this country. I see what’s happening with respect China, with respect to the manipulation and all of the other things. I also buy a lot of products- so many from China. I don’t want to buy from them but I have no other choice….it’s a very unfair playing field and it was inappropriate of the President to praise them.”

“Well we’re in a bit of a tough spot, as consumers,” Kernan offered. “We could do something about it, Joe,” Trump said. “We have all the cards; if we stop buying from China they’ll go into an economic depression like you’ve never seen before. WE HAVE THE CARDS, JOE.”

Trump had other complaints, too. Fiscal irresponsibility. Taxes. Outsiders “stealing from us.” And don’t even get him started on Mexico. But you want to know what the biggest problem with this country is? The Don has a simple anecdote to illustrate.

“I’ve never said this before,” he told Jose and Becks. “But recently, I saw that they were in a tent in the White House, when those two people broke in. And I called the White House and I said listen, you know, I have a ballroom in Palm Beach Florida that’s magnificent. I offered, for nothing, to build them a $50 million ballroom. When a foreign leader comes over, when we host our own people they should be in a ballroom- not a tent. I spoke to a very high official. I said I will build– free!– a 40, 50, 60 million dollar ballroom, for the White House. I said, it’ll be the most magnificent ballroom there ever is- and I never heard from them! THAT is the problem with this country.”

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker