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Comment: Re:Ads (Score 4, Insightful) 287

by alexander_686 (#47909437) Attached to: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Maker Mojang For $2.5 Billion

I think Minecraft has "legs" and will be around for a while. Longer than Farmville 2, less than Legos.

But I do think it says something about Microsoft. They are having a hard time growing organically, which is the curse of many large mature companies. These companies tend to expand by buyouts and mergers, which we are seeing here. Buyouts and mergers have a poor history of returns on investments.

I think Microsoft is trying for a single or double and not a home run. Maybe a 25% return over 5 years.

Comment: Re:Why is this legal in the U.S.? (Score 1) 148

I would like to know which country you are talking about. Two other points.

First, there is a very thin line on helping an industry and helping out a specific company. I can think of many examples where a countries industrial policy to help an industry ends up only helping a single company.

Second, take a look some of the big projects in your country. I bet we could find some accommodations, in particular with infrastructure. For example, Tesla needs a road so Nevada is going to build it but it is not like Tesla is going to have exclusive use of it. Roads, rail, water, sewer, etc. are all common. Stuff like this I can kind of approve of – it is a chicken and the egg problem.

As an aside, I tend to think industrial policy is self-defeating and a waste of taxpayer's money. In America, it tends to be states racing to the lowest level.

Comment: Re:Fair Use (Score 1) 101

You might want to reread your link. Free public libraries came into being after copyright. Before then, the libraries where state (restricted to officials) or subscription (think Blockbuster). It is one of the great inventions of America, Ben Franklin, and Andrew Carnegie. They existed, but before this they were as rare as hen's teeth.

Comment: Re:It is called the trickle down effect (Score 1) 100

by alexander_686 (#47882049) Attached to: China Targets 2022 For Space Station Completion

But less than you think because we are talking about strong probabblities.

IIRC S. Korea has 70%+ of the market share for LCD screens, while Japan comes in second. Together they control over 95% of the market. The glass is similar, the US has 70% market share, while Japan comes in second.

We know where most of the foundaries are. We can debate where the various CPU, memory, and other control chips come from. We know the CPUs can't come from China. With the other chips, China is low in the league tables.


Comment: Re:It is called the trickle down effect (Score 1) 100

by alexander_686 (#47881445) Attached to: China Targets 2022 For Space Station Completion

Lenovo, which oddly means in the US. But let us go a step further.
        The screen was made probabbly made in South Korea, but the glass for that screen in the US.
          The chips were probabbly made in a 1/2 dozen companies. Taiwan (is that part of China?), S. Korea, Japan, and the US are probabbly the biggest ones.
          The plastic probabbly came from the US even if it was molded someplace else.
          A good chunk of the design was also done in the US and other countries.

For all the examples given (except maybe the can food, which I sincerely doubt since China is a net importer of food) China does the low end assembly work. This is changing, but I still think you need to reexamine your point.

Comment: Re:Because it sucks when you can't compete..... (Score 1) 95

by alexander_686 (#47860755) Attached to: European Commission Reopens Google Antitrust Investigation

I know of 2 cases where the EU alleged issues:
        Google Maps, where Google put it's own reviews in front of other, like Yelp
        In shopping results, where it put it's shopping search engine before others.

To your point, take a look at what you are saying. If Google ranks it's own services ahead of others, is it because they offer the best service? Google says yes, but then again their biased, so arguing that point is going to be futile.

A better question is if the are they optimizing their algorithms to make it look like their serveries are the best? A analogy might be Microsoft's Explorer. A big issue was not that Microsoft included Explorer in all their copies of Windows, but that Microsoft had optimized Windows so Explorer. i.e. Explorer could make special secret calls to the OS while other bowers could not. If they are that would be a big issue.

Comment: Re:Because it sucks when you can't compete..... (Score 1) 95

by alexander_686 (#47860547) Attached to: European Commission Reopens Google Antitrust Investigation

Yes, there is evidence of this. But it may not be illegal.

Part of the reason is a network effect. As Google brings in more and more information, it gets better at sorting it and finding connections. In the above example, Google knew people were wanting to search on maps so it bought a map outfit and started pouring data in. As it gets better at integrating various sets of data, the better it gets, the more people visit it, the more money it makes, the more data it can buy, and the virtuous cycle goes forth.

Then there is bundling, where Google uses it dominate position to promote it own second rate offerings above better results, tamping down completion.

Then there is jealously and fear at having such a large and powerful corporation outside their realm.

Comment: Re:The end of TWO bubbles (Score 2) 97

by alexander_686 (#47840667) Attached to: Alibaba's US IPO Could Top $20 Billion

I would not say that. Yes, China's growth rate has fallen from 10% to 7%, but that is still higher than the West's 2%.

And yes, China is horrible misallocating resources and I reckon that when the bubble busts it will take the wind out of Alibaba's sails. But that is a argument for slower growth, not a falling stock price. (It could, you just need to build out your argument.)

As for shorting this piggy, as somebody who lived though the crash seeing people do this first hand, I will point out that the markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent. Take care.

Comment: Re:Franchise laws = Racket laws (Score 2) 157

by alexander_686 (#47828783) Attached to: Tesla's Next Auto-Dealer Battleground State: Georgia

I would take the opposite view. GM had a large number of inflexible costs. Old underutilized factories that they could not close, redundant union employees that could not fire, and a huge number of small unprofitable dealerships. The state franchise laws were so strong that the only way to fire these unprofitable customers was to dealer bankruptcy.
GM and Toyota have roughly the same market share but GM had twice as many dealers. In the 60s GM had over 50% of the market share, so it made sense to have 7 brands, and thousands of dealerships. Plus Americans were more rural and spread out. By 2010 having that many dealerships was irrational, but state franchise law limited what GM could do.

It made sense for the individual dealership to hold on – why give away a valuable franchise for nothing? And GM did not have the money to buy them out – even a marginal franchise is worth a million. But the collective actions were an anchor around GM's neck.

You could see GM moving in the right direction in 2000-2010, transforming themselves from a huge slow moving dinosaur into something for the modern age, but they just could not move fast enough.

Comment: Re:Franchise laws = Racket laws (Score 1) 157

by alexander_686 (#47827045) Attached to: Tesla's Next Auto-Dealer Battleground State: Georgia

It is not as easy as that.

First, it assumes that the two parties have relatively equal power, or at the very least that one can't bully the other. Second, it assumes the situation is static. This is rarely true after 10 years. After 20 years, normally the situation has changed so much that one party dominates and can squeeze the other party dry.

Comment: Re:Franchise laws = Racket laws (Score 4, Insightful) 157

by alexander_686 (#47825913) Attached to: Tesla's Next Auto-Dealer Battleground State: Georgia

It is a bit more subtle than that. Back in the 20s there were over a dozen auto manufactures and many repair shops, so that was not an issue. The issue was one of unbalanced power. The manufactures could bully the franchisors by forcing them to buy more cars than they could sell, yank their franchise after they had built up the brand and sell it somebody else, drive up franchise fees after the initial 10 year contract was over.etc.

A free market only works when there is a free exchange between 2 parties. The laws were supposed to, and did, redress this balance of power. Of course, what was true 100 years – or even 25 years does not necessarily apply today or to Tesla. The NADA today is about defending locally entrenched business interests and the status quo.

Comment: Re: As much as I hate Apple (Score 1) 187

by alexander_686 (#47803953) Attached to: Apple Said To Team With Visa, MasterCard On iPhone Wallet

What regulations are you talking about? In America both banks and charge / merchant / debit cards fall under the same laws. Banks may be more highly regulated but then again they are doing more things. That is, they make loans, take deposits etc. But I can't think of a major difference in terms of principals on how checking is treated differently than cards. For example, the same standards, a signature, are used for both. The differences I know of are on specifics, for example extra safeguards built into checking to clear the checks.

Disclaimer: "These opinions are my own, though for a small fee they be yours too." -- Dave Haynie