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Comment: Re:so I went & had me a look (Score 1) 58

by alexander_686 (#47517791) Attached to: Microsoft FY2014 Q4 Earnings: Revenues Up, Profits Down Slightly

You are not going to find it on Microsoft's website. By the way, everything I am stating falls under subjective accounting judgments.

Microsoft must disclose any relationship that is material significant. i.e., if the US Government bought 10% of their stuff they would have to disclose that. Of course, Microsoft sells nothing to the "US Government" – they sell to the executive branch, Social Security Administration, etc.

Microsoft must break out results along geographic lines. i.e. North America. Still not going to help us.

Microsoft has the option to break out results along product lines. Commercial, consumer, phone, etc.

But Microsoft does not have that type of relationship with the government to break out the results. (not saying it should not be done.)

Comment: Re:This must be confusing to y'all (Score 1) 58

by alexander_686 (#47517485) Attached to: Microsoft FY2014 Q4 Earnings: Revenues Up, Profits Down Slightly

In what fantasy universe does investment in one company yield lower risk than investing in 500?

I am a huge fan of passive index investing. However, that rests on the efficient mark hypothesis, which assumes the underlying stocks are being priced correctly. In order to do that you need to enter my fantasy world were 1. time machines don't exist, and the future is filled with risk and uncertainty and 2. people have varying risk profiles, some of which are lower than the generic risk profile of the S&P 500.

Without people pricing the individual securities correctly the aggregate index means nothing. Another way of say this is, "What price do you think MSFT should be?"

The S&P is expected to return what this year – 9.65% with a standard deviation (assuming a normal bell curve, which is optimistic) of 9.61%. Is that the right risk / return level for you? Maybe you want to invest in lower return but less risky stocks?

And on a side note, why chose the S&P 500 to invest in? Why not the Russell 3000 or the MSCI World Index?

Comment: Re:This must be confusing to y'all (Score 2) 58

by alexander_686 (#47516651) Attached to: Microsoft FY2014 Q4 Earnings: Revenues Up, Profits Down Slightly

Microsoft has returned 100% in the past 10 years, dividends reinvested, or 7.25% annually. S&P 500 has returned 118% with dividends reinvested, or 8.2%.

Which, in my mind, makes them kind of equal. Microsft is now considered a value company , so lower risk and lower reward. Adjust for risk and it looks better. Also, chosing the past 10 years is kind of arbitrary - why not 7 or 12 years.

Comment: Re:Yep, how the music industry was killed... (Score 4, Insightful) 191

by alexander_686 (#47490571) Attached to: Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

And even those are not earning much money.

In a interview a few years ago with Ani DiFranco, the report was gushing on how much higher her margins, as a independent artist, than The Dave Mathew Band. Which made DiFranco laugh because The Dave Mathew Band was making so much more money. DiFranco pointed out that going independent was about freedom of control not about the money.

It is not about margins it is about market structure. Piracy has trained consumers that music should be cheap.

Comment: Re:About half of Apple's employees are in retail (Score 1) 272

by alexander_686 (#47483561) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

oh, it gets worse than this. After MSFT fire everybody their headcount will still be higher than it was last year.

AMZN has lots of people in the warehouses. Redhat is more focused. FaceBook is more focused and has outsourced (depending on you define outsourcing) a lot of its processes. Etc. all are lousy companions.

Comment: Re:New potential battleground? (Score 1) 114

by alexander_686 (#47483523) Attached to: Preparing For Satellite Defense

Your premise is based on the belief that no matter how hard the U.S. gets hit, it would refuse to retaliate in equal or greater strike(s).

No, I am not making that assumption. You are right the opponents seek to exploit their opponent's weaknesses, and just because one has a relative strength in one area does not mean you have an absolute advantage. I just think that in this area we have a large potential weakness that would be hard to shore up against China.

Comment: Re:LMAO (Score 2) 91

by alexander_686 (#47471087) Attached to: Apple Agrees To $450 Million Ebook Antitrust Settlement

Is there any evidence that Apple cared about the price?

No, but that misses the point. Apple wanted into the book market. The publishers wanted to break Amazon's hold on the market so they could jack the prices up. Thus the collusion began. Apple was a knowing participant in this collusion – that was their price of entry into the online book market.

Amazon using its market power to set prices is no a market failure......

I will point out that it was the publishers, not Amazon, which set the wholesale prices. When Amazon lowered its retail price below the wholesale price Amazon had to eat that loss. Which leads us too.

In what way is illegal price fixing worse than an illegal monopoly?

When customers get a better deal. Let's strike the illegal part. In America monopolies are illegal if they hurt the customer. There is nothing illegal in running a business with zero to no profits to grab market share, which is what Amazon was doing. If they were screwing around with their competitors or their customers - whole different story. (Needless to say this get subtle and complicated fast, dealing which market structure, etc.)

Comment: Re:Freedom of Expression... (Score 1) 424

by alexander_686 (#47470097) Attached to: French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

On fines verses damages – o.k. you got me there. Technically it is damages.

But it also goes to illustrate my point. I poked around a little, and while I could not find the exact language but it seems to fall squarely in the realm of opinion and satire. From a factual sense it was more correct than my post with the error on "fines".

Should we live in a society where we must always mind our Ps and Qs? A society where we need to consult lawyers constantly? At best we reduce conversation from a vibrant free flow of ideas into the lowest common denominator of bland and inoffensive language and ideas.

Comment: Re:Make it $4.99 and epub, not mobi (Score 1) 87

by alexander_686 (#47467839) Attached to: Amazon Is Testing a $10-Per-Month Ebook Service

Question – how would a lending library work without DRM? Subscribe for one month, download a thousand books, cancel, and keep the books? Anything better than the honor system? (Note, this is only a limited argument for DRM in context of lending or a all you can eat streaming buffet.)

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 138

by alexander_686 (#47455779) Attached to: Three-Year Deal Nets Hulu Exclusive Rights To South Park

It is not about opportunity costs, it is about economic surplus.

Consumer surplus is trimmed because consumers now have to pay more - either directly or indirectly.

Supplier surplus is increased as they shift their profits up.

In theory this could might increase total surplus or even total consumer surplus. With increased profits suppliers would supply more shows. Look at the shows that Netflix and Amazon are putting out. Would these shows have been made with these exclusive deals?

"You don't go out and kick a mad dog. If you have a mad dog with rabies, you take a gun and shoot him." -- Pat Robertson, TV Evangelist, about Muammar Kadhafy