Sunday, May 29, 2011

Can you predict American Idol Results by looking at the interwebs

I must confess. I am a huge Idol fan. I have diligently followed the last 6 seasons. The show has consistently managed high TRPs, increasing user votes and some really creative product placements (remember the Coke glass on the judge's table and the Ford ad). The talent pool is sometimes underwhelming but the judges and the musical guests more than compensate. 
Recently, another season of Idol ended with Scotty Mcreery and Lauren Alaina reaching the finals. We obviously know who won, but the question is can the results be predicted by looking at the opinions and the trends in the interwebs? So let's find out.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Removing IT Policy from your old office blackberry

Note: The following instructions is for information purpose only. You could be violating your corporate security policies by applying it on your active blackberry

So you have an old decommissioned blackberry, and you would like to use it as a spare phone. Follow the below instructions to set your blackberry "free"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Microsoft's acquisition of Skype, an Analyst's puzzle

Merger economics teaches us that the fair value of a target firm is its market value plus "Synergy".  Last September when eBay sold 65% of its stake in Skype, the internet communication company was valued at $2.75 billion. Adding an additional $1 billion that Skype was planning to raise through an IPO, Skype should have been a $4 billion acquisition. Then why did Microsoft pay $8.5 billion? Is the post-acquisition synergy worth $4.5 billlion!

What's even more bewildering is the fact that last year Skype made a nett loss of $7 million on a total revenue of $860 million.  In Microsoft's defence, Skype is a great company to own. Its user base grew 40% last year and the brand is now synonymous to internet telephony. Microsoft instantly gets access to a web property that's as popular as Google, twitter and Facebook. Integrating Skype into both its consumer and enterprise products should create synergy enhancing online collaboration. Along with its Enterprise communication suite Lync, Skype should also work well with their Xbox and Windows Phone platforms.

From a cashflow perspective, Microsoft has over $50 billion oversees, bringing it back would entail US taxes. And historically Microsoft's reinvestment in internal R&D hasn't had great returns. Thus investing in the Luxembourg based Skype is a smart move. But, only if the price was right.

Whatever be the reasons, a $8.5 billion for Skype still does not make sense. One wonders if Balmer got carried away with his vendetta over Google and their initial bid for Skype.What do you think. Do leave your comments.