Did Microsoft Corp. Really Spend More on R and Dlast year than any other company in the world? We thinkso, but we can't be sure. The reason is that roughlyUS $1.3 billion of the software giant's $8 billionR and D outlay was actually paid out as shares of stockto its researchers. At the moment, hardly any companybesides Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft bothers to trackstock or stock options as an R and D expense. The fewthat do account for this expense in widely differentways. But before the end of this year, all companies listed on U.S. stock markets may have to begin figuring stock outlays into their R and D expenses. That would be the result of a new rule proposed by a private sector organization in Norwalk, Conn., called the Financial Accounting Standards Board, which establishes U.S. accounting standards. If the rule is not outlawed by an act of Congress this fall, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will soon require all publicly traded firms to abide by it. The looming … [Read more...] about IEEE Spectrum R and D 100
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Apple's share prices have begun climbing back since Feb. 23, closing Tuesday at US$208.85. It's not yet quite clear why -- it could be the imminent shipping of the iPod or the shareholders' meeting Feb. 25, among other things. Still, investors should take what they can get.They'll have to -- Cupertino isn't about to fork over any dividends soon. The company wants lots of cash on hand for security and so it can make big purchases without having to borrow lots of money, CEO Steve Jobs explained when asked about dividends.Jobs also ruled out stock buy-backs, a stance Broadpoint Amtech analyst Brian Marshall doesn't agree with."At $40 billion of net cash, Apple is underutilizing this asset," he told MacNewsWorld. "They should at least start buying back around $1 billion of stock per quarter."Marshall thinks Apple will continue to buy smaller, private tech companies and integrate them into its infrastructure because it hasn't found a large one that fits its criteria so far.Jobs also … [Read more...] about CUPERTINO BUSINESS REPORT Of the China Market, Cheaper New iPhones and the iPad
People get sick, and back in the Middle Ages they would use leeches and razors to bleed them until they got better (read this to once again be really happy you didn't live in the Middle Ages). The practice didn't work that well -- yet if we look at what we do to sick divisions and companies, it is effectively the same thing. We cut investments, freeze salaries, make layoffs, and shave marketing expenses and then seem fascinated when the firms don't recover.I just finished a review of the Lenovo acquisition of the IBM x86 server division, which IBM thought was unfixable -- much like it thought its PC Company was unfixable -- and damned if Lenovo didn't fix it. To me, this suggests there is a more up-to-date way of fixing firms that has a good chance of turning them around, rather than simply making them sicker.I'll share some thoughts on that and close with my product of the week: an interesting online service that allows people to collect around initiatives they believe in and bribe … [Read more...] about OPINION What If There Were a Hospital for Sick Companies?
This is the second in a three-part series. Part 1 examines how companies can use business intelligence to their strategic advantage. Here, we look at the features and functionality of various systems.Knowledge is power, but without context and imagination, it's just bytes of data, every bit as dark and useless as ignorance itself. "One bank CIO recently told me, 'We had the data, but we did not have the information,'" Boris Evelson, analyst at Forrester, told CRM Buyer in describing the banking industry meltdown.As the country is now in Code Recession red alert, everyone's scrambling to turn data into useful information. The tool du jour is Business Intelligence (BI), and all hands are wielding it with firestorm urgency. "No longer is BI thought of as a black box or a tool that someone with a Ph.D. in math looks after," Kathryn Gramling, global vice president of Corporate Marketing at CAS, told CRM Buyer.But what, really, can BI do to help put out the fire?"What you can do with BI … [Read more...] about Business Intelligence, Part 2: Creativity in Overdrive