July 13, 2005

Bizzy’s Biz Links of the Day (071305)

One good thing about blogging about business and personal finance is that, unless they begin careers as personal finance specialists or become wildly successful entrepreneurs, I don’t have to type the names K _ _ _ R _ _ _ , J _ _ W _ _ _ _ _ , or V _ _ _ _ _ _ P_ _ _ _ if I don’t want to. And I really don’t want to. (If you somehow don’t know who these three people are, trust me, you’re better off not knowing.)

Here are some business and personal finance items I’ve noted, and which you should be aware of:

  • A great USA Today piece on Cyber Mules–people who unwittingly help organized crime by getting involved in “repackaging” business opportunities and similar “home business” schemes. Folks, if it sounds too good to be true (or legal), it is.
  • Advanced Micro Devices’ suit against Intel is being spun by most as a sour-grapes exercise. Read this piece and you will at least begin to doubt conventional wisdom:

    So much of what AMD claims is patently obvious. Intel’s been busted in the U.S. for anti-competitive dealings with AMD. Magazine columnists and Japan’s Fair Trade Commission were competent to handle the follow-up. Who the hell is minding the store in California (where the previous judgment against Intel was rendered) and Washington? AMD should not be the plaintiff here; it should be the government. But now that AMD has stepped to the plate, being left to shoulder this alone would bring shame to the agencies trusted to keep track of those with a history of misconduct.

    With or without the backing it deserves, AMD’s filing will shake things up. The complaint rightly compares Intel’s behavior with that of Standard Oil. Intel’s behavior is closer to that of one time anti-trust convicts AT&T, Kodak and IBM.

    Read the whole thing. As cheap as chips and the computers they power are, it would appear that they should be cheaper.

  • China’s heavyhanded changes to its online infrastructure, with the help of American high-tech companies like Microsoft and Cisco, are leading some to believe that we may end up with multiple or balkanized Internets, and all of the inefficiencies that would would accompany such a development (plus an impenetrable police state as a “bonus”), in the not-too-distant future (HT RConversation).UPDATE: Well, imagine that. People still defect from The Peoples Paradise.

    UPDATE 2: Well, imagine that again. The Chinese government can’t be trusted to honor its business “deals” with foreign broadcasters (WSJ link requires paid subscription):

    BEIJING – China on Wednesday tightened controls on its television and radio stations, announcing a ban on forming partnerships with foreign broadcasters to operate channels.

    The measure represents a step back from more liberal rules unveiled late last year in an effort to open China’s media market.

    Chinese broadcasters also are barred from leasing channels to foreign companies, according to a notice posted on the Web site of the government’s television regulator. It said the rule took effect July 7.

    Some foreign companies such as Viacom Inc.’s Nickelodeon have formed joint ventures with Chinese partners. Others sell blocks of programming, while a small group including a Chinese-language channel owned by News Corp.’s Hong Kong-based Star Group have been granted rights to broadcast to small areas of the mainland.

    It wasn’t clear how those arrangements might be affected.

    There is no rule of law in China, only rule by fiat dressed up to look respectable. (HT Hugh Hewitt).

  • Speaking of China (which BizzyBlog has spoken of before, and often), here is a good article that lists strategic reasons not to allow CNOOC, which is 70% owned by the Chinese government, to buy Unocal.
  • Hollywood finally breaks its slump, technically (but not after considering the past year’s 2%-plus inflation):

    According to the Web site Boxofficemojo.com, 115 films this year generated $148.9 million in sales, barely beating the $148.2 million produced by 110 films last year by 0.5%.