EU hopes to solve dispute
The EU’s trade chief yesterday expressed confidence that Brussels and Beijing could reach agreement in a trade dispute on tariffs the union imposed on Chinese solar panels. “I trust that we can come to a solution in the coming days or coming weeks,” EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said at a press conference after talks with Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng (高虎城). The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, this month imposed an average tariff of 11.8 percent on solar panel imports from China — rising to 47.6 percent on Aug. 6 if there are no negotiations based on a Chinese commitment to address the problem.
Softbank wants to be No. 1
The flamboyant founder of Japanese telco Softbank, which is close to a US$21.6 billion takeover of US firm Sprint Nextel, yesterday added a new goal to his lofty agenda: creating the world’s biggest company. Masayoshi Son told Softbank’s upbeat annual meeting that he is aiming to turn what is now Japan’s third-largest telecom company into a global behemoth that outpaces the likes of ExxonMobil, JPMorgan and Apple. “We will become the world’s No. 1 company at any cost — in terms of profit, cashflows and stock value,” the 55-year-old telecom billionaire said. Softbank ranks 113th in the world, according to Son’s PowerPoint charts.
Yahoo acquires Tumblr
Yahoo said on Thursday it had completed a billion-dollar deal taking over the popular blogging platform Tumblr, a move aimed at bringing more youthful users into the company’s orbit. “We’re excited to announce that our deal to acquire Tumblr has closed — it’s official,” Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer said. “As promised, Tumblr will continue to operate as a separate business, led by David Karp as CEO. Their product roadmap, their team and tone will all remain the same, as will their mission to empower creators and curators alike to do what they love best: create.” With the takeover, Yahoo redesigned its corporate blog, which is integrated in Tumblr.
Video added to Instagram
Facebook is adding a video service to its popular photo-sharing app Instagram, following in the heels of Twitter’s growing video-sharing app, Vine. Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom says users will be able to record 15-second clips by tapping a video icon on the app. They can also apply filters to the videos to add contrast, make them black-and-white, or different hues. Vine, which launched in January, has 13 million users. Instagram has 100 million users, up from 20 million when Facebook bought the company more than a year ago. If users like it, Facebook’s move could propel mobile video sharing into the mainstream.
Oracle results found wanting
Oracle is still having trouble closing enough business software deals to keep Wall Street happy. The quarterly results announced on Thursday could escalate investors’ fears about Oracle’s ability to adapt to the changing demands of its customers. The stock fell nearly 3 percent after the release of results. The company earned US$3.8 billion, or US$0.80 per share, in its fiscal fourth quarter. That represented a 10 percent increase from income of US$3.5 billion, or US$0.69 per share, at the same time last year. However, revenue remained unchanged from the same time last year at US$10.9 billion.