Google Buys JotSpot to Expand Online Document-Sharing Service

October 31, 2006 at 9:49 pm (Companies, Internet, US)

From The Wall Street Journal:


Google Inc. said it acquired closely held start-up JotSpot for an undisclosed sum, a move that could strengthen Google’s expanding services for users to create and share documents online.

JotSpot, exploiting a technology called wikis, provides free and paid services that allow individuals to jointly work on Web-based information such as spreadsheets, photo albums, calendars and contact lists. Google, Mountain View, Calif., has assembled free online word-processing, spreadsheet, email and calendar services that have some similarities with JotSpot’s offerings. Such services could win away some of the consumers Microsoft Corp. is targeting with its Office software.

JotSpot Chief Executive Joe Kraus said his company was happy to join Google because “it’s really clear they are focusing on letting people collaborate and share and work together online.” Google executives are also trying to streamline the number of products the company has, and Mr. Kraus said JotSpot would focus on how to integrate with Google’s existing services.

JotSpot, Palo Alto, Calif., has about 30,000 paying corporate customers at about 2,000 companies. Roughly 300,000 people use JotSpot’s free service, which carries some storage and other restrictions. The company, which received funding from the Mayfield Fund and Redpoint Ventures venture-capital firms, has 27 employees.


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US Newspaper Circulations Slide More

October 31, 2006 at 9:46 pm (Media, US)

From The Wall Street Journal:


Nearly every major U.S. newspaper suffered circulation declines in the past six months, according to the newspaper industry’s twice-yearly report from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the latest confirmation of the difficulties facing the industry as readers flock to the Web and other outlets for news.

Average daily circulation of the 770 newspapers reporting results to the ABC dropped 2.8% on a year-to-year basis during the six months ended Sept. 30, according to an analysis from the Newspaper Association of America, an industry-trade group. The drop in circulation follows a decline of 2.5% during the reporting period ended March 31 of this year and a 2.6% decline in the year-earlier period. Average Sunday circulation at 619 of the country’s newspapers fell 3.4% in the most recent six months, according to the NAA. The circulation figures are preliminary and subject to audit by the ABC.

The circulation report, which comes on the heels of several major publishers reporting weaker ad revenue for the third quarter, is likely to reinforce concerns among investors about the industry’s prospects. Those concerns have prompted some investors to push companies such as Tribune Co. to restructure or put themselves on the market.

Top 20 US Newspaper by circulation:

Newspaper                                             Circulation       Change from Mar-Sept. 2006

1. USA Today                                           2,269,509     -1.30%

2. The Wall Street Journal                    2,043,235     -1.90%

3. The New York Times                        1,086,798      -3.50%

4. Los Angeles Times                             775,766          -8%

5. New York Post                                   704,011         5.10%

6. New York Daily News                       693,382         1%

7. The Washington Post                         656,297     -3.30%

8. Chicago Tribune                                576,132       -1.70%

9. Houston Chronicle                            508,097       -3.70%

10. Newsday, Long Island                    410,579        -5%

11. The Arizona Republic                     397,294         -2.60%

12. The Boston Globe                          386,415        -6.70%

13. The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J.,  378,100     -5.50%

14. San Francisco Chronicle                  373,805       -5.40%

15. Star Tribune of Minneapolis-St. Paul 358,887   -4.20%

16. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution     350,157     -3.50%

17. The Plain Dealer, Cleveland               336,939      -0.60%

18. The Philadelphia Inquirer                  330,622     -7.60%

19. Detroit Free Press                               328,628    -3.60%

20. The Oregonian                                   310,803     -6.80%

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Chinese Court Orders FTSE Xinhua Index Provider To Cancel Contract

October 31, 2006 at 9:33 pm (China, Investment)

From The Wall Street Journal

A Chinese court said FTSE Xinhua Index Ltd. violated a contract with the Shanghai Stock Exchange related to pricing data, but the index provider said the ruling would have no impact on its ability to do business.

The Shanghai Pudong New Area District Court yesterday ordered cancellation of the year-old contract and ordered FTSE Xinhua Index to pay the exchange damages of $20,000, according to Fredy Bush, co-chairman of FTSE Xinhua. Ms. Bush said that her company will appeal the decision, and that in the meantime it has an alternative way to obtain Shanghai stock prices needed to calculate the values of the SGX FTSE Xinhua China A50 Index Futures contract, a product it licenses to trade in Singapore.

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Will TCL Ultimately Withdraw From Europe?

October 31, 2006 at 9:30 pm (China, Companies)

From The Wall Street Journal

TCL Will Produce Fewer Sets in France As Expansion Falters


TCL Multimedia Technology Holdings Ltd. announced plans to overhaul its European television-manufacturing operations — the latest sign of problems with the company’s expansion strategy.

The changes will result in TCL producing fewer TV sets in France and, temporarily, other European countries. Those it produces won’t be sold under its own brand but will be supplied to other companies.

Its deal in 2003 to acquire the European TV business of Thomson SA marked one of the more significant moves by a Chinese company to expand overseas in recent years and left TCL in control of the Thomson brand in Europe and the RCA brand in the U.S.

TCL opened its first factory dedicated to flat-panel TV sets only last year, well behind Sony Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Co. Earlier this year, TCL moved to secure LCDs by forging a supply deal with LG.Philips LCD Co. LCDs are used in the most popular type of flat-panel TV sets.

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U.C. Berkeley Journalism Dean Search

October 27, 2006 at 10:00 am (Berkeley, Media, US)

From Brad DeLong’s Blog


U.C. Berkeley Journalism Dean Search


Dean: Graduate School of Journalism: University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley, invites nominations and applications for the position of Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism. The appointment is effective July 1, 2007.

The School offers a master’s degree program that prepares students for the highest levels of journalism. The School’s purpose is to educate professionals to work in areas ranging from newspapers, magazines, and television to documentary film, radio, photography, and new media.

The dean provides academic, intellectual, professional, and executive leadership; maintains a collegial environment conducive to excellence in teaching, research and journalistic integrity; and takes a leadership role in raising funds and promoting relationships with alumni and the profession.

Applicants for this position should demonstrate an accomplished journalistic record consistent with a position in a news organization of recognized excellence. Top candidates will have a record of demonstrated leadership and administrative skills. Teaching experience is desirable but not required. The Dean may hold a professorship in the Graduate School of Journalism.

Nominations or applications will be given prompt consideration if received by December 31, 2006, but earlier submissions are strongly encouraged.

Applications should contain a letter of interest, detailed resume, and the names of at least three professional references. Nominations should include complete contact information, through either print or electronic means. Nominations or applications should be sent to:

Chair, Journalism Search Committee

University of California, Berkeley

109 California Hall

Berkeley, CA 94720-1500

Electronic submissions are encouraged and should be sent to:

This is a sensitive position and subject to a criminal background check.

As a member of this search committee, I find myself at sea. Here is one question, addressed to all journalists:

What skills would you think you needed to learn immediately if you were starting in journalism right now?

Here’s a second question, addressed to everybody:

What does a good Graduate School of Journalism look like early in the 21st century?

Here’s a third, Berkeley-specific question:

Berkeley has no fewer than four bureaucratic organizations that seem to be headed for the same place or at least overlapping places:

UC Berkeley School of Information.

UC Berkeley School of Journalism.

UC Berkeley Center for New Media.

UC Berkeley Mass Communications Major.

Should all four of these be merged? Should we search for a Journalism School dean who could–if things develop in such a way–be dean of such a merged enterprise?

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US GDP at the Slowest Growth in More Than 3 Years

October 27, 2006 at 9:28 am (Economics, US)

Even the Fed holds the interest rates stable, the economy growth still slows to the lowest, mostly driven my the shrinking investment on property. Investment on homebuilding fell by the largest since 1991.

Depending on the inflation rate and the unemployment rate, the Fed might have to consider to act on the opposite direction–raise the rate to avoid a possible stagflation.


From AP

Stocks fell Friday after the Commerce Department reported that the economy grew at the slowest pace in more than three years.

While investors expected the reading on gross domestic product would show growth to be slowing, the report stirred concern that a cooling in the housing market would spill over into other parts of the economy.

The GDP, the broadest measure of the economy, showed growth slowed to 1.6 percent in the third quarter; economists had been expecting a 2.1 percent expansion. The report identified the slowing housing market as a significant drag on growth, as money pumped into homebuilding fell by the largest amount since 1991.

“The fact that there is a moderate pullback tells you that the overall market risk is not extreme,” said Subodh Kumar, chief investment strategist for CIBC World Markets, referring to the strength of the market’s ability to digest the GDP news.

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The Discipline Inspection Committee’s Report on Shanghai Corruption and Chen Liangyu

October 26, 2006 at 4:14 pm (China, Politics)

From My CDT Post


According to sohuxiaobao blog, the Central Committee for Discipline Inspection recently submitted to the central Party leaders the fourth report on Shanghai corruption Investigation.

The report said the committee found 1322 inappropriate accounts (including 355 foreign-currency accounts), with savings amounting to 98,643 million yuan. Those accounts were owned by some Shanghai party officials, government officials, and their spouses and relatives, and were under pseudonyms.

The report said Chen Liangyu, together with his spouse and relatives, owned 53 accounts (9 of them are foreign-currency accounts), which were also under pseudonyms. Chen’s deposits in those accounts were as much as 274.1 million yuan.

The report said Chen Liangyu and his spouse and relatives owned nine houses and three companies in Shanghai. They also held 25 passports, 17 of them were under pseudonyms. The committee also found 19 flight tickets to Europe, Australia, and other countries. Those business-class tickets were for whole year travel.

The report also said Chen Liangyu had improper relationships with 11 women (some of them were married) in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Nantong, and other cities. Between September of 2001 and October of 2002, Chen was sued four times for swindles and rapes. Chen privately settled those cases with economic compensations (as much as 500,000 yuan), job offers, and project contracts.

-Click here to read more (Chinese)

-Also read CDT post The Aftershocks of the Shanghai Political Earthquake

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Ex-Chief of G.E. May Want Newspaper

October 25, 2006 at 10:15 pm (Media, US)

From The New York Times:


Ex-Chief of G.E. May Want Newspaper

By Andrew Ross Sorkin


Some retired executives take up golf or gardening. John F. Welch Jr., the former chief of General Electric, has been looking into what would be a far less relaxing pursuit: running a newspaper.

Mr. Welch and Jack Connors, the co-founder of the Boston advertising firm Hill Holliday, are exploring the possibility of making an offer to buy The Boston Globe from The New York Times Company, according to people briefed on the plan.

Mr. Welch is not the only multimillionaire thinking of becoming a newspaper baron. David L. Geffen, the music impresario and a co-founder of DreamWorks SKG, and Eli Broad, a real estate developer, have explored making bids for The Los Angeles Times. Robert C. Embry Jr., president of the Abell Foundation in Baltimore, has made repeated efforts to buy The Baltimore Sun. David Chase has expressed interest in The Hartford Courant. All three of those papers are owned by the Tribune Company.

But newspapers, perhaps the ultimate trophy asset even as the industry appears to be in a free fall, may be too much even for previously successful business executives.

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Lenovo Hunting for Brand Exposure, Using NBA

October 23, 2006 at 7:51 pm (China, Companies)

From The Wall Street Journal, Lenovo is now scrambling to borrow exposure from NBA. Unfortunately, brand is not something that NBA can bring to Lenovo, brand is a long time accumulation of, most importantly, quality and reliability. Even if everybody hear about Lenovo, still few will buy Lenovo computers. Considering Lenovo’s dire profit margin, this marriage with NBA can only pull Lenovo to the red.


Lenovo Signs Deal With the NBA In Bid to Build Brand Awareness


By Jane Spencer

Chinese computer maker Lenovo Group Ltd. signed a multi-year marketing partnership with the National Basketball Association, as the company takes steps to build global brand awareness.

The deal comes as Lenovo is in the early stages of weaning itself of the IBM brand name. Last year, Lenovo emerged as the world’s third largest personal-computer maker behind Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc., after purchasing International Business Machines Corp.’s PC division for $1.25 billion.

As part of the deal with IBM, Lenovo earned the right to use IBM’s brand name until 2010 on its products. But the company isn’t allowed to use IBM’s name in marketing campaigns. As a result, the company is ramping up its efforts to build Lenovo’s name recognition in the U.S. and Europe, where most consumers are still far more familiar with the IBM name. Outside of China, more than 80% of Lenovo products still carry the IBM brand name.

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China Posts Rules on Index Futures

October 23, 2006 at 7:31 pm (China, Economics, Investment)

From The Wall Street Journal, China Posts Rules on Index Futures


The China Financial Futures Exchange published draft rules on stock-index futures on its Web site, setting a minimum-access threshold that analysts said could deter some investors.

Under the draft rules, each investor would deposit funds equivalent to 8% of the value of the derivatives contract, which analysts said would put the minimum threshold at about 34,400 yuan, or about $4,350.

The rules also stipulate that a single investor can hold no more than 2,000 lots of single-month futures contracts at one time.


According to the draft rules, published yesterday for public comment, China’s first stock-index futures will be based on a unified index that groups 300 large-capitalization stocks on both the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges. The rules also stipulate that the price of stock-index futures can’t rise or fall by more than 10% in one day from the previous close.


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