What you may have missed:
On Thursday last week, the Nasdaq quietly and inexplicably just stopped trading for three hours. It follows Google’s 5 minute brain-freeze the week before, and Amazon.com’s hiccup on Monday (25 minutes of no online-purchases – gasp – what else are people to do on a Monday?!).
Usually, I’d use this moment to bring up the last major Nasdaq fail: the Facebook IPO. So here it is: The Curious Case of Nasdaq and the FB Losses.
But unlike that last time, when there was an actual reason for things to get out of control (like the largest IPO ever), this was just an ordinary Thursday. It seems like there was some communication issue with someone/something that would have led to traders on the Nasdaq exchange being penalised in favour of traders on more than one exchange.
Mark Shuttleworth AKA Canonical has been plugging his Ubuntu Edge smartphone by trying to break records on how much he could raise for it through crowd-sourcing. And he did break records: both for how much he wanted to raise, and how much he actually raised. Only, in order to make the phone, he needed those records to be approximately equal, and the latter was significantly not equal to the former:
It may have had something to do with the fact that the plan was to create a phone that would function like a lap top. Which seems like an absurd goal – but, in all fairness, what do I know? I thought the iPad was a bizarre idea* – and now I’m a cult follower.
*<insert nasal tone> I have an iPhone and a Macbook – what could I possible need an in-between for?!
The other possible reason: the crowd that was being sourced was being asked to pay significantly more ($830 initially, although that dropped over the course of the campaign) than what the phone would eventually retail for, in return for a technology that is yet to be developed, to suit a concept that no one is quite sure that they need?
Steve Ballmer is retiring within the year.
I’m never quite sure why a CEO resignation is such big news – although I suppose that we investors are a flighty lot, and inclined to question why they’re resigning and who will replace them. Also, new CEOs are prone to airing out laundry and spring-cleaning the non-performing operations to get themselves the lowest possible starting point without actually being fired. So maybe it’s not that surprising that it’s news.
Anyway, there’s going to be a committee to find Steve’s replacement. They’re going to be assisted by executive recruiters Heidrick & Struggles (hilarious!).