Explaining Southern California's economy

FAQ: Why today's Apple earnings aren't the most important the company has ever reported

Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

Apple reports quarterly earnings on Wednesday. Will they be strong enough to halt a stock price slide that began last year?

There's so much fretting around Apple right now that analysts, commenters, and Apple-ologists are calling today's quarterly financial results that'll hit after the markets close the mother of all earnings reports (Forbes is explicitly calling it that).

Why the high anxiety about the world's most valuable publicly traded company — and the most valuable California company by a substantial margin (Apple: $418 billion market cap; number two Google: $254 billion)? Simple: Analysts suspect that Apple's epic comeback story, from near bankruptcy to a mature company that's printing money with its monumental profit margins, is over. Nothing gold can stay, to borrow a line from a rustic American poet who never would have dreamed of an Age of iPhones but who would probably have been retroactively credited by Apple for his efforts to "Think different."

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Google beats earnings expectations, but for CEO Larry Page, it's all about 'living, learning and loving'

Google Stock Photo

Kimihiro Hoshino/AFP/Getty Images

The Google logo is seen at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. The company beat Wall Street expectations with fourth quarter 2012 earnings.

Google beat Wall Street expectations with its fourth quarter 2012 earnings, reported Tuesday. The company made $14.42 billion and earned $10.65 per share (analysts expected $10.52). The Internet search giant continues to prove that search is a very big business and that there's still growth to be had, even as the Internet transitions from PCs to mobile devices. 

On that: of the $14.42 billion that Google brought in for the quarter, $1.51 billion came from Motorola Mobile, a substantial dip from the nearly $2.6 billion that Google saw in the third quarter. At ZDNet, Larry Dignan finds plenty to be confused about here — and that makes sense, given that Google bought what was then called Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. Dignan says that, sure, the acquisition was all about Motorola's patents. But $12.5 billion to defend yourself from patent trolls? Doesn't Google want to make a business out of mobile devices?

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Space business: Are rocks the next big thing? Deep Space Industries thinks so

Archimedes concept

Bryan Versteeg

Deep Space Industries plans to explore, analyze, mine, and ultimately extract valuable resources from asteroids.

A brand new company called "Deep Space Industries" (DSI) revealed itself on Tuesday to a public that just can't get enough of orbital metallurgy and final frontier that, as we know from numerous James Cameron movies, will be all about taking mining out of earthbound shafts and sending it to the stars! 

The event was held at the Museum of Flying at the Santa Monica Airport and featured the executive and scientific team of DSI laying out the case for a future in which their company uses the abundant raw materials of "near Earth asteroids" (NEAs) to create everything from tools to solar panels to rocket fuel.

The presentation was entertainingly emceed by a long-lost friend of mine, Geoff Notkin, who some years ago moved to Arizona to commit full-time to meteorite hunting and has since starred in a realty TV show, "Meteorite Men," in the process becoming an authority on rocks that have fallen from outer space. 

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Ross Levinsohn used to work for Yahoo, now he works for the guys who own the Dodgers

2011 Families Matter Benefit And Celebration

Michael Buckner/Getty Images For Friends of the

Ross Levinsohn at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2011. The former Yahoo interim CEO was just named non-interim CEO of Guggenheim Digital Media.

Ross Levinsohn now works for the guys who own the Dodgers. The former interim CEO of Yahoo — he was at the shaky helm between the controversial exit of Scott Thompson and the potentially game-changing hire of Marissa Mayer from Google — has been named CEO of Guggenheim  Digital Media.

He replaces Dottie Mattison, who had only been on the job since last July, and will oversee a suite of properties that includes the Hollywood Reporter, AdWeek, and Billboard (all of which, it should be noted, are not purely digital publications). These used to operate under the aegis of Prometheus Global Media, but Guggenheim Partners has taken the opportunity of a marquee hire to rename the company.

Guggenheim Partners did something similar when it bought the Los Angeles Dodgers last year for more than $2 billion, creating an entity called Guggenheim Baseball Management in the process.

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Google's antitrust win and the perfect monopoly on search

Google Opens New Berlin Office

Adam Berry/Getty Images

A visitor uses a cell phone in front of the Google logo. The search giant isn't operating a search monopoly, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

UPDATE: Google offers its own take at the Google blog.

The big news out of Washington on Thursday morning isn't yet another installment in the fiscal cliff melodrama — it's that Google isn't breaking antitrust laws, the Federal Trade Commission concludes.

The investigation zeroed in on the thrumming heart of Google's business, which has rewarded the California tech colossus with a whopping $239 billion market capitalization: search. This is from the New York Times:

Companies that rely on Google to drive traffic to their sites have complained that Google adjusts its search algorithm to favor its own growing number of commerce sites — including shopping, local listings and travel.

But the [FTC] faced an uphill battle in proving malicious intent — that Google changes its search algorithm to purposely harm competitors and favor itself. Antitrust lawyers say anticompetitive behavior cannot be proved simply by showing that a change in the algorithm affects other Web sites and causes sites to show up lower in results, even though studies have shown that users rarely look beyond the first page of search results.

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