Explaining Southern California's economy

BlackBerry PlayBook: A tablet disaster

The tablet market is looking like a two-horse race at this juncture. It's Apple's iPad with a huge, market-defining lead, and Amazon's Kindle Fire catching up. The only distinct third option, outside the ill-defined Android context, is Research in Motion with its BlackBerry PlayBook. And that tablet hasn't even come close to meeting expectations. This is from the LA Times:

[PlayBook] numbers are small compared with the sales of competing tablets. RIM said in its statement that it sold about 150,000 PlayBook tablets to retailers in the quarter ended Nov. 26 "and sell-through to end customers, based on RIM's internal data, was higher than this amount."

How does that compare with iPad and Kindle sales? 

Not well. Apple may sell 60 million iPads by the end of 2011. Meanwhile, Amazon may have already sold 2 million Kindle Fires, and may soon sell 2 million more.

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Storify: The Brown tax proposal — and the reaction!

I've been Storifying the euro crisis, so I thought I'd use the tool to capture some Twitter commentary in reaction to California Gov. Jerry Brown's new tax proposal. Were people surprised that Brown wants to dodge the Legislature, raise taxes, and go straight to voters via the ballot initiative process. They were not. The Twitterverse had additional insight, as well.

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter.

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Jerry Brown's tax proposals: Will they solve California's problems?

California Governor Jerry Brown Unveils State Pension Reform Program

Max Whittaker/Getty Images

SACRAMENTO, CA - OCTOBER 27: California Governor Jerry Brown announces his public employee pension reform plan October 27, 2011 at the State Capitol in Sacramento, California. Gov. Brown proposed 12 major reforms for state and local pension systems that he claims would end abuses and reduce taypayer costs by billions of dollars. (Photo by Max Whittaker/Getty Images)

Yesterday, Gov. Jerry Brown laid out his tax proposals for California voters in an open letter at the governor's office website. Brown wants to go straight to the voters, via the ballot initiative process. The plan is fairly simple:

My proposal is straightforward and fair. It proposes a temporary tax increase on the wealthy, a modest and temporary increase in the sales tax, and guarantees that the new revenues be spent only on education. Here are the details: 

• Millionaires and high-income earners will pay up to 2% higher income taxes for five years. No family making less than $500,000 a year will see their income taxes rise. In fact, fewer than 2% of California taxpayers will be affected by this increase. 

• There will be a temporary ½ cent increase in the sales tax. Even with this temporary increase, sales taxes will still be lower than what they were less than six months ago.

• This initiative dedicates funding only to education and public safety—not on other programs that we simply cannot afford. 

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Where iTV fits into Apple's future

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Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Apple Store in Beijing.

It looks as if the next big Apple product will be...big! After moving away from the computer business into the much more portable consumer device and cellphone game with iPods, iPhones, and iPads, the next frontier for Apple is reportedly TV. And not just any TV, but a TV that will, naturally, completely re-invent the whole idea of TV according to Apple's design values.

Felix Salmon has been pondering the "What's Next" question for Apple and comes to an essentially mathematical conclusion:

Today, however, Apple’s market capitalization is $362 billion. If the company invents a new product which is just as successful as the iPod, and which makes Apple just as much money, and which is completely unanticipated by the market, how much should the stock rise? The present value of $25 billion in future profits is still substantial — but even if you put it at $20 billion, that just gooses the share price by 5% or so. If you look at Apple today, the company’s cash in the bank — its liquid assets — is a significantly larger number than the total revenue it’s made from every iPod ever sold.

If you grow to 50 times your previous size, your new products don’t become 50 times more successful. Or even 10 times more successful. Apple, like all companies, has certain economies of scale, and it has millions of people devoted to its ecosystem. But the market isn’t going to give it credit for having a pipeline filled with unknown products that are going to be bigger than the iPod. The iPad will evolve; the Apple TV will get Siri voice control; the computers will get faster and thinner. All of these things will be profitable for Apple — the company’s not going away any time soon.

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Tiger Woods has a brand new bag, but is sponsor FUSE Science really good business?

Chevron World Challenge - Final Round

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

THOUSAND OAKS, CA - DECEMBER 04: Tiger Woods plays a shot to the second green as his caddie Joe Lacava looks on during the final round of the Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club on December 4, 2011 in Thousand Oaks, California. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

US golfer Tiger Woods (L) and his caddie

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

US golfer Tiger Woods (L) and his caddie Joe LaCava (R) discuss matters on approach to the 18th hole on the final day of the Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California, on December 4, 2011. Woods won the Chevron World Challenge on a one-shot triumph in an unofficial 18-man event, his first victory since a 2009 sex scandal shattered his iconic image. Woods had gone 26 starts worldwide without a victory as personal turmoil was followed by struggles on the course with swing changes and, this year, injuries that curtailed his playing time and stalled his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major titles at 14. AFP PHOTO / Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Chevron World Challenge - Final Round

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

THOUSAND OAKS, CA - DECEMBER 04: Tiger Woods pulls a club during the final round of the Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club on December 4, 2011 in Thousand Oaks, California. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Chevron World Challenge - Final Round

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

THOUSAND OAKS, CA - DECEMBER 04: Tiger Woods pulls a club during the final round of the Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club on December 4, 2011 in Thousand Oaks, California. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Chevron World Challenge - Final Round

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

THOUSAND OAKS, CA - DECEMBER 04: Tiger Woods pulls a club during the final round of the Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club on December 4, 2011 in Thousand Oaks, California. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)


After losing numerous sponsors following his SUV-crash-multiple-affairs-rehab-divorce debacle of late 2009, Tiger Woods was reduced to lugging his clubs (well, his caddy was, anyway) in a bag adorned with his own logo, provided by Nike, which looks after the "TW" clothing and equipment brand. Prior to this, he had a bag deal with AT&T that was reported worth "millions." And before that, Woods bag deal was with General Motors; it brought in a reported $7.5 million per year.

A bag deal for the world's most famous golfer had been rumored since Woods returned to competition toward the end of this year. But Tiger formally rolled it out at his own tournament, the Chevron World Challenge, a limited-field event that he — Gasp! — won this past weekend, ending a two-year victory drought. However, the deal is weird. It's with a company called Double Eagle Holdings and its FUSE Science brand.

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