Monday, June 11, 2007

Paperstand (GOOG vs. MSFT intensifies; GE and MSFT for DJ; BCS; AAPL)

According to the WSJ, Google (GOOG) has told state and federal antitrust authorities that Microsoft’s (MSFT) Vista puts rivals at a disadvantage in violation of Microsoft's antitrust settlement. Google's complaints center on desktop search. In a roughly 50-page white paper sent to the DoJ and state attorneys general in April, Google alleged that the latest version of Windows OS makes it hard for consumers to use rival desktop-search applications provided by Google and others. The white paper followed discussions Google had for more than a year with govt officials about the matter.

The WSJ reprots that General Electric (GE) and Microsoft were in discussions in recent weeks to combine Dow Jones (DJ) with some portions of GE's NBC Universal, parrying a bid by News Corp., but the two sides couldn't reach an agreement. Before the idea was abandoned, GE and Microsoft were discussing a competing $60-a-share offer. One consideration for GE appears to be concern that the unsolicited bid by Rupert Murdoch's co to buy Dow Jones for $60 a share, or about $5bn, could help News Corp.'s efforts to field a television financial-news channel that would compete with GE's CNBC.

The WSJ reports that New York hedge-fund firm Atticus Capital has acquired shares of Barclays (BCS) and met with the bank to discuss whether it should drop its effort to buy ABN Amro (ABN). According to ppl familiar with the situation, Atticus has told Barclays officials that Barclays stock is undervalued and that if the bank dropped its bid, Barclays stock would rise.

According to the WSJ, Apple (AAPL) is in talks with the Hollywood studios to make new movies available for rental for its iTunes service. The rental service is being pitched aggressively by Apple, with titles to rent for $2.99 for a set number of days before expiring. It is unclear which studios might participate. The service is far from a certainty with several details to iron out.

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