Opening Bell: 9.17.07

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Microsoft loses EU antitrust appeal (Financial Times)
Ding! After nine years, it's EU 1, Microsoft 0. A court has sided with Neelie Kroes & Co., ruling that Microsoft abused its dominance of the server market, blocking out competition, and thus warranting a fine. The really crazy part is that the court got hung up on the whole Windows Media Player thing, and the fact that it came bundled with Windows. Like, how hard is it do download iTunes or Real or any other media player? Of course, if reality or practicality ever entered into the decision, it would've never gotten this far. Also, Microsoft is probably regretting not having paid the fine years ago, when the exchange rate was more favorable. Hopefully they put the cash in some sort of Euro-denominated account.
Paulson says mkt turmoil will take time to work through but world economy strong (Forbes)
We agree with Hank, but it's like, how much time we talking here? One, two months tops, right? Can't we just solve this and get it over with? Isn't the endgame (total economic collapse) pretty much a formality at this point?
Dow Jones says to launch glossy magazine
Apparently, the world did need yet another magazine targeting the affluent. What, you thought that market was tapped out? Ha. Dow Jones has announced that it will launch "Pursuits" (a WSJ insert) in late 2008, offering advertisers yet another channel to go after affluent readers, as it claims they're demanding (which honestly, we find a little hard to believe; did they really say, "please launch a new magazine, so we can be pestered by ad salesman more aggressively"?). 'Pursuits' is describes as "(a)visually powerful magazine that captures an intimate view of the world of wealth, from luxury goods and travel, to art and investing". Can't wait.
How S&P Protects Integrity of Credit Ratings (WSJ)
Vickie Tillman, VP at S&P, writes into the WSJ in order to defend the company's reputation, denying that there exists any conflict of interest when it comes to their work. As she puts it -- reputation is of utmost importance at S&P, so why would they risk sullying it? You can't argue with logic like that, can you? Also, she claims third party studies have given their blessing to their business model.

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GM Offers Cap on Workers' Health Costs, People Say (Bloomberg)
GM has been in negotiations with the UAW for a while now, trying to dump the onerous healthcare costs that its members pose to the auto company. The company is hoping that the union establishes its own healthcare fund, but of course the UAW has its concerns about such a plan. In order to sway the union, GM is proposing to cap their expenses; so essentially, the UAW healthcare plan would be like one giant catastrophe plan. They'll pay for their own services up to a certain level. As long as everyone just has routine doctor visits (you know, lipitor, viagra, etc.), then they'll cover themselves. If you need open-heart surgery, the costs go to GM. Sounds like it could work.
Scenes from "It's a Wonderful Life 2.0" (Paul Kedrosky)
Wow, there was a real run on the bank at Northern Rock in the UK. At least it would appear so. Paul Kedrosky's got the picture to prove it.
Greenspan Puts Recession Odds Just Above 1 - In - 3 (Reuters)
It's all Greenspan all the time these days. Especially this weekend; man, it was nonstop. Greenspan said this, Greenspan said that. And funny how much more clearly he speaks now that he's no longer the Fed chief. Could you imagine him saying anything as straightforward as "there's a one in three chance of a recession going forward" back when he was the skip? Fat chance. Hopefully, Bernanke is taking notes about his innermost feeling these days, so that he too can write a book when he retires.
Goldman's Global Equity Fund Lost 1.8% at Start of September (Bloomberg)
The fund that Goldman bailed out with $3 billion has lost another %1.8 billion. Not really that dramatic is it? Guess we can it with the hedge fund performance stories for awhile until they start making some real moves again.
Kroger Continues To Expand Its Personal Finance Business (Dow Jones)
The problem for Citigroup is that there's already a financial supermarket -- it's Kroger. While Wal-Mart continues to be stymied in its attempt to become a bank, supermarket chain Kroger has been expanding its financial offerings, selling shoppers on all sort of loans, mortgages and investment vehicles. And while the company isn't seeing enormous profits from the operations (yet), they are bringing more people into the stores. Financial services as a loss leader -- how awesome. Good thing we're doing all we can to nip this trend in the bud.

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