GLOBAL TECH WRAP: Dell sale gets closer; Google wins $1m print ad competition

Michael Dell
Dell 12-month Nasdaq performance (S&P Capital IQ; click to zoom)
Dell all-time Nasdaq performance (S&P Capital IQ; click to zoom)

In a highly-anticipated press conference  to address gun violence, President Barack Obama called for the US government's Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to renew scientific inquiry into the relationship between “video games, media images, and violence," and urged Congress to support a bill that would grant the organization $10 million to conduct this new research, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NBR recalls the US, and human civilization as a whole, was pretty violent before video games became popular in the 1980s. Still, spend away ...

Dell is looking to sell to private equity investors Silver Lake Partners for $US13-$US14 a share, the Wall Street Journal says in From PC King to Buyout Fodder. Many have noted that delisting from the Nasdaq would free Michael Dell from shareholders' short-term thinking. Against this, the Journal reminds readers a leveraged buyout (LBO) deal can pile a lot of debt onto the company being acquired.

Investors weren't buying the $US13-$US14 figure. Dell shares [NAS:DELL], which enjoyed a 14% run-up when Bloomberg broke news of the deal Tuesday NZ time, were down 4.94% to $US12.52 in late trading, valuing the world's third largest PC maker (after HP and China's Lenovo) at $US21.7 billion (well off its $US140 billion high during the dotcom boom).

Dell began in its namesake's college dorm room. The company diversified into areas such as storage, networking and IT services as the PC market slowed, but has faced tough competition in increasingly commoditised markets, and made only tepid moves into the fast growing smartphone and tablet markets.  In the third quarter of 2012, Dell's profit slipped 47% against the year-ago quarter to $US475 million on revenue that fell 11% to $US13.7 billion. PC sales accounted for roughly half of revenue.

US network CBS will let viewers decide the ending of a Hawaii 5-0 episode, reports Mashable. The episode involves the killing of a teacher. Tweeters will vote for one of three suspects. And they'll vote twice - once when the programme screens east coast time, and once when it screens west coast time. The episode airs next Tuesday NZ time.

A decision by iiNet, Australia’s third-largest ISP to pull out of controversial secret talks with the content industry over Internet piracy issues has attracted international attention, with global commentators and readers highlighting the ISP’s approach as a sensible one to dealing with litigious film and TV studios. iiNet is NZ ISP Orcon's technology partner in the product marketed as the Genius phone on this side of the Tasman, and Kordia NZ/Orcon boss Scott Bartlett is close to iiNet CEO Michael Malone.

The Obama White House drew praise for its in-joke filled response to a petition for the US government to build a Death Star. But behind the scenes, the administration has perhaps lost patience with Star Wars fans. It has now quadrupled the number of signatures required for a White House response to 100,000 (The Verge).

Facebook investors have had a muted reaction to yesterday's launch of a social search tool that will take on Google. Shares [NAS:FB], which dipped yesterday during the lauch, were down 0.66% in late trading today. 

OH IRONY DEPT: Google has won a $US1 million competition held by Gannett Publishing to come up with the most creative print ad, reports the New York Times. The prize is display advertising in US Today. The competition was designed to reanimate interest in print.

ABOVE: Google's winning print ad.

Poytner describes the artwork as "first paragraph of a newspaper story about the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. Via deft copy-editing marks, the ad shows how visa problems preventing a meeting between the two could have been solved by using a Google Hangout."

The industry site adds, "There's something pretty uncomfortable about the Google unit that created Google News winning this thing, right? After all, Google earned more than the entire newspaper industry in 2011."

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