Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) is in patent talks with Facebook. The portal claims that the social network has used some of its intellectual property without permission or license fees. Yahoo!’s claims are based on its messaging and news feed technology. A major suit before Facebook’s initial public offering might bring down the value of its shares. As most media outlets covering the negotiations point out, this one in a long line of patent disputes among tech companies. Many of the current battles involve wireless technologies and include such giants as Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG).
A Keystone XL Small Step
What TransCanada (NYSE: TRP) cannot do in one piece, it will try to do in parts. The U.S. government has failed to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada to refineries in Texas. Environmentalists have blocked the project. Now, TransCanada says it will build part of the pipeline. This section would run from storage points in Cushing, Okla., to the Texas refineries. The proposal, if it can be approved, hardly solves the matter of how the balance of the project can be completed with resistance from the Obama administration.
A Pyrrhic Victory for Merkel?
Angela Merkel got the German parliament to approve her plan for the country’s contribution to the bailout of Greece. It was the last major hurdle to completion of the program. But the vote may be the beginning of the end for her administration. It means that, if she is replaced, new leaders may not be as ready to support future bailouts that most Germans oppose. Seventeen members of Merkel’s coalition voted against the bailout contribution.
Spain Misses Target
Spain missed its budget deficit target of 8% of gross domestic product in 2011. European Union leaders had forecast 6%. Spain almost certainly will lose some of whatever confidence was left in its austerity plans. The government will have to reach for more spending cuts. That may make a recovery in the nation’s GDP impossible. Unemployment in Spain is more than 20% and its banks are in trouble, as are the financials of many of its states.
Douglas A. McIntyre