Asian PC giant Lenovo has joined the long line of companies that plan to enter the very crowded smartphone market. Is it any wonder? PC sales have fallen through the floor, while smartphone sales have soared. The trouble with the Lenovo plan is that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Samsung and a list of second-tier players have the market for smartphones in a vice. Reuters says of the Lenovo smartphone venture:
China’s Lenovo Group Ltd, the world’s No.2 PC maker, is in detailed discussions on a smartphone venture with NEC Corp, a Japanese partner in PCs whose mobile business is faltering, as it eyes partnerships and acquisitions to expand in high-growth markets.
Lenovo has been aggressively forging deals over the past eight years to gain prominence in PCs, and that strategy is now shifting to smartphones, tablets and enterprise computing as PC shipments decline.
The IMF on France
While discussing the future of France’s financial situation, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) did a bit of bashing of the local government. According to the IMFs France Consultation report:
Amid persistent uncertainty and weakness of economic indicators, we project that the economic recovery will begin to unfold only in the second half of 2013. Real GDP would contract by 0.2 percent in 2013 and grow by 0.8 percent in 2014, with downside risks weighing on the outlook.
As discussed in last year’s report, significant rigidities hinder the economy’s capacity to grow and to create jobs. The gap relative to European trading partners in terms of cost and non-cost competitiveness remains a dampening factor and ultimately a risk for macroeconomic balances. The external environment is also changing rapidly with euro area periphery countries registering large competitiveness gains. A powering up of the reforms launched by the government in the last six months (see below) is needed to close this gap. The structural challenge faced by France is captured by three related indicators: a declining rate of productivity growth, low profit margins, and a deteriorating export performance.
Sprint Gets Desperate
Sprint Nextel Corp.’s (NYSE: S) desperation to hang on to its deal to buy Clearwire Corp. (NASDAQ: CLWR) as it competes against Dish Network Corp. (NASDAQ: DISH) for the prize was showing. The Clearwire deal is part of a larger plan to accumulate spectrum, which is a foundation of the effort by Softbank to take over the number three U.S. wireless provider. Reuters reported on Sprint’s latest efforts:
Sprint Nextel Corp urged Clearwire Corp to reject Dish Network’s rival bid for the wireless service provider, saying that a deal under Dish’s terms would be illegal and violate Clearwire’s agreement with its shareholders.
Sprint, which made its case in a letter to Clearwire’s board on Monday, already owns a majority stake in Clearwire and is tussling with Dish to buy out minority shareholders.
Satellite TV provider Dish offered $4.40 per share for Clearwire on May 29, challenging Sprint’s revised bid of $3.40 per share. The fight over Clearwire, which owns wireless airwaves that both suitors want, is part of a larger drama involving the fate of Sprint.