THE GOOGLE INVESTOR: Hollywood Still Not Happy, Here Comes The $1 Billion YouTube Lawsuit

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GOOG Sliding In Rocky Market  
Stocks are mixed in early trading after four days of declines heading into earnings season. Shares of GOOG opened in the positive but are currently sliding in the red. Google will report calendar first quarter earnings on Thursday, April 12 at 4:30pm ET. Investors continue look for Android momentum in the smartphone and tablet markets worldwide, especially with the Motorola acquisition integration; regaining ground in China; resurgence of Google TV; and continued growth of YouTube; expansion of social network Google+; and progress in other newer initiatives (location-based services, mapping, gaming, daily deals, Google Wallet, Google Music, etc.). The stock trades at approximately 12.5x Enterprise Value / EBIT.

Hollywood Still Not Happy With Google… (The New York Times)
Google is attending this year’s annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner and Hollywood is anything but excited about their presence. Google’s Eric Schmidt is a fresh face on this year’s guest list, but many show business executives are perturbed that the executive chairman plans to appear. Google representative Ms. Min reminds us that five major studios have formal streaming contracts with Google’s video-sharing platform YouTube. “The policy disputes that have made headlines don’t reflect the day-to-day working relationship between Hollywood and Silicon Valley,” contended Ms. Min.

…And Here Comes The $1 Billion Appeals Case (Reuters)
A U.S. appeals court dealt Google a major defeat by reviving lawsuits by Viacom, the English Premier League and various other media companies over the use of copyrighted videos on Google’s YouTube service without permission. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a June 2010 lower court ruling in favour of YouTube, which had been considered a landmark in setting guidelines for websites to use content uploaded by users. Viacom, in a statement, said the appeals court “delivered a definitive, common sense message to YouTube: intentionally ignoring theft is not protected by the law.”

Larry Page’s Manifesto By Statistics (Business Insider)
Larry Page issued a novel of a manifesto last week to Google employees. The most exciting part were the stats. While most of them have been shared before, but it’s helpful to have them all in one place:

  • Google+ has more than 100 million active users
  • Android has 850,000 activations per day
  • Chrome has 200 million users
  • Gmail has 350 million users
  • YouTube has 800 million monthly users
  • Mobile advertising is at a revenue run rate of $2.5 billion (as of third quarter 2011)
  • Advertising payouts to partners is more than $30 billion

The point: Google has built products that people love. The money will follow.

Google’s Terminator Glasses Could Show Up As Early As June (eWeek)
The wearable augmented-reality glasses developed by Google’s Project Glass team could show up at the company’s annual developer-focused conference, the I/O event in June, according to a research note from Global Equity Research. The glasses created a media sensation when Google unveiled a short video and Google+ page for them last week and Sergey Brin was spotted in sporting the specs. The glasses have sparked a debate over the usefulness of the technology, with some technology analysts questioning whether people really want a constant stream of information in their face and if Google is turning into Microsoft. Here’s who could really use the glasses.

Blackberry Executive Calls Android A “Cesspool” (9to5Google)
Blackberry Playbook users have been able to sideload Android apps for those who have not been updated with native versions for RIM’s tablet. As noted in a recent report from CrackBerry, Vice President of Developer Relations at RIM Alec Saunders announced that the feature is being removed and an alternative solution for developers is on the way. He noted, “Privacy is a huge problem for Android devs, and we don’t want to duplicate the chaotic cesspool of Android market.”

Google Co-Branding To Bring To Market 7-Inch Tablet (eWeek)
Two-and-a-half years after failing with its first connected smart device, Google is doing it again. This time with a tablet. This one will be a co-branded Android tablet with Asustek Computer of Taiwan. Google has come a long way since it launched its first Android consumer device, the Nexus One, with HTC back in January 2010, in its first attempt to compete with the Apple iPhone. A major issue with its sales was that the Nexus One was made available only via online order, and not in retail stores. The 7-inch Ice Cream Sandwich tablet is expected to become available near the end of this summer. Will you buy the lower-priced Google tablet over the iPad?

A Major Non-Google Android Smartphone Coming This Year (Technology Review)
Skyhook Wireless CEO Ted Morgan claims that a “major” non-Google Android smartphone will be released at the end of this year. The handset will reportedly be based on the Android operating system, however it will not be controlled by Google, similar to Amazon’s Kindle Fire. “I’m spending a lot of time with companies forking Android,” Morgan said. “Nobody wants to just be a manufacturer for Google. You see that with what Amazon has done, where they made it their own, and you also see a whole host of manufacturers taking Android down their own path.”

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