THE GOOGLE INVESTOR: Patents, Patents, Patents! Oracle And Now … Lycos?

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GOOG Off With Markets  
Factory orders on the rise, however less than expected, and the auto industry is looking to smash estimates. Shares of GOOG are off. Google will report calendar first quarter earnings on Thursday, April 12th 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 12.9x Enterprise Value / EBIT.

What’s Going On At Google Wallet? (GigaOM)
Rob von Behren, co-founding engineer of Google Wallet is leaving the web giant and joining Square. Ouch. Earlier in the year, Jonathan Wall, another Google Wallet co-founder and his colleague Marc Freed-Finnegan left Google to start Tappmo, a startup focusing on mobile commerce. What’s certain is that Google needs to quickly figure out how it is going to gain traction in a business that is attracting all sorts of competitors, from PayPal to phone companies to Square and even Google’s former employees.

Will Yahoo Torch The Microsoft Deal, Move To Google Or Die Completely? (Search Engine Watch)
The two big rumours keep swirling: Yahoo is discussing a renegotiation of its search and advertising deals with Microsoft, and Yahoo is “in active discussions” with Google about Google taking over Yahoo’s search business. Yahoo and Google have history dating back to 2000 and as recently as 2008. One of the rumours has Yahoo leaving search completely. Nothing is set in stone at this point. Perhaps we’ll learn more on the restructuring next week.

If You Didn’t Think Facebook Was Coming After Google Before, Read This (Bloomberg)
A former Google engineer is leading a team that’s working to improve Facebook’s search engine. Lars Rasmussen, formerly of Google Wave and Google Maps, understands the changing face of search. The blue links aren’t quite the whole picture of what you want on the web anymore. More relevant is what your friends are uploading. Currently, Facebook is leaving that billion dollar market on the table. Could Bing help? Probably, but Bing searches the web and Facebook wants to do something more specific. Nicholas Carlson at Business Insider has a strong opinion about Facebook search. And only one-fourth of you believe Facebook has the talent to take on Google search.

Why Google’s Stock Might Get Completely Crushed (TechCrunch)
Henry Blodget at Business Insider does a great job of summarizing this original post from James Altucher on TechCrunch. Basically, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon created and patented the technology (several aspects of monetizing search, such as using algorithms and click rates to determine which search ads are most relevant) that became Lycos. We all know what happened to Lycos, but the company is being resurrected as a patent troll called Vringo. Altucher says he has read all the relevant patents and believes that Vringo will have a strong case against Google. If that’s the case, Google will likely have to pay up. Do you think this could be a big patent case?

Oracle And Google Going To Trial (BusinessWeek)
Oracle and Google have reached an “irreconcilable impasse” in settlement talks to resolve an intellectual property dispute over the Java programming language and their lawsuit should proceed to trial on April 16. In 2010, Oracle accused Google of infringing patents related to its Java software in the company’s Android mobile software. With a settlement, the companies would avoid the risk of a jury deciding whether Google owes royalties. Good luck!

Will Institutional Investors Dump Large-Cap Tech Going Into Summer? (SeekingAlpha)
Large-cap tech has outperformed the S&P 500 by about 15% during the past several months of the now nearly six-month rally. Since the Nasdaq has heavily outperformed most of the other major U.S. stock indexes since January by double digits, it is likely that many institutions will need to rebalance their portfolios. Additionally, given that technology stocks tend to outperform in the winter months and the summer tends to be a slow season for retail, it makes sense for institutions to trim or reduce the weighting to large-cap tech.

Google’s Russian Search Engine Market Share Stalled (Bloomberg)
Russia’s most popular Internet search engine Yandex, saw its weekly search-market share rise to the highest in 10 weeks, while Google’s portion remained steady, according to data compiled by Liveinternet Yandex’s share of the Russian online search market rose to 59.7% in the week through April 1, the highest since the January. Yandex’s share has averaged 59.5% over the past four weeks. Meanwhile, Google’s four-week average is less than half that at 25.9%.

Google Campus Opens To London’s Tech Startups (Search Engine Watch)
Google and the UK government’s Campus project, located in London’s Old Street, has opened its doors with more than 100 people on site, providing tech startups with mentoring and a free work space. “Campus’s goal is to create a central meeting point for London’s booming tech startup community. East London is emerging as a world-leading entrepreneurial hub, and we’re excited to be a part of it,” said Eze Vidra, Google’s head of campus.

Google’s Drug Money To Go To Law Enforcement Agencies (Various via Scoople)
Remember the money Google forfeited last August to settle a U.S. government investigation into its distribution of online ads from Canadian pharmacies illegally selling prescription drugs to American consumers? Well, the Federal Government has approved a plan to distribute that $500 million. Rhode Island law enforcement agencies that participated in the investigation will receive $230 million, another $100 million will go to Federal agencies, and the remaining $170 million will go to the Department of Justice’s Assets Forfeiture Fund.