Google facing European competition inquiry

The European Union (EU) has accused Google of abusing its market position to distort Internet search results, in favour of its Google Shopping service.  The European Commission has sent a Statement of Objections to Google outlining its view that Google users do not necessarily see the most relevant results in response to search queries – to the detriment of consumers and rival comparison shopping services, as well as stifling innovation. The case is the first time that antitrust charges have been ...

Mergers and Acquisitions Boom

2014 is on track to be the biggest year for global mergers and acquisitions in a decade. The corporate world is in the midst of a grand shopping spree. Over $2 trillion of corporate mergers and acquisitions have already been announced so far this year; 44% higher than in the same period last year.By June, there had been $786 billion worth of mergers and acquisitions in the United States, not far off from the total for all of 2007, the ...

Firms look to spend their money as economies come out of recession

During recessionary times, firms will normally hold back from investments, especially as demand falls. With most major economies worldwide showing the early stages of a recovery and confidence levels among businesses and consumers increasing, large firms are beginning to review their growth options for the next few years. Growth strategies available for firms include external growth through mergers and acquisitions. In the US, merger and acquisition activity in the oil-and-gas industry has reached the highest first-quarter deal volume in more than ...

Is the long tail wagging the dog?

Retailers are ruthless organisations. They set demanding revenue and profit targets for the goods they are prepared to display on their shelves; as a consequence big brands dominate their offering. Small firms, with limited ranges find it difficult to break the stranglehold of the major manufacturers. However, many industrial commentators expect the Web to revolutionise our culture and wildly expand our choices. Online stores are able to take a distinctly different approach to the products they offer, with digital technology ...

Crowds move from surfing to sourcing to financing

Small may be beautiful as E.F. Schumacher once said, but it is normally more expensive. How can smaller firms challenge the goliaths in any market, such as Apple and Samsung, when resources required for research and development are so significant and where large firms gain from substantial economies of scale? Mass production methods create cheap goods and, with automation and robotics, standardisation is no longer the automatic downside.  So what is the solution for a new, or innovative, firm wanting ...

The Dimension Revolution

In previous posts I have spoken about the potential impact of nanotechnology. However, creating machines smaller than the size of a molecule has often been hindered by issues with power sources. Engineers have invented many miniaturised devices, such as medical implants, but the batteries to power them have been larger than the devices themselves, making them unusable. However, the revolution in 3D printing has allowed manufacturers to produce batteries smaller than the width of a human hair with the power to ...

Has the news of the death of the high street been greatly exaggerated?

Over the last couple of months three major UK retailers have gone into administration; Comet an electrical retailer with 240 stores nationwide and 6,895 employees, Jessops a camera supplier with 187 stores and 1370 employees and this week HMV an entertainment retailer with 285 stores and 4350 employees. The three chains have a long history and much in common, in that they were badly managed and their businesses were undermined by the increase in online sales. HMV opened its first ...