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Analyzing Google's most successful acquisitions

california businesses may be interested in some of the successful and unsuccessful acquisitions made by one Silicon Valley giant. Financial experts say that some of these acquisitions have led to increased profit and market reach.

In the last decade, Internet search giant Google has purchased 145 companies, with a total acquisition cost of more than $23 billion. While not all of these have been successes, experts say that three in particular have proven to be smart moves. The most successful acquisition may be YouTube, purchased in 2006 for a $1.6 billion price tag. Reports indicate that the online video site has made Google $5.6 billion just in the last year. In 2005, Google purchased the rights to the Android mobile operating system for $50 million and kept its owner on to lead further development. Just nine years later, Android is the operating system for an estimated 80 percent of the smartphones that will be sold in 2014. Google's 2007 purchase of online advertisement company DoubleClick for $3.1 billion is seen as a successful addition to their display ad reach.

TWC-Comcast merger getting increased scrutiny

The planned merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable is getting extra scrutiny from regulators in California. Officials in the state say that Comcast must prove how the transaction would improve broadband service within the state as well as boost service to low-income people and college students. A review of the proposed merger by state officials is scheduled to be completed by December 2014.

After that review is completed, the Federal Communications Commission will then weigh in as to whether to approve the merger. The FCC started its formal review process in July 2014 and the public comment period is in effect until Oct. 8. In addition to some questions from government regulators, other media companies are not happy with the proposal and want the FCC to not allow it to go through. Dish Network has been one of the more vocal opponents of the deal and claims that it could create a monopoly.

Intellectual property in the food industry

Many business owners and entrepreneurs in California understand how important protecting intellectual property is for maintaining growth. Infringement of intellectual property has been particularly contentious in the food industry, since so many companies sell the same products.

Kellogg has sought legal action against Exxon twice over similarities between their tiger mascots, introduced in the 1950s and 1960s, respectively. Kellogg initially declined to pursue a lawsuit, and Exxon's tiger faded off the market in the 1980s. Years later, the two companies ultimately settled a 1998 lawsuit filed by Kellogg after Exxon brought the tiger back to market its convenience stores. During June 2014, Hershey started filing lawsuits against marijuana dispensaries in Washington and Colorado that were selling products alleged to be knock-offs of their popular brand names and packaging.

Ensuring that all bases are covered in a business continuity plan

California businesses may be interested in information about how to make a business continuity plan more comprehensive and useful. By paying attention to just a few important issues, the utility of the plan can be greatly increased. A business continuity plan exists to provide guidance in the event that there is a large change or disruption in the business environment. There are three main issues that many otherwise-complete business continuity plans fail to address.

The first is the failure to plan for a failure or breach by one of the company's vendors. Vetting the company's vendors for flexibility and resiliency can go far when determining responses to difficult scenarios. Another important aspect of the plan deals with the organization of the plan itself. When disaster strikes, the vital information must be available and ready to use as soon as possible. When a plan is organized according to the various potential scenarios, less work must be done right away to filter out what must be done right away and what is irrelevant in that particular situation.

Disney unable to avoid infringement lawsuit

Investors in California may be affected by an infringement lawsuit Disney has been unable to avoid. A federal judge recently denied Walt Disney Company's motion to have the case dismissed. A woman sued the company for infringement during March 2014, claiming the 'Frozen" trailer featured the same plot as a short movie she had already made and held a copyright on. 'Frozen", the most recent 3D animated movie released by Disney, has already earned more than $1 billion in global revenue.

The plaintiff claims that aside from Disney using different animals for the characters, the plots of the movies seemed to be identical. The U.S. District Judge agreed, asserting that the plots and sequence of events were too similar to conclude that no reasonable juror could perceive similarities of expression and ideas between the two. However, the judge did not agree that other 'Frozen" trailers identified by the plaintiff infringed upon her copyright as well.

Artist seeking royalties in Angry Birds case

California residents may be interested in the story of a woman who claimed that she designed and licensed several Angry Birds designs in 2006 is filing a lawsuit against Hartz Mountain Company. She claims that the company then sold her designs to video game company Rovio, which netted Hartz millions of dollars in profits that were improperly earned from her intellectual property. The suit alleges that her last royalty check from Hartz was in 2011 for $40.66.

According to a five-year licensing agreement signed between the artist and Hartz as quoted in the lawsuit, there was to be no transfer of intellectual property from the artist to Hartz. The suit asks that reasonable royalties be paid to the woman for her intellectual property rights. Although not the subject of the lawsuit, Rovio is named in it, and Rovio has been fighting another legal battle against Young Star Toys & Gifts accusing it of creating knockoffs of the Angry Bird characters.

FCC rules aim to keep phone market competitive in California

Sprint is reportedly ending its pursuit of T-Mobile after regulatory hurdles were deemed too steep to make the deal happen. In June of 2014, Softbank Corp., which owns Sprint, reached an agreement with T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom to buy the company for $40 a share. However, regulators said that the two companies would not be allowed to jointly bid in an upcoming spectrum auction.

The Federal Communications Commission said that it would propose rules banning the two companies from bidding together, which according to reports was the specific factor in Sprint abandoning the deal. Analysts believe that T-Mobile may now be acquired by a European carrier that would be able to help it maintain its position in the lower end of the American cell phone market. Specifically, French company Illiad is reportedly interested in making a deal for 56.6 percent of the company while Dish Network may also be interested in acquiring the company.

Updating a business plan

Business owners in California may want to learn about the different situations that could trigger the need to update a business plan. Although it is rare that the entire business plan will need to be revised all at once, tactics and strategies in the plan should be constantly changed in order for a company to stay relevant with the current market trends.

During business formation, creating a comprehensive plan for a new company is likely to be a difficult task. Because a start-up company lacks experience and historical information, coming up with strategies to make profit could just be guesswork. Updating a plan, however, may prove to be much easier as a company will have the benefits of a track record and experience.

Homebuyers may find it easier to shop online

In the future, California homebuyers may find it easier to locate the home of their dreams using their smartphone. This is because a merger of the two largest online real estate websites is expected to create new synergies. Zillow recently announced that it will acquire its biggest rival, Trulia, for approximately $3.5 billion, making it the largest player in its field. The combined company plans to be the leader in helping homebuyers locate desired property using their smartphones and tablets.

Zillow and Trulia, each founded about a decade ago, are first and second, respectively, in the online real estate market. Together, they have changed the way many homebuyers locate property, moving them away from traditional real estate agents to searching online for homes using any number of search criteria. Over 100 million unique visitors access the two sites monthly. Zillow is famous for its "Zestimate," an estimate of the home's market value derived from public records and user-generated information.

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watkins firm a professional corporation

Watkins Firm, A Professional Corporation
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