What's Important in the Financial World (12/26/2012)


Google Presses Microsoft

Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) has increased its push to take away low-end business customers who use Microsoft Corp.'s (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows products. Google Apps has been available for several years, and it is available free for firms that use less than 20 versions of the email and Docs product. There are now small fees for these that run as little as $50 a year. Businesses apparently are increasingly comfortable with leaving Windows - and saving money in the process. According to The New York Times:

In a recent report, Gartner, the information technology research company, called Google "the only strong competitor" to Microsoft in cloud-based business productivity software, though it warned that "enterprise concerns may not be of paramount importance to the search giant."

Google is tight-lipped about how many people use Google Apps, saying only that in June more than five million businesses were using it, up from four million in late 2011.

China on the Global Economy

China's Institute of World Economy and Politics has turned pessimistic on the world's economy, and its analysts believe that the U.S. fiscal cliff problem could cause a sharp recession that would affect the balance of the world.

The academy's latest report, The World Economy Analysis and Forecast, put global growth for 2013 at 3.5 percent.

The forecast by major international institutions, such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the United Nations, put global growth rates between 3.6 and 4 percent in 2013.

Zhang said the forecast was due to concerns over the "fiscal cliff" in the US, the eurozone crisis and growing trade protectionism.

Year-End Storms

The weather will not much help gross domestic product over the course of the final week of the year. Storms cover about half the nation, and heavy rain, wind and snow are going to keep people off the roads and delayed at airports. The Weather Channel reports:

Severe thunderstorms, either from a continuing squall line or new development, will remain a threat ahead of the surging cold front from southern Virginia and the Carolinas to eastern Georgia and northern and central Florida. Damaging straight-line winds and a few tornadoes are possible. Some tornadoes in the eastern Carolinas may be strong.

Douglas A. McIntyre

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