What's Important (2/21/2013)

Oil pipeline
Oil pipeline

PlayStation 4 Launch

Is the release of the Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) PlayStation 4 (PS4) enough to turnaround the aging consumer electronics firm? No. The console is the first major overhaul in seven years. During those years, the entire landscape of the sector has changed. Perhaps least among those changes recently are new products from Nintendo and constantly upgraded versions of the Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) Xbox, which now has more features than can be counted. The entire console business has been quickly crushed by the use of tablets and smartphones as console-equivalent devices. Games can be downloaded to these in the flash of an eye over WiFi or 4G. As the number of these devices continues to grow by the tens of millions each year, the hurdle for a new product from Sony has grown phenomenally higher. Even if the PS4 is a modest success, most of the balance of Sony's electronics businesses are in a shambles. Sony did not even bother to show the physical device at the launch, some measure of how poorly run the company is.

Boston Globe For Sale

One more major city daily has gone on the market, as publishers across the nation try to salvage the prospects of the biggest newspapers. The Boston Globe will be dumped by The New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT). Evercore Group will market the property. The Globe cannot have much of a future. It has not had the kind of success that the Times itself has had selling online subscriptions and has only 28,000. Daily circulation of the paper is only 230,000. Advertising revenue is still falling, and online ads have not made up for that. Several other large city dailies are for sale, among them the Tribune company's Chicago Tribune and LA Times. Some national publishers have tried to solve the problem of dropping print revenue by cutting the publication of the physical paper to three or four days a week. In rare cases like Ann Arbor, parent Advance closed the paper completely. Publishers still hope to increase traffic to their websites, but the evidence that big city online visits continue to grow quickly is rare. Someone will buy the Globe, but that does not mean it can be turned around.

A 787 Dreamliner Fix

Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) thinks it can fix the battery problems on the 787 Dreamliner. The trouble has kept the plane out of service for a month, and delayed deliveries of those supposed to be sent to airlines around the world. According to The Wall Street Journal:

Boeing Co. said on Friday is expected to launch a formal plan to get its grounded Dreamliner back into service, presenting fixes aimed at reducing fire hazards from the jetliner's batteries, according to people familiar with the details.Senior Boeing executives are scheduled to meet with top officials from the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington to discuss the proposed 10-point package, emphasizing changes to the guts of the plane's lithium-ion batteries along with a new protective fireproof container, these people said.The move reflects Boeing's push to get the aircraft safely back into the air even though investigators in the U.S. and Japan so far have failed to trace the root cause of battery meltdowns on a pair of 787s that prompted a world-wide grounding of the jets in mid-January.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Market Open Tagged: BA, MSFT, NYT, SNE