Week's Winners and Losers: Spying, Poaching, Dishing and Streaming
DISH Network (DISH) -- Winner
In a deal with bigger implications than you may initially think, Disney (DIS) is giving DISH Network rights to stream live and on-demand shows from ABC, Disney and ESPN. This is a truly mobile service, opening the door for DISH to begin offering a standalone Web-based service.
A lot of bigger companies than DISH have tried to talk major networks and broadcasters into similar arrangements, only to be shot down. DISH succeeded because it had a bargaining chip in its ad-skipping Hopper DVR technology. DISH agreed that users of the streaming service wouldn't be able to zap through the commercials for newer Disney shows.
Modell's Sporting Goods -- Loser
Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) is filing a complaint in a New Jersey court after it caught Mitchell Modell -- CEO of rival Modell's -- spying on it. The lawsuit claims that Modell posed as a Dick's executive to gain access to private areas and learn business techniques at Dick's.
If the allegations hold up, Modell's behavior was at the very least unethical, not to mention ironic -- a sporting goods chain's helmsman resorting to such unsportsmanlike conduct. Wouldn't it have been easier to just hire a Dick's executive?
Zillow (Z) -- Winner
Speaking of the right way to pry away information from a competitor, Zillow announced on Wednesday night that it was bringing on a key executive from Realtor.com parent Move (MOVE).
A new position of chief industry development officer is being created for Errol Samuelson, who previously served as president of Realtor.com and Move's chief strategy officer. The beautiful thing about prying away a key employee from another company -- instead of just trying pass yourself off as a rival's insider -- is that it also weakens the competition.
RadioShack (RSH) -- Loser
It's probably not the best idea to spend millions on a Super Bowl commercial -- bragging about how you're updating stores -- only to announce few weeks later that your chain will close as many as 1,100 locations.
That's what happened this week after RadioShack posted brutal results for the holiday quarter, with sales plunging, and the small-box chain posting a larger loss than expected. It will still have 4,000 locations after the purge, but 1,100 underperforming stores on the current chopping block probably won't be the last units to close.
Apple (AAPL) -- Winner
Apple apparently wants your dashboard, too. Apple this week introduced CarPlay -- a platform for automakers that lets iPhone owners interact with their smartphones without taking their eyes off the road. A steering wheel button awakens Siri, which uses Bluetooth to make calls, check incoming voice mails, navigate and stream audio content.
Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Ferrari are introducing CarPlay this week, and more than a dozen other major automakers have signed up to embrace the in-car technology.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Walt Disney and Zillow. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Walt Disney, and Zillow. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.