This Week's Winners & Losers: Amazon Calls, Corinthian Falls
YouTube -- Loser
Billboard is reporting that Google's (GOOG) popular video-sharing website may be about to pull videos from a raft of indie bands. We're not talking about pirated tracks that were uploaded to the site illegally. These are the videos posted by legitimately by the musicians and their labels -- and they account for 10 percent of the music that YouTube has rights to feature.
Seems that YouTube is getting ready to finally introduce a music subscription service, and if it hasn't been able to strike a music streaming deal with an artist, it doesn't want to give folks an incentive to sidestep its brand-new premium platform and just stream tracks for free off the site.
This could get hairy: The list of indie artists at risk includes some biggies like Adele, Arctic Monkeys, and Vampire Weekend.
Amazon.com (AMZN) -- Winner
As expected, Amazon dove headfirst into the smartphone market on Wednesday with the debut of the Fire smartphone. The leading online retailer's hoping to raise the bar with features including unlimited photo storage, Firefly media identification, Mayday video support, and Dynamic Perspective that uses four cameras to provide a cutting-edge display that adapts to where the viewer's face is at any time.
As a cherry on top, Amazon is offering Fire buyers 12 months of Amazon Prime for a limited time. Folks already paying for Prime -- and there are now tens of millions of them -- will get 12 months tacked on to their current memberships. That's a $99 value, making the device more affordable (and considering that Amazon priced it at about what an iPhone 5s goes for, some form of discount is a wise idea), but it also connects the owner directly into Amazon's lavish ecosystem.
Washington Redskins -- Loser
Dan Snyder has a problem. He owns an NFL team whose name is a racist slur against Native Americans. And while he insists that keeping the moniker is the best decision to maintain its decades-long tradition, it will become harder to hold that line in the future.
In a surprising ruling by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, the team's trademark for its Redskins name has been revoked on the grounds that it's disparaging to Native Americans. The loss of the trademark doesn't mean the team will have to change its name right away, but if the ruling sticks it will make it that much harder for the team to go after makers of unauthorized goods bearing its name.
It might have appeared Snyder had caught a break last month when the eyes of those looking to get racism out of sports turned away to follow Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling after his racist remarks. However, with the NBA getting tough and forcing Sterling to sell his team, the unflattering spotlight can turn back to the NFL, where Snyder has new financial considerations to weigh against the question of "tradition."
Tesla Motors (TSLA) -- Winner
It was a good week for the maker of high-end electric cars. Tesla stock jumped early in the week on reports that it would be teaming up with Nissan and BMW on charging stations and a charging standard. That was followed by a state bill passing in New Jersey that will allow up to four Tesla stores to open in the state where the company will be able to sell directly to consumers.
Later in the week, it was Morgan Stanley chiming in with some high praise, calling Tesla "arguably the most important car company in the world."
Corinthian Colleges (COCO) -- Loser
When it comes to for-profit secondary educators, it seems as if Corinthian Colleges may be flunking out. The stock lost more than two-thirds of its value on Thursday after it revealed that it may have to shut down after the U.S. Department of Education moved to limit its ability to access federal student loans and grants.
Corinthian Colleges has seen its enrollment shrink to just 75,000 students, and failing to provide student data to federal regulators isn't going to make the grade. For-profit education companies have been struggling in general due to iffy retention and student loan payback rates, as the government considers cutting off federal funds altogether to for-profit schools with high percentages of student loan defaulters or whose graduates' debt levels are too high in comparison to their incomes. However, Corinthian Colleges is making matters worse with its failure to comply with regulators after earlier allegations of faked grades and attendance records surfaced.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com, Google (C shares), and Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, Google (C shares), and Tesla Motors. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.