My 1st Million At 33 – yes, you can do it too

A site to share my tips, tools, and humble thoughts on the journey to wealth

Legal disclaimer     Place your ad here    
  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Spam Blocked

  • Sponsors

  • Archive for January, 2007

    The Coming 2008 Headline News – Long ADM (Archer-Daniels-Midland)

    Posted by Frugal on 31st January 2007

    If you don’t know what is an inflation spiral, read this news about corn. A higher oil price creates demand for alternative energy. Demand for alternative energy creates ethanol demand. Ethanol demand creates higher price for corns. Higher price for corns creates bigger acreage of corns and less acreage for anything else. Therefore, you end up getting not only higher prices in corns, but also higher prices in wheat, soybeans. Since higher prices in corn result in higher costs for meat producers (chicken, hogs, cows), eventually higher prices of meat must come, not to mention a higher transporation cost for all foods (meat & vegetables) due to higher oil price.

    Which stage are we at? Higher prices of corns are already here. Meat producers will need to eat up the higher costs temporarily. If you can be in sync with the wave of inflation, you can maximize your profit potential. The best bets on this inflation front I believe is in agricultural producers. The worst bets will be in the agricultural consumers (probably including ethanol producing plants).

    Therefore, I suggest long in Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM) which is one of the largest agricultural producer. Doubling up your bets to make it stock market neutral, you could also short meat producers from Yahoo’s list. Do watch out for possible acquisition due to low valuation in this meat industry. The industry was plagued by Avian Flu, and all kinds of animal diseases (Mad Cow, etc). I invested in GKIS once due to the recommendation from my newsletter Capital & Crisis, but sold out in less than 2 months because I don’t want to be the shareholder/owner of an animal killing machine (I am a 1/3-vegetarian, hopefully eating fully vegan food one day). GKIS was acquired by PPC at ~40% premium, so if you will be shorting, pay attention to valuation.

    P.S. For disclosure purpose, I have an existing tiny long position (< 1%) in ADM. Please do your own due diligence because I may increase or decrease my position without notice. By the way, agricultural industry is not a like high-tech. An above-average return is not going to be up 100% or even 50% in a year. Please have a reasonable expectation.

    Posted in Natural Resources | 9 Comments »

    529 plans: The 10% Penalty Solution, Part 2

    Posted by ML on 30th January 2007

    In Part 1 I laid out the basic question we’re trying to address:

    Since the money inside a 529 plan grows tax-free, is there a break-even point, beyond which it’s more advantageous to invest in a 529 plan than in a regular taxable account even after paying penalty.

    I showed that the tax advantage of 529 plans are indeed sufficient to overcome the plan costs and given time would overcome the adverse tax treatment and penalties for nonqualified withdrawals, albeit after 30 years or more in most instances. In addition, it should be understood that higher current tax bracket and lower fees will tilt things more towards 529 plans, while tax-efficient investments in taxable accounts will tilt things the other way.

    Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA)
    For reasons that will soon become apparent, we enrolled in West Virginia’s Smart529 Select plan last year. We did this before the birth of our daughter to take advantage of my state’s recent tax law change to allow a deduction for contribution to an out-of-state plan. One key reason for selecting the particular plan was its use of DFA funds.

    DFA funds are backed by research done by Nobel laureates in economics. I first learned of them via Paul Merriman and Index Fund Advisors (IFA). They are probably the best index fund managers, only Vanguard comes close. Altruist Financial Advisors has a great comparison chart that I think every do-it-yourself asset allocators should study. Unfortunately, there is a catch. DFA funds are only available through financial advisors who normally charge a fee for assets under management. If you are lucky enough to have a million dollar portfolio, consider Evanson Asset Management who charges a flat $2000 fee, or 0.2%, which is among the lowest that I’m aware of. A more realistic choice for me personally is IFA, which caters to account sizes of $100k and up. Their fee is 0.9% for the lowest tier.

    In comparison, West Virginia’s Smart529 Select plan that gets you into DFA funds at an annual expense rate of 0.55% must be considered a bargain. I ran the same calculation as before but the 529 plan now enjoys a 0.35% advantage in fees in addition to the tax savings. The results are quite different.

    Now the 15% future bracket beats the (hypothetical) 10% future LT cap gain rate in only three years! It beats the 5% rate in 10 years. Even the 25% future bracket beats the corresponding 15% rate in 13 years! The DFA funds may be more tax efficient than I supposed, but the extra advisor expense makes the 529 plan very appealing.

    Qualified Educational Expenses
    Even though the examples I have given so far have shown 529 plans to have the potential to be a stand along retirement savings vehicle, they are best used as intended, that is, for qualified education expenses. IRS defines these expenses as

    … the tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for enrollment or attendance at an eligible educational institution (defined in the next column). They also include the reasonable costs of room and board for a designated beneficiary who is at least a half-time student.

    When used for qualified educational expenses, the 529 plan is almost as good as a Roth IRA: there is an extra plan expense, off-set in part by possible state tax deductions. Many people plan on taking college courses in early retirement. As a matter of fact, numerous college towns around the country consistently rank as the best retirement destinations, so the 529 plan will come in handy then.

    When the qualified education expense is reduced by a scholarship or fellowship, the earnings are taxable, but not subject to the 10% penalty. In this situation, the 529 plan acts like a non-deductible IRA. Unlike retirement plans, losses in the 529 plans are deductible, but subject to the 2% of AGI limit on Schedule A.

    Rollover and Transfer of Designated Beneficiary
    The 529 plan owns much of its flexibility to the freedom to rollover the plan or change the designated beneficiary to a family member of the old beneficiary. For this purpose, a “family member” is defined as

    1. Child or descendant of a child.
    2. Brother, sister, stepbrother, or stepsister.
    3. Father or mother or ancestor of either.
    4. Stepfather or stepmother.
    5. Son or daughter of a brother or sister.
    6. Brother or sister of father or mother.
    7. Son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law.
    8. The spouse of any individual listed above.
    9. First cousin.

    This is a far-reaching list, especially since multiple rollover/re-designation of beneficiary is possible (limited to one per 12 months in some cases). Assets within a plan can be used to pay for the education of your children and the excess amount can be left to the generation after. It is certainly possible for one to pay for the education of a family member out of the 529 plan for a return payment as a way to sidestep the ordinary income tax and 10% penalty. These possibilities make the 529 plan an excellent multi-generational planning tool.

    One point of note: many financial planners advocate the grandparents (of the student) be the owner of the 529 plan because the assets of the parents count against the student in many formulas used to calculate financial aid. For the same reason, it’s usually not a good idea for the student to be the owner of the 529 plan. With proper planning, gift tax for skip-generation contributions should not represent a problem.

    Implications for Investment Choices within the 529 Plan
    I’m currently the beneficiary of the newly-opened 529 plan. The intention is, of course, to switch over to my daughter later. I have all the money in the most aggressive (all equity) option. Chances are the money will be there for a while.

    Most 529 plans feature age-based portfolios which are similar to target retirement funds that increase the fixed income portion as the target date approaches. The rational is that return expectations should be sacrificed for shielding from untimely market declines. One cannot argue with that logic if the 529 plan is established to pay for the education of a single beneficiary. However, when the 529 plan is viewed as a multi-generational planning tool, its time horizon is easily 20-30 years longer, so that the investments can be left in the most aggressive option, where the expected return is the highest, for much longer.

    To compensate for the extra volatility, I will increase my contributions slightly (perhaps10-20%) above originally planned. This will likely result in an account value exceeding the educational expenses for one person down the road, but as I have demonstrated above, this is not a bad thing after all.

    I originally planned for a 2-part series; however, one reader raised an interesting question of comparison to a variable annuity. I’ll try to address that in part 3 along with the asset protection feature of 529 plans.

    Posted in College, Investing | 4 Comments »

    A Formal Apology to All Real Estate Carnival Participants

    Posted by Frugal on 29th January 2007

    To all who have just participated in the Real Estate Carnival,

    I apologized that I accidentally picked a plagiarized entry for the pick of the week. I have removed the entry right after I saw those who commented. I have re-picked another entry. Please let me know if you find any more problems. I will take care of it as soon as I see your reporting.

    Frugal

    Posted in Announcement | 1 Comment »

    1stM@33 reached 100,000 visitors

    Posted by Frugal on 29th January 2007

    So who is this 100,000th visitor? He came in through google search in India at the local time of Jan 29 2007 10:37:32 pm. What was he searching? www.purpleking.com, the only astrology post that I wrote, which I did not continue due to tepid response.

    I would like to take this chance to express my sincere gratitude for all fellow bloggers who have helped me along, and all the readers and visitors who have helped 1stMillionAt33.com to come so far. Special thanks to my partner ML at investmiddleway.com, Frugal Duchess , Binary Dollar, and 2Million who have helped contributing some articles during my vacation, and James West who is a investing pro, contributing regularly on this site.

    1stM@33.com would be an “island” in this internet “sea” without all the fellow bloggers and all of you readers. This site continues to exist because of all of your emotional and readership support, and it would be literally NOTHING without all of you. Many thanks again for visiting and supporting my site.

    Here is some site statistics for the past 9 months and 22 days since April 7th of my first post How to Budget (yup, the first dollar of your million would start from budgeting).

    There are 373 posts and 1480 comments, and I’ve deleted 938 spam comments. Visitors on the average read 2.7 pages per visit.

    Here is the traffics growth chart of 1stM@33:
    sitemeter.gif

    Posted in Miscellany | 8 Comments »

    Money Carnivals 1/22/07 to 1/28/07

    Posted by Frugal on 29th January 2007

    The following carnivals have featured 1stM@33 posts. Carnivals are growing bigger these days, and I’m so sure that you would find some good articles there. Please check out the following money/finance carnivals for more readings.

    1. Carnival of Investing at Journey To Financial Freedom for investing tips.
    2. Festival of Stocks at Rule One Investment Community for any stock ideas.
    3. Carnival of Personal Finance at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity for handling your personal finances.

    Posted in Announcement | 1 Comment »

    Carnival of Real Estate – Jan 29, 2007

    Posted by Frugal on 29th January 2007

    Welcome to the carnival of real estate, hosted at 1stMillionAt33. There are over 30 entries. Plenty of readings for anyone interested learning more about real estate. The entries are listed mostly in the submission order by the categories. Please check out the articles that interest you.

    My personal pick of the week for carnival of real estate is Timeshares: Good Investments or Travel Scam? from Queercents.

    TheLandJournal.com presents Rural land pricing will never look this good again to buyers, expect huge sales.

    Getting Green presents The Many Faces of Mortgage Fraud & Rip-offs.

    Investment Property Insider presents A Roadmap For Commercial Real Estate Syndication, Part 1.

    Aridni presents Real estate that saves your wallet, but not much more.

    Searchlight Crusade presents Vampire Properties.

    Realty Thoughts presents Niche Real Estate Blogs.

    YoChicago today presents Olympic Village is coming to Chicago, games or no games.

    Chicago’s Home Weblog presents Urban Legend, The Top 10,000.

    The Real Estate Guide presents Don’t Try To Time The Market.


    investing

    Dorky Dad presents Trying to get it right: Ben Stein is wrong about Real Estate Investing.

    Queercents presents Timeshares: Good Investments or Travel Scam?.

    BloodhoundBlog presents The Right Time to Buy: An Investor Perspective. With interest rates creeping up and home values creeping down, is now the time to make a large purchase?

    RealProspex presents Commercial real estate buyers: 8 ways to find the right deal without searching


    real estate market

    Yahoo! Search blog presents Home Search Update Now with Schools.

    Moneywalks presents 5 common homebuyer mistakes you want to avoid.

    Big Time Real Estate Listings presents Rocker David Grohl buys 3rd home in Oxnard.

    1SiliconValley.com presents How Much House Can I Afford? (Part 2 of 2).

    No Down-Payment Home presents No Down Payment Home – How I Did It.

    Leslie Pandey at Zillow Blog presents Hollywood’s Heartbreak Homes.

    Salt Lake Real Estate Blog presents Housing Panic Disingenuous?.

    Reasoned Audacity presents Are Children at Risk in Red States?

    360Digest presents Shack Prices, referral fees, cherries and designer dresses…

    1031 Exchange Lowdown presents 77 Surefire Ways to Increase Your Home’s Value.


    real estate professionals

    Mike’s Corner Web 2.0 For Real Estate Pros presents How Podcasting Impacts Local Search Relevancy.

    Altos Research Real Estate Insights presents MeeboMe as Killer Real Estate Marketing Tool. Instant Customer Service & Lead follow up with Meebo

    Real Estate Convergence presents Housing Glut Gives Buyers Upper Hand.

    Mortgage Home Loan and Real Estate News presents Mortgage Loans presents: Mortgage Loan Shopping: LendingTree, E-Loan or Quicken Loans?

    Renthusiast presents BrightSale defines what it means to be 2.0. Online Estate Agents BrightSale.co.uk give their definition of a 2.0 value system and why they feel ready to change the way the UK buys and sells property.

    MiOaklandCounty.com presents The Answer to Everything Can Be Found On The Internet!!

    Mike’s Corner Web 2.0 For Real Estate Pros presents Interview: Ken Brand – Exceptional Leadership Through RE Blogging.

    The Most Opinionated Mortgage Broker presents Wanna be a Trust Deed Broker?

    Clifford Jacobson presents Real Estate 2.0: High Tech, High Touch, or High-Tech Touch? Thoughts for Agents about Real Estate 2.0, High Tech and High Touch.”

    Overseas Properties presents Bets on Brazil property as future favourite.

    Transparent RE.com presents Cyberhomes and its future.

    Thanks to all those who have participated in this carnival. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

    Posted in Announcement, Real Estate | 8 Comments »

    Guess where I bought my diamond engagement ring?

    Posted by Frugal on 26th January 2007

    AskMr.CreditCard.com sent me a post on buying diamond ring at Costco. And he asked me for my comments on buying diamond rings at Costco or at Tiffany. I definitely think it’s okay to buy the diamond ring from Costco. Well, guess where I bought my diamond ring for my wife? I bought it from an internet site! Back in 1997!!

    Obviously I am not that trustworthy of everything I see, read, or buy from the internet. So here is the procedure that I followed, which I believe to be safe enough for me to do such transaction:

    1. ALWAYS use credit card or Cash on Delivery (COD) for internet transactions if possible, even if you need to pay extra 2%. This is true, especially for big amount transaction. The added cost far outweighs the consumer protection that comes along with credit cards. I will consider alternative payment methods only if the site is extremely well-established, such as Amazon.com, Buy.com, etc. MOST of the Ebay frauds occurred because people use checks instead of credit cards for transactions.

    2. After you do all of your comparison shopping in Carat, Clarity, Color, Cut, and Certificate, make sure to check out the merchant at www.bbb.org for ANY unresolved issues or bad records. I will NOT do any business with any companies that doesn’t have a clean record for jewelry-related products. There are a few kinds of business that may get more consumer complaints than usual due to huge amount of transactions (it’s percentage of complaints that count). Those are exceptions though.

    3. You should buy a bare diamond stone rather than a diamond ring if buying from internet. The reason is that you should get your diamond inspected by a local independent gemologist. For a thorough inspection, the diamond must be unmounted from the ring. You should always buy a certificated diamond if it is bought at internet. That way, you can match your diamond with your certificate specification. Your gemologist can also show you how it matches up in the clarity spec under a microscope. You should have him or her walk you throught the spec of the diamond. And most important of all, before you leave from gemologist, make sure you are taking your diamond home, and not a swapped stone. I think you could probably ask the gemologist politely to make the microscope inspection as the last (repeated) step, and/or diamond-test the stone before you leave. You can test the diamond-tester by bringing in non-diamond rings and/or anything else. Use the diamond tester on the non-diamond materials and you should get a negative response. And if you have some real diamond materials, you should get a positive response when testing it. Make sure that the diamond tester is not a fake one. When doing the tests on diamond tester, you should borrow the diamond tester and personally perform the test yourself. Unless that diamond tester is a fake one with remote controllability, you won’t be cheated. If you don’t know what a diamond tester is, go to a local jewelry store for some comparison shopping and personal education, and they will be more than happy to show you how the pen-like diamond tester works.

    4. And then, you will need to choose a ring and get it mounted too. When you find a jewelry store that will do it for you, you should make sure that the person who is mounting the diamond is at the OPEN & CLEAR (behind the transparent glass wall) location where you can personally watch him mount the stone. Again, you want to leave with your diamond, not a fake. Diamond-test your diamond ring again to make sure you’re leaving with a diamond. Again, don’t forget to test their diamond tester yourself with the same procedure above.

    5. After that, you should go back to your gemologist again for inspection, mounted or unmounted. The best is to negotiate a deal for the dual inspections that you will be requesting from the same gemologist.

    6. Yeah, a lot of work to save big money. You’re done! Well, hopefully that your darling will like what she sees, or better yet, talk with her first about your purchase process.

    I followed pretty much the above procedure literally in 1997. That was the only way that I could trust what I bought. I paid about $5800 for a 1.03 carat, H color, VS2 clarity, pretty good cut, and GIA certificated diamond. Yeah, and I didn’t need to pay sales tax. I also paid about $50 to $80 for the gemologist. The ring that I got probably cost less than $300 including mounting only because it had two smaller low-quality side diamonds.

    I think the price went down a little bit by maybe some $500 after a couple of years of even more vehement competitions on the internet. But I can tell you FOR SURE that you can definitely get a better deal than Costco if you buy your diamond from other big “wholesale” diamond sites.

    Actually, so far in my life, that $5800 is the most expensive luxurious item that I’ve ever bought. I felt so uncomfortable about such purchase that I thought it could only be right if I donated some $2500 to ChildReach in 1998. I can and could never justify such a purchase based on my personal belief. ChildReach actually sent a representative who visited sponsors around the country to pay a visit to me & my wife. We paid for her $5 lunch when she visited us. She said she was surprised to see young and “generous” people. But I was too shameful to tell my wife and ChildReach’s representative about why I donated the money.

    I’m not sure if my wife would understand, or others. I feel okay if I’m not donating big money when simultaneously I’m not spending big amounts on non-necessary items on myself or my family. But I consider diamond rings or any jewelries as non-necessary items.

    In any case, I hope my diamond buying tips would be helpful to you. There had been so many diamond sites popped up after 1997 that I cannot really tell you which would be the best sites. I believe back in 1997, the better sites were named something like diamondcutter.com or wholesalediamond.com, or something like that. But whatever sites you’ve chosen to do business with, you MUST check it out at bbb.org, and get some references, and/or even their banking reference.

    Well, the most important thing is that my wife really liked her diamond ring. It won’t do you any good obviously if your girlfriend insists on buying from Tiffany. But maybe you can tell her that Frugal also bought it from internet! My own personal experience is that once they see the ring and with the certificate, they fall in love, and won’t really complain.

    P.S. Both my wife and I think it’s okay to get a diamond ring from Costco. Why? Every diamond is truly kind of unique. But once you classify them based on the 5 Cs (or the more common 4 Cs + certificate), they are really just another type of commodity. It makes absolutely no visible or even invisible difference between the two same quality diamonds if they are cut in the same way. Certainly, Tiffany sells most ideal cut diamonds. But you can also get ideal cut diamonds elsewhere. Make sure the ideal cut definition is the same if not very close. Some sites will have a more loose definition so you will need to get the exact dimensions of table width, girth, depth, etc. to compare to the ideal cut dimensions.

    Posted in Frugal Ways | 19 Comments »

    The Next War Article From Harper Magazine

    Posted by Frugal on 25th January 2007

    My recent web-surfing has led me to this site on how the Vietnam war was falsely triggered and pre-planned all the way by the US president. Daniel Ellsberg the whistleblower who told the truth to public on Vietnam war, is again speaking out against the Next War with Iran that is probably under planning.

    I just don’t know how many lives of American soldiers it will take to wake up the public. Often, everyone of us is too busy taking care of our own affairs, be it job or family or just party fun. We don’t read and learn from our past history. We don’t think far enough into the future either. Frankly speaking, I know little about Vietnam War, and I was surprised to learn these things about Ellsberg.

    Stories like “Enemy of the State” movie has happened to Ellsberg. Maybe one day my website will be a target too. But whatever government power that tries to erase its trace cannot stand up to Truth. Any country that pre-emptively attacks cannot justify its cause. Have you seen the movie or DVD on Minority Report? Who is to say that because murders may happen or could happen, and then you should jail the person? What if it’s all made up, like the non-existent WMD in Iraq? Bush was so sure of its existence, and now blame it all on faulty intelligence. Who is going to be responsible for all the innocent deaths?

    And it’s also under this administration that Habeas Corpus has ended. Under this bill, if you’re called the enemy combatant by the Executive Branch, you have no legal rights to challenge such claims, and can be jailed without proper cause. This is the “free” America.

    I agree with the arguments made by antiwar.com. If any country attacks another, such aggression is always seen bad by other countries. Why is it that when USA or Israel does it (such as owning nuclear weapons), it can be called just, but not any other countries? Even if US doesn’t occupy the invaded country, it still doesn’t give US any rights to attack. By the way, US has been in Iraq several years now and counting. Quite a bad image. And of course, Israel occupied West Bank and Gaza for years if not decades. Their land grab is coined as “settlements” as if there are still no man’s land (not to mention all of bulldozing of Palestine houses without recompense). Once you stay long enough, a decade, and two, and then a hundred years after several generations have passed, it will become yours. Quite clever? Israel might as well change the history books like what Japan did for their WWII aggression against China, calling the attacks as “entries”.

    Maybe you don’t like it, but my “anti-governments” stance comes from my deepest love for humanity of all races and all walks in life. I wish Truth & Justice & Love prevails on Earth, and Prosperity for everyone. Jesus’s teaching is very clear: no one is innocent enough to throw the first stone on the sinned woman (John 8:7). No one can judge another person, but God. Likewise, no country alone can claim to be the world cop, and attack without being under attack. I don’t personally judge Bush as a person, but rather I’m afraid of the results from his actions as the US president (Iranian president is far worse though). In fact, if Iran attacks first, I will be the first one to speak out against Iran. What kind of crazy @#$% BS is that, “wiping Israel out of the map”?(Please check out the link in Pascal’s comment. I was surprised to learn more details about this “quote”.)

    I would like to conclude this post with a simple prayer:

    May there is no war with Iran. May no innocents are hurt. May all countries live in peace, and all peoples live in prosperity. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

    Posted in World Politics | 12 Comments »

    Message to New (or Old) Fellow Bloggers

    Posted by Frugal on 24th January 2007

    To all the diligent bloggers,

    If you guys just started blogging, and want to exchange link with me, JUST ASK me by EMAIL. My only criteria is that you need to be blogging for two full months, and for that period and going forward, you MUST post at least 2 posts every week. Also you must link back to 1stM@33 too. I do reserve the right to remove the link when I find your site doesn’t post twice a week.

    I have been there before, and I know how hard it is for everyone who just starts blogging. I tried to ask for blogroll exchange, and was met with all kinds of rejections. But besides frustrations, I was also greeted by some kind and generous bloggers. Because I know how hard it was, I can link to your site if you only ask (provided that you’ve met my criteria). My page rank is 4, so that should help you a little. You may not gain a lot more traffics, but a link is a link (and helps your Technorati rank). Unfortunately, I’ve temporarily paused doing My Digg of the Week, due to the lack of my time to surf my partnered linked sites for good articles. Otherwise, I really like to promote every one of your site, provided that there is a good article. But maybe I will come back to do My Digg of the Week in the future when I have more time.

    I’m not a rich spoiled kid. I’m a Frugal ordinary folk who likes to give anyone a hand especially if there is not much trouble.

    By the way, don’t leave a comment here asking for blogroll exchange. Email to me directly.

    Best luck to all of your endeavor. I truly admire EVERY blogger out there for their extra diligence and time spent on publishing on the internet. And I believe in the potential of every one of you to become the next greatest blogger.

    Frugal

    P.S. Please DO give me a couple of days up to one week to respond to your emails & requests. Sometimes, I’m so behind on everything that it could take a bit longer to respond to you.

    Posted in Announcement | 2 Comments »

    iPhone follow-up

    Posted by Frugal on 24th January 2007

    Read a couple of negative articles recently on iPhone. Tim Cook commented that Cisco’s suit is “silly”:

    On the earnings conference call, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said Cisco’s suit is “silly” and that ‘we’re confident we’ll prevail” in the matter.

    Now, I don’t know who is silly here. In the USA, the trademark laws are very well-defined. I think Apple has really gotten over its head and being too arrogant. Initially, I thought Apple will simply pay some money to acquire iPhone trademark. Looks like it’s not going to happen. Besides, such unfriendly attitude is simply bad for business, if not now, maybe in the future. Such action and comment are always unwise.

    Not only Cisco, Apple has probably pissed off Microsoft, and has never been friendly towards its chip suppliers. Arrogance is never good.

    Besides all those, the most negative “news” is that such touch screen phone has already existed in Europe by a company called Neonode. I don’t think every one of those 200+ patents will hold, especially given a precedent existing product. In fact, the easiest way to defeat iPhone is to make very similar products but much cheaper, but let the patent lawsuits dragged for years, which may or may not uphold anyway. Similar scheme has happened in the DVD market. Apex came out with very cheap DVD, and simply kept selling and selling, and let the lawsuits dragged. After all, a corporate bankruptcy does not equal to a personal bankruptcy of the executives.

    Consumers will obviously benefit from such price competitions. Monopoly is never good.

    I think Apple will still retain its appeal to consumers. Normal consumers will not care about anything above. As long as they will pay up and buy Apple’s products, then Apple can keep milking money.

    Posted in Investing | 3 Comments »