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Ballmer Should Go, Amazon Should Bundle Books and eBooks, and We Should All Watch 'Fight Club' Again: Our Top Stories This Week


Also, two pharmaceutical companies slug it out over FDA approval for a new MS drug.

The new year is well and truly underway, so we're here to help you stay up to date on all the biggest stories in finance, technology, and more. In case you missed them, here are the top stories from Minyanville this week.

5 Ways Microsoft Can Get Back on Track in 2013: Steve Ballmer Steps Down
Nothing against Steve Ballmer, but perhaps his time at Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has run its course. Ballmer has been at Microsoft since 1980, which is when he started as a business manager. From there, he rose to become the company's president in 1998, and eventually its CEO in 2000. Although Microsoft would be hard-pressed to find someone with more passion for the company, its struggle to maintain relevance could be mitigated by a regime change, or hiring someone with a fresher take on the tech industry.

Amazon Should Definitely Expand AutoRip to Books
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) made news today by announcing a service called "AutoRip," a tool that allows anyone who has ever purchased an album through the site to download a free digital copy. The announcement has been met with optimism among those who see the potential for a return to album-based sales rather than track-based sales, as well as those who believe Amazon's sales may improve because customers will see every music purchase as a 2-for-1 deal.

The Bull Market in Narcissism
The fact that Fight Club, a film with a distinctly anti-corporate, anti-consumerist message, came out in 1999 is quite interesting. Do you remember 1999? The American economy was basically a great big hot tub party with room for everyone in the land. The dot-com driven Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) rose 86%. The most common props in hip-hop videos were bottles of Cristal and shiny suits.

What Are the Silver to Gold and Platinum to Gold Ratios Indicating?
The bullish fundamentals for the precious metals market are still in place, and are not easily put off by recent corrections. But how can one tell which asset will outperform the others when the market finally starts to rally strongly? You might have noticed that we quite often use various ratios on our charts – such a technique is called Relative Strength Analysis and helps an analyst tell which of the two assets (or group of assets) is likely to do better in the future.

The Pattern Repeats: Is It Really This Simple for Bulls?
Our last update noted that the market had likely found a bottom at 1451, and that new highs were expected directly. The market has obliged and now kicked out some key intermediate levels to the upside, suggesting the rally will continue. There's really not much to add to the bullish expectations and projections of the last couple weeks' worth of updates, and the market is still performing in line with our preferred bullish wave counts. The market also still appears likely to reach November 2012's intermediate target of 1490 +/-.

Samsung Likely To Lead Apple in Smart TVs, At Least For Now
According to a survey done by Accenture, 33% of consumers plan to upgrade to a new HDTV this year, up from 20% in 2012. We are entering a new phase in television technology. The new wave of smart televisions is about unfold, and after its showing at the Consumer Electronics Show, Samsung (PINK:SSNLF) appears to be beating its competitor Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to the smart TV market, and maybe beating Apple in terms of connected devices in general.

Teva Aims to Derail Approval of Biogen Idec's MS Pill
Can Biogen Idec's (NASDAQ:BIIB) promising multiple sclerosis pill be derailed -- or at least delayed -- by a rival drug maker? The big Israeli drug company Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (NYSE:TEVA) petitioned the US Food and Drug Administration to hold off on approving Biogen's experimental MS drug known as BG-12 until medical experts can convene to review the safety of the treatment.

Fee Pressure Latest Threat to Old Network TV Model?
Al Jazeera's buyout of Current TV at a seemingly high valuation of $500 million triggered lots of discussion about the future of low-rated cable networks. The Current TV buyout was immediately greeted by an announcement from Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) about dropping the service, taking away 9 million subs. Time Warner Cable has been at the forefront of aggressive affiliate fee negotiations with low-rated cable networks. The multiple system operator is leading the charge to reduce or eliminate affiliate fees for low-rated networks.

Keeping Up With Apple: The Best Sleek, Sexy Tablets and Phones That (Less) Money Can Buy
The fact is that lots of people want iPhones and iPads, but not everyone can have one...yet. Thanks to Apple being the vanguard for sexy smartphones and tablets, other companies have followed suit, creating products that allow those of us with limited budgets to follow the trends whilst daydreaming about the "magical" original.

The Importance of the Market's Long-Term Inflection Point
Friday's update noted that the market was approaching an inflection point, but expected that the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) had at least one more fourth wave correction and fifth wave higher still to come, which the market fulfilled on Monday. In most recent updates, we've talked about the long-term bull potential. We're not flipping the bear side here, but nevertheless, this article should bring a bit more balance to the discussion.

Target Takes on the Amazon-Loving, Smartphone-Surfing, Bargain-Craving Showroomers
Since the dawn of online shopping in the 1990s, online retailers have been a source of tremendous price competition for traditional stores. However, with 3G/4G mobile Internet giving people a fairly sophisticated online shopping experience, comparing price online and offline can now happen in real-time in stores, intensifying the battle. Target (NYSE:TGT) is fighting back with a new price-matching program that could be construed as a direct reaction to the showrooming boom.

Twitter: @Minyanville

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