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Best of the Blogs: Why Has Google Gone Austere?


Minyanville's daily roundup of some of the best financial commentary from around the Web.

This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary from around the Web each day. Feel free to send along your own suggestions for blog content that you've read or written.

All Things D
"Google's appetite for acquisitions seems to have dulled in recent months. After buying 79 companies in 2011, Google hasn't made a single purchase yet in 2012. In fact, its last acquisition was the restaurant-recommendation app maker Clever Sense, which was announced Dec. 13. A Google spokeswoman confirmed the company hasn't bought anything since then. Sources at Google said the main reason for the dearth of deals is CEO Larry Page's focus on streamlining his company around key products. Plus, there's "seasonality" around the turn of the year (but c'mon, it's March; that would be an incredibly generous winter holiday break!)." (Also Read Why Google Struggles to Build Great Consumer Products.)
Total Return
Link: When Is a Refund Not a Refund? When It's Phony
"The Internal Revenue Service is warning senior citizens and others to beware of come-ons that use the promise of tax refunds to tempt them to file returns. The agency said it has seen a surge of fraudulent claims coming in from across the U.S. The IRS, which said it has detected and stopped thousands of fraudulent claims, warned that promoters charge large upfront fees to file the claims and then have disappeared by the time taxpayers discover they've been scammed." (For related content, see 10 Bizarre Tax Deductions For the IRS Provocateur.)
Credit Writedowns
"Germany, Finland and the Netherlands are the last AAA-rated countries left in the 17-member eurozone. Like the coolest kids in the local high school, they form their own clique with their own set of rules. Those rules are: 1. Hold the eurozone together. 2. Bail out the troubled countries, but only under the strictest conditions. 3. Save the banks while imposing some pain on private bondholders. 4. Push the weaker economies to cut budget deficits by any means necessary and restructure their economies for growth. Germany is the undisputed leader of this Upright Brigade and believes this creed with all its heart."
China Real Tim Report
"As the NBA, the world's sports merchants and everyone in between gear up to cash in on Jeremy Lin's growing cult status in Asia, Dunkin Donuts – increasingly ubiquitous in the region's crowded bakery market – is opting for a more tried-and-tested basketball star, LeBron James, as the face of their sweet treats. In an announcement out of Singapore, Dunkin' Brands said it was launching a partnership worth more than $1 million with the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, who will partner with the company in its marketing efforts across Asia." (Also Read Lebron James and the Deterioration of the Athlete Brand.)
Capital Gains and Games
"Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich, who at one time was chairman of the House Budget Committee in Washington and a young GOP gun long before House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) or current budget committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) were old enough to vote, yesterday changed his mind and decided that federal disaster assistance for those in his state hit by the recent tornadoes wasn't such a bad idea after all."

Twitter: @Minyanville

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