Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Morning Brief: Amazon NYC event at 10 EDT; markets mixed as Europe as Greece passes first property tax law; hey, don't look now, but there are pennant races!

There is no reason to speculate on the event to be held in NYC today – the event is less than two hours away (10 EDT) so we might as well let Jeff Bezos do the talking.

What will interest me, however, is whether this is the first of several tablet launches, or simply a testing of the waters. Tech sites have said to expect a smaller tablet, one that looks more like a BlackBerry PlayBook than an iPad, Kindle sized, but color and running Android. If so, I see the tablet having far less of an impact on Apple's dominance of tablet media than others do – at least at first. But if a larger unit is expected later this could change things. Maybe.

The problem for Android tablets, of course, is what flavor of Android, and where are the tablet optimized apps? But Amazon has a huge advantage over all its potential Android competitors in that its online store is far better organized, highly popular, and more importantly, very familiar to consumers. is just as comfortable for consumers as is iTunes, in other words.

More on all this after the event.

Stock markets in Europe are mixed as traders digest the latest news concerning the Greek financial crisis. Yesterday Greek lawmakers passed a property tax bill, a first in the Hellenic Republic. The property bill is part of a set of initiatives designed to meet obligations imposed on it by the European community.

Simply put, Greece needs more revenue in order to pay back the new bailouts. The measures are sure to create a backlash, but how much of one?

Yesterday the opposition,known as the New Democracy, criticized the government's new VAT receipts measure. "Apparently, the only thing that does not require receipt/proof is the government's inadequacy and incompetence, at the expense of a society that has long exhausted the limits of its endurance," Yiannis Vroutsis said, the shadow finance minister.

Who would have thunk it? An actual pennant race.

The regular season of baseball ends tonight and to the surprise of many fans, there will actually be important games played. For most of the season it appeared that 2011 would go down as the year without any races for the post season, with the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers and Rangers expected to win in the American League, and the Phillies, Braves, Brewers and D-Backs in the National League.

But late season collapses by both the Red Sox and Braves have created two races for both wild card slots (though the east coast media is all but ignoring the National League race).

Tonight the Tampa Bay Rays play the Yankees, and if they win they will force the Red Sox to beat the Orioles, or else they are done. The Braves meantime must play the Phillies one more time, while the St. Louis Cardinals who are tied with the Braves play the Houston Astros.

The fun part of all this is that while one might think that both the Red Sox and Cards are playing weaker teams and so have the advantage it hasn't worked out that way.

If there is a tie for the wild card after tonight a single game playoff will occur Thursday.