Stock watch: Oracle, Google court fight; EA layoffs report; Pandora near record low

Oracle and Google shares are moving in opposite directions Monday ahead of the beginning of the copyright trial over Android that could have wide-reaching implications for other tech companies. As Brandon Bailey of the Mercury News writes, not only could the trial provide a peek into the world of Android, it will also touch on the question of how/whether (revised) patents and copyrights (end revised) should apply to software.

Oracle shares are up slightly, less than 0.5 percent to about $28.60 as of this post. Google shares are among the hardest hit of tech stocks so far this session. They’re down nearly 3 percent to about $607.50, after the FCC announced over the weekend that it had fined the Mountain View company for impeding its 2010 investigation into Street View’s collection of data, and on the heels of the company’s stock-split announcement last week.

EA has had a rough time lately, and now Startup Grind, citing anonymous sources, reports that the Redwood City company will lay off 500 to 1,000 employees as early as this week. In an emailed statement to GMSV, an Electronic Arts spokesman said the company “is growing and looking to hire hundreds of people,” but he did not exactly deny the report: “Like all game companies, we make occasional adjustments to resize teams as projects are completed and new priorities are established.  Overall, we expect that headcount will be up at the end of this year.”

Earlier this month, EA was voted the worst company in the nation in a Consumerist survey, supposedly because of the high prices of its video games. Last week, NPD Group reported that video game industry sales — of games, hardware and accessories — fell 25 percent in March from the same period a year ago.

Shares of EA are down sharply, more than 4 percent to about $15.45 as of this post.

• Pandora Media shares are near their record lows, off more than 4.5 percent to $8.28 as of this post. Last week, shares of the Oakland-based Internet radio company closed at an all-time low of $8.23. Pandora went public last June, starting trading at $16 and reaching a high of $20.04 in July. It has been on a volatile stock-market ride since.

The New York Times reported over the weekend that Pandora is trying to convince advertisers that their money is better spent with online radio, which Pandora CEO Tim Westergren says can provide more targeted information about its listeners, than terrestrial radio. Last week, a Barclays analyst reportedly wrote that he did not expect Pandora, which has provided free streaming music to users since 2005, to be profitable till 2016.


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  • Jeff

    Being a gamer, I can understand the passionate hatred of EA. It’s always been known as a money grubbing pain in the !@# to deal with once you buy their games but now their horrible Origin interface for launching games makes them 10x worse.

    That being said, how could any company possibly be worse than Ticketmaster or Bank of America? It’s video games people. BoA has ruined so many lives lately they should have automatically named worst something.

  • dermbuilder

    Question: At the end of the first paragraph, might you have meant “patent” rather than “copyright”?

  • Levi Sumagaysay

    Dermbuilder: I revised it to say patents and copyrights. As the Merc’s Brandon Bailey has reported, the “case also raises a key legal question about whether copyright laws” should apply to APIs.