Eagle Eye Opener: BP Plans $8-Billion Stock Repurchase to Aid Investors; Music Streaming Drives Revenue; Blackberry Rolls out Z10 SmartPhone

Eagle Eye Opener

BP Three-Year Makeover Takes another Step Forward (Reuters)

Anyone remember the Deepwater Horizon? That was the name of British Petroleum’s (BP) oil-drilling platform that sank into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, giving birth to the world’s worst accidental oil spill. Ever since, BP’s PR machine has been on overdrive, trying to rehabilitate the company’s image. Well, Thursday’s actions went a long way toward just that, when BP positioned itself to repurchase $8 billion worth of its own stock, as a way to reward investors who’ve stuck with the embattled oil business. BP came into the $8 billion by way of selling its stake in Russian state oil firm Rosneft. Investors approved of the move even before the actual repurchase, pushing BP shares almost 2 percent higher. So far, so good for the executives who are managing the rebirth of British Petroleum.

Music Streaming to Drive Revenue Streaming (YahooFinace)

Ten years ago, Apple introduced the iPod to the world’s music lovers and the streaming industry took off like a rocket — on the consumer side, that is. Unfortunately, no one’s ever really been able to make the actual streaming process profitable – just ask Napster or Pandora. But that might be changing, sooner rather than later as Internet heavies like Google, Amazon.com, Apple, Facebook and even Twitter all have jumped on the streaming bandwagon. They see the sale of mobile subscription services as an almost unlimited, new revenue stream. And they’re right, as a recent ComScore survey indicated 48 percent of all smartphone users listen to music on their mobiles. The online giant that captures that market first will get an enormous boost to its bottom line, as will that company’s investors.

The Prodigal Son Rises Again: Welcome Back Blackberry (Bloomberg)

Speaking of smarphones, former stalwart and industry leader BlackBerry debuts its new Z10 phone in the United States today, with units going on sale two months after they appeared around the world. But that’s not a moment to soon for the company’s investors, as sales fell almost 50 percent in the company’s most recent quarter. In fact, optimism for U.S. sales is running high, according to Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben, “I expect that we’re going to hit the ground running.” And the company will, if consumers embrace the Z10’s gesture-driven navigation platform, which looks to replace the home button, so prevalent on both Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Android. So far, consumers have, as shares are up 36 percent this year alone… Here’s hoping the Z10 launch doesn’t give Blackberry another black eye.

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