Tech 2.0 for Thursday, October 3, 2013
Shares of Tesla Motors are down another 5 percent as investors in the high-flying company assess the fallout from a fire in one of its $70,000 electric cars. The fire began in the car's battery after the driver hit metal debris. Firefighters extinguished the flames and no one was hurt. Tesla says it's the first fire in one of its cars. Experts say electric car fires are rare, and consumers should still consider buying them. Tesla shares fell 6 percent Wednesday as video of the fire surfaced. Shares were down $9.90, or 5.5 percent, to $170.05 around midday Thursday. The stock is still up 400 percent year to date. Deutsche Bank analyst Rod Lache calls the fire an isolated incident and still expects Tesla shares to reach $200.
Digital music service Rdio is launching its free Internet radio service in the U.S., Canada and Australia on Thursday. The move capitalizes on Rdio's tie-up with traditional radio station owner Cumulus Media and helps it compete with digital rivals Pandora and Spotify. For now, the app that works on Apple and Android devices won't play ads between the songs that are randomly picked based on genres, artists, songs or albums. The company hopes nonpaying listeners will sign up for a $10-a-month subscription that adds features like the ability to pick and choose exact songs and albums. On the Web, Rdio's radio player will have ads that are sold by Cumulus Media Inc. Cumulus announced it was taking a stake in Rdio parent Pulser Media last month.
Private equity firm Cerberus is interested in taking a look at BlackBerry's books as a prelude to a possible bid for the troubled smartphone company. Cerberus is looking to sign a confidentiality agreement with BlackBerry that would allow it to access the company's private information, an official familiar with the situation said Wednesday on condition of anonymity. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the private talks. BlackBerry announced last month that Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. signed a letter of intent that "contemplates" buying BlackBerry for $9 a share, or $4.7 billion. Fairfax, BlackBerry's largest shareholder, is trying to attract other investors. BlackBerry is allowed to look for other buyers while Fairfax conducts six weeks of due diligence.