Today in Tech: How fizzling tech stocks are affecting Silicon Valley

October 8, 2012, 5:03 PM UTC

Also: Google poised to plunge hundreds of millions more in original content. Did Amazon once offer to buy Netflix for $12 million?

Silicon Valley’s Stock Funk [THE WALL STREET JOURNAL]

Home prices in the region are still rising, but with wealth ebbing, some agents sense a slowdown.

Nicholas Tarantola, a Realtor with Zephyr Real Estate in San Francisco, said activity has slowed over the past month, with homes that might have received 10 offers now getting five or six. “We’ve been whispering about [the sales slowdown] in the office,” said Mr. Tarantola, who says he’s not yet sure of the reasons.

The patent, used as a sword [THE NEW YORK TIMES]

As a result, some patents are so broad that they allow patent holders to claim sweeping ownership of seemingly unrelated products built by others. Often, companies are sued for violating patents they never knew existed or never dreamed might apply to their creations, at a cost shouldered by consumers in the form of higher prices and fewer choices.

“There’s a real chaos,” said Richard A. Posner, a federal appellate judge who has helped shape patent law, in an interview. “The standards for granting patents are too loose.

Does Apple have a bruise? [THE NEW YORKER]

Transitions from icons to their designated successors often don’t work that well. Think about Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. Or Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. Or Henry Ford and his son. We know a lot about what Apple is like without its inspirational founder. Here’s what we don’t know: Can Apple, after Steve Jobs, still think different?

Google’s YouTube to fund channels abroad [THE WALL STREET JOURNAL]

While he didn’t discuss financial details, the move means YouTube over the next few years could end up spending hundreds of millions of dollars for the professional content, which it would aim to recoup by selling advertising on the new channels.

The new funded channels are designed to produce high-quality shows that are “brand safe” for advertisers, which pay a premium to put ads there. Many large advertisers are wary of advertising next to YouTube’s amateur content, which can be unpredictable.

Amazon once offered to buy Netflix for $12 million, book says [CNET]

“Hastings also wanted to discuss selling Netflix to Amazon if the price was right,” writes Gina Keating, the former Reuters reporter who authored the book. The only problem was that Hastings was “less than impressed with Amazon’s $12 million offer.”

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