The Exchange
  • Buying a car? You may want to avoid the newest models

    Exclusive analysis done for Yahoo Finance shows newly introduced models may be more prone to problems.

    If you want to stump a car buff, ask what the Acura RLX, Dodge Dart, Ford Fusion, Ford Escape and Mercedes-Benz SL roadster have in common. When there’s no answer, explain that all have been recalled for fixes during the past few months for problems that occurred early in the lifespan of the vehicle.

    Auto recalls have gotten a lot of attention lately on account of the General Motors (GM) flap involving 2.6 million recalled vehicles with faulty ignition switches that can turn deadly. Yet that recall, which involves cars dating to 2003 and spans at least nine model years, is far from typical. More common are cars recalled early in their life, when the design is relatively new, as automakers work out bugs that occur when a model is first assembled.

    Analysis conducted for Yahoo Finance by Stout Risius Ross, an auto-industry financial advisory firm, suggests more things go wrong with newly introduced or redesigned cars than with models that have been on the road for a few years. These

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  • Despite $3 billion haul, Zuckerberg avoids toys of the super rich

    Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, may be among the richest people on the planet but (at least so far) they’ve stayed away from buying mega yachts, desert islands and other trappings of the ultra rich.

    According to a Facebook filing this week, Zuckerberg pulled the trigger on some 60 million shares worth of options at the end of last year, netting a profit of about $3.3 billion. He immediately turned around and sold more than 41 million shares while turning over 18 million, worth almost $1 billion at the time, to his favorite charity, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

    After paying capital gains taxes, what might Zuckerberg and Chan do next?

    No toys

    Despite the occasional wild speculation $90 million for the penthouse of towering New York City skyscraper One57, anyone? the Zuckerbergs haven’t gone in for much conspicuous consumption.

    Facebook charters a jet for the Zuck and he’s not known to have purchased a big boat, fancy cars or a Damien Hirst

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  • Here’s a great problem to have: What to do with billions of dollars of personal wealth.

    Bill Gates and Larry Page, worth more than $100 billion combined, had some notable thoughts on the pressing economic matter at this year’s TED conference in Vancouver. Gates, the founder of Microsoft (MSFT), elaborated on prior claims that he’d leave most of his $75 billion to his foundation rather than his three kids. When asked if he would at least bequeath enough to his kids to make them billionaires, Gates answered, “Nope, they won’t have anything like that. We want to strike a balance so they have the freedom to do anything, but not a lot of money showered on them so that they can go out and do nothing.”

    Page, Google’s (GOOG) CEO and co-founder, is notoriously protective of his private life and didn’t address inheritance plans for his two kids. But he did muse about putting Elon Musk in his will. Page quipped that, rather than leaving his $30 billion fortune to some cause or nonprofit group, he’d

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  • Battery-short iPhone users 'wall huggers,' says Blackberry CEO

    It seems new BlackBerry (BBRY) chief executive John Chen can give as good as he gets, adding a breath of fresh air in an era when too many corporate leaders stick to bland talking points.

    Chen, who got into a tiff with famously outspoken T-Mobile (TMUS) CEO John Legere last month, was at it again at the Oasis Montgomery conference in Santa Monica, California, on Thursday.

    Asked about Apple’s (AAPL) popularity, Chen belittled iPhone users whose batteries run down before the end of the day, forcing them to search for power outlets. “I call you guys wall huggers,” he quipped.

    He was also in a joking mood when asked why he left private equity firm Silver Lake to take the difficult turnaround job at BlackBerry. “I wanted to do something where I could wake up every day and worry,” he answered, adding “and I have fulfilled my dream,” as the room burst into laughter

    So far, investors seem to be impressed with Chen’s plain talk and fast action. He’s already outsourced handset manufacturing to

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  • Premature rejection: Google Glass is pointing the way to the future

    Despite what its detractors might say, Google (GOOG) is onto something with its Glass project  something big. Though currently only available to a tiny audience as an “alpha” project, the computer in glasses format addresses unmet consumer needs better than existing solutions.

    Most of the tech punditry have already declared Glass a joke and a failure, the Apple (AAPL) Newton of the 21st Century. Last week, well-known tech blogger, author and Glass user Robert Scoble declared Glass is doomed, at least for 2014, while another writer, not a user of the current product, called Glass “physically grotesque and glaringly obtrusive.”

    But it’s all too easy to look at this early version of the product, with its high price tag and less-than-stellar appearance, and peg it as a loser. It’s also meaningless, like declaring a rough draft or scale model inadequate to meet the standard of a final product.

    As Glass gets closer to being a real consumer product, many of the elements that offend will

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  • 3 Myths about Self-Driving Cars

    There’s a lot of hype surrounding them. But where are they?

    Driverless cars seem poised to be the next big thing in the auto industry, or maybe the next big thing after that. Google (GOOG) routinely turns heads on California roads with its famous driverless cars, which have logged half-a-million miles with barely an incident. California, Nevada and Florida have passed special laws allowing self-driving cars, with more states sure to follow. The federal agency that regulates car safety recently issued new guidelines for automated vehicles and might even begin to require some driverless technology that could significantly improve safety.

    Piper Jaffray (PJC) analyst Gene Munger estimates that driverless car technology could ultimately mushroom into a $240 billion industry, which would be roughly three times the size of the cloud-computing industry that will supposedly transform data storage. Yet there’s a lot of confusion about what self-driving cars are, who’s likely to build them, and

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