PepsiCo last week announced that it plans to acquire the Naked Juice Co. as part of its effort to "expand into natural, healthy, good-for-you products" that "address growing consumer health and wellness needs" (pepsico.com). Many news accounts followed PepsiCo's line. Public radio's Marketplace program, citing Coca-Cola's 2001 acquisition of a Naked Juice rival, Odwalla, declared that "the cola wars have taken a healthier turn" (marketplace.org). But have they? Given an equal number of calories, fruit juices and smoothies - and particularly the "super-premium" ones made by Naked Juice and Odwalla - are certainly healthier than sugary, nutrient-free soft drinks. But calories aren't always equal. The amount of sugar in a bottle of fruit juice or a smoothie may far surpass the amount of factory-made sweeteners found in a bottle of cola. While a 16-ounce bottle of regular Pepsi contains about 200 calories, a 16-ounce bottle of Naked Juice's Chocolate Karma Protein Smoothie contains 380 calories, according to calorie-count.com.
Not enough energy to elaborate on future
New Scientist assembled the prognostications of 70 scientists, each of whom picked what they thought might be the biggest breakthrough of the next five decades. The predictions run from the epochal to the merely pivotal. The epochal stuff comes from physicists and biologists who tell us that within 50 years, we might meet some of our galactic neighbors or that our brains will merge with machines (newscientist.com). But the more earthly predictions are the most thought-provoking. Bill Joy, the venture capitalist and co-founder of Sun Microsystems, said the biggest breakthrough "would be to have an inexhaustible source of safe, green energy that is substantially cheaper than any existing energy source" and could not be made into weapons. Like the other predictions, Joy's is tantalizingly short, leaving readers hungry to know more.
A tough merger to rebound from
Ask just about anybody which Internet merger of the boom era was the worst, and they'll say AOL's acquisition of Time Warner. James Nicholson, the blogger and entrepreneur, disagrees. On his list of "Ten Worst Internet Acquisitions Ever," AOL -Time Warner comes in second. The worst was Yahoo's $5-billion purchase of Broadcast.com. Why is that worse? "Two words," according to Nicholson: "Mark Cuban" (seekingalpha.com). "Yahoo's ludicrous overpayment for Broadcast.com gave Cuban the money to go out and buy the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and permanently implant himself on the American psyche," Nicholson wrote. "Unforgivable."