Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Microsoft, Google, Boston bomber, North Korean capitalism, “business model”

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What to watch for today

Tech titans report results. Analysts expect Microsoft to report a jump in first quarter revenue even when PC shipments are the lowest they’ve been in 19 years. Google’s revenues are expected to have hit $14.2 billion, up from $8.1 billion a year ago, and IBM is expected to report better sales in emerging markets.

Another Chinese solar giant flares out. Photovoltaic manufacturer LDK will likely report a second year of losses. Earlier this week, it announced it had partially defaulted on $24 million in bonds, raising fears of another Chinese solar industry failure.

Italy’s stalemate perhaps begins to end. Italy’s parliament begins voting on a successor to president Giorgio Napolitano, who will have to broker between the deadlocked coalitions headed by Pier Luigi Bersani and Silvio Berlusconi.

Other earnings to follow: Pepsi, Nestlé, SABMiller, Morgan Stanley, Verizon, Taiwan Semiconductor, L’Oreal, and América Móvil.

While you were sleeping

The Boston Bomber spotted? US authorities have identified a suspect for Monday’s attack on the Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured over 100. Investigators studied video footage of a man leaving a bag at the site of the explosions. Police also stopped letters apparently containing ricin, a poison, destined for the White House and the Senate.

Apple shares dropped below $400, for the first time in two years. Apple is expected to announce underwhelming earnings next week.

A gun law was shot down. After weeks of negotiations, the US Senate rejected a proposal to expand background checks on potential gun buyers. The vote of no-confidence could derail the most ambitious gun legislation the US has considered in 20 years.

Venezuela won’t have a recount. The country’s supreme court said there’s no basis for recounting votes from the close presidential election won by Nicolás Maduro, Hugo Chávez’s chosen successor. Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles called off a demonstration set for Wednesday, for fear it could turn violent.

Did Turkey and Kurdistan sign a secret oil deal? The agreement, reportedly reached last month, would get oil directly from Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey in defiance of Baghdad.   

Bank of America broke from the pack. Reporting revenues slightly lower than what analysts expected, Bank of America became the first US bank to report less-than-stellar earnings this quarter.

Quartz obsession interlude

Anna Codrea-Rado on the evolution of business jargon: “Before the late 1990s, no one was using the phrase “business model.” Or at least, it hardly appeared in written form. The phrase has since morphed, subtly but quickly, from an abstract theoretical term to one with animate, even living connotations. This linguistic shape-shifter has the capacity to tell us something about the idiosyncrasies of business language.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Twitter follows don’t equal credibility. Thinker, speaker, and totally made up internet avatar Santiago Swallow collected over 80,000 Twitter followers in four days for $68 dollars.

Europe’s recovery could take a decade. German central banker Jens Weidmann says the worst of Europe’s debt crisis is not over (paywall).

Capitalism wouldn’t change North Korea, which is more likely to follow China’s model of economic and political reforms.

Psy’s second hit is really just a commercial. Mobile phone game Candy Crush Saga got several seconds of airtime in the Korean rapper’s new song “Gentleman.”

Reinhart and Rogoff’s defense doesn’t hold water. The economists’ rebuttal to a paper criticizing their claim that debt hurts growth is flimsy.

Surprising discoveries

A government website is the best design of the year. Unobtrusive and quietly efficient, Britain’s won the annual award from the London Design Museum.

A local Thai soft drink brand is beating out Pepsi. In the largest soft drink market in Southeast Asia, Coke is still king but Est is no. 2 (video).

Whiz kids are dying out. Millennials are the least entrepreneurial generation, and the trend is only accelerating.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, fake Twitter personalities, and soda recipes to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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