Technology firms: Status shift

GOOGLE splashed out an undisclosed sum of money on April 14th to buy Titan Aerospace, whose solar-powered drones it plans to use to help deliver wireless internet access to remote parts of the world. Like Google’s new drones, which can reach impressive heights, tech shares soared in the early part of this year. Then in March a sell-off began that battered the stocks of many Silicon Valley stars. The tech-heavy NASDAQ stockmarket index steadied somewhat early this week, and shares in older tech firms like HP and IBM, which are traded on the main market, have done well. But investors and companies are still jittery.Those worried that a new internet bubble pumped up by wild dreams and unabashed greed is now deflating will be watching closely to see whether tech firms’ latest results give further cause for alarm. On April 15th Yahoo published its quarterly earnings, which showed a tiny increase in revenue after excluding the cost of fees paid to its partner websites. Its shares rose on the news. Google was due to report its results the next day, after The Economist went to press.It is not just web firms whose performance is under the microscope. Shares in biotech companies, which adapt and exploit processes found in living organisms to create drugs and other useful products, have also taken a beating. Having risen by 60% last year, the NASDAQ biotech…

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