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Dumbest of This Week's 5 Dumbest: New York Times Pay-Wall Woes

Over the past week, JPMorgan Chase (JPM - Get Report), Citigroup (C - Get Report) and Wells Fargo (WFC) announced that they plan to resume or increase dividends. Others, such as Bank of America (BAC - Get Report) and Capital One Financial (COF - Get Report), weren't so lucky. They remain in rehab until they are strong enough to handle the real world.

As bankers will tell you, the dividend has turned into a brutal mistress. It is something that investors, especially institutional investors, have come to expect as a quid pro quo for owning shares that offer growth in the less-than-nothing range.

In many ways, dividends have turned into a shareholder protection scheme. A few notes stuffed in an envelope every quarter for investors to make sure, you know, nothing bad happens to a bank's stock.

Finally, Research In Motion's (RIMM) late introduction of its PlayBook tablet was deemed the least dumbest thing of the week, garnering only 7.5% of the vote.

Delays have plagued RIM's effort to catch up with Apple (AAPL - Get Report), Motorola (MMI - Get Report) and Samsung in the tablet race.

The RIM PlayBook will be the fourth sizable player in the market, and its QNX operating system represents a much smaller sales opportunity for application developers targeting Apple, Google's (GOOG) Android and even Microsoft's (MSFT - Get Report) Windows Phone 7 software.

-- Written by Ross Tucker in New York.

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