There’s nothing like easing back into work after your summer holidays, is there? Whatever plans the Informer had for a gentle return were shattered by two of the biggest M&A announcements we’ve seen for some time. Neither depended on the element of surprise for their impact, though, as both had been much anticipated.
Remember having to hang up the land line to use the internet? Or before that, when hours of entertainment could be derived from a simple game of Pong? Typewriters, fax machines, floppy disks, car phones and beepers were all the rage at some point in time. The Informer, like Pepperidge Farm, remembers.
The moment she discovered she was pregnant, Mrs The Informer downloaded an app for her iPhone that gave her regular and constant updates on the development of the little clump of cells that would, some 18 months after his arrival, smash the screen of that iPhone, and that of its replacement, and then drop the second substitute into the toilet.
The Informer was once told that if you owe the bank £1,000 it’s your problem, but if you owe the bank £100,000 then it’s the bank’s problem. If this is true then Telefónica, which owes in excess of €48bn, surely can’t have a care in the world. Certainly the firm is not about to let the level of debt it’s carrying stop it spending.
It often feels as though the world is getting smaller – a side effect of the increasing density of human networks. The Informer is sure you’ve heard of a popular theory that most people in the world are connected to each other, and Kevin Bacon, by no more than six steps.
Bang! Bang! Twelve policemen carrying a huge battering ram barge down the doors. The lead investigator strides in wearing a long beige overcoat –like the one Columbo wears, waving his police badge, declaring: “This is a raid.”
Some of the workers try to flee, but it’s futile – armed officers have the entire premises surrounded. The detective confronts the baddie, and utters a cheesy action movie phrase – something along the lines of: “Today, is your data with destiny.”
Cannes, February 2005; remember that? 3GSM World Congress visited the Côte d’Azur for the last time and Siemens decided to mark the end of an era by hiring a Greek passenger ferry and mooring it out in the bay. An enormous Siemens logo painted on the flanks of the ship gave the firm great brand exposure but the experiment was not wholly successful.
The Informer spent much of this week in sunny Amsterdam, basking in the glow of the world’s most advanced LTE networks, as early adopters and keen followers shot the breeze at LTE World Summit. What was interesting, was that the talk on the conference floor was all very heavy and technical, compared to the usual marketing gloss and business-case chat the Informer is used to hearing. Still, whereas the problems highlighted at those kind of gatherings are often identified as technical, the guys responsible for the technology were this time pointing the finger at commercial issues.
Dystopian futures almost always feature some kind of omnipotent presence—political, corporate or non-human—beneath whose gaze the masses cringe and squirm. And the power that these entities enjoy often depends, in a nod to the grim realities of the past, on the willingness of individuals to betray one another in return for a scrap of reward or approval.
Central to these scenarios is the suggestion that human beings are complicit in their own subjugation; too quick to divide and invite the rule of tyranny.
With summer supposedly fast approaching, many look to trim some fat and get in shape for the sunny months. The Informer has never been a huge fan of gyms; in fact his favourite machine in the gym is the one that sells chocolate. Telefonica’s UK arm O2, is one business that is looking to get lean for the holidays, though, and this week it announced that it is to trim 3,500 UK employees.
What is the NSA going to do with data on this kind of scale anyway? The fact that it’s going to need processing is probably why so many of these companies are happy to hand it over—they can smell a big analytics tender in the offing.
“All the single markets! All the single markets! All the single markets! All the single markets!” was the tune Steely Neelie was humming along to this week when she issued a rallying cry calling for the formation of a single EU telecoms market before the next European election.(The Informer notes that the phrase ‘rallying cry’ is used a LOT when Kroes is written about. Google it and you’ll see. It makes the Informer wonder if she has an actual rallying cry; a special sort of bloodcurdling squawk or yowl that indicates the imminence of some kind of sector reform.)
Pearl Harbour is indisputably one of the greatest attrocities the world has ever seen and it stands for all right-minded souls as proof that, however much time might pass, you should never trust Michael Bay. Meanwhile the events the film depicts were popular justification among the WWII generation for taking a similarly ‘cautious’ attitude towards the Japanese.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the richest of them all?
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index released this week, Microsoft founder Bill Gates has just edged past Mexican mogul Carlos Slim, who’s lost more than a few pounds since Mexico’s government passed a bill that could quash America Movil’s market dominance.
Who’d have thought that the news that would rock the world this week would be of a 71-year-old man deciding to retire from his job? But it did and the telecoms industry seems to have adopted some of the fiery, argumentative, and sometimes hypocritical, qualities of the famous Glaswegian.
Don’t take this the wrong way but the Informer is sure some of the regular readers of AWIW are familiar with Peter Molyneux. As a youngster the Informer whiled away many hours himself on games such as Populous, Dungeon Keeper, Black & White and Fable, all of which were brainchildren of Molyneux.
It was an overwhelmingly numbery week this week, as Q1 financials deluged the Informer’s inbox. Over the weekend the mainstream press were all aflutter about the fact that Apple was going to report a drop in quarterly profits. This duly happened, but fluctuations are relative and when your profits are plummeting all the way to $9.5bn for the quarter, it’s hardly a catastrophe.
The Informer has been in this industry a long time. He’s pretty jaded and sometimes feels like he’s seen it all. That was until this week however, when Samsung – the Korean handset maker that sells the most phones of any company in the whole world – admitted that its Taiwanese arm had paid a bunch of local students to post scathing reviews about rival HTC’s devices online.
This week the people of Britain bid farewell (or at least goodbye) to a woman who divided the nation in death as much as she did in life. Ex-Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, was a strong proponent of free market economics – support the big guys and the devil take the hindmost.
As a teenager and young man the Informer scoffed when he heard the old folks reassuring one another that ‘life begins at 40’. Clearly it was an attempt to sugar the reality that the best years had passed and it was downhill from here on in. Now, with 40 approaching at a gallop, the Informer feels more inclined to see wisdom in the statement.
The Informer’s not the only one getting old, as the mobile phone turned 40 this week with the anniversary of the first cellular phone call.