2019 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012
Re: bling blong!
"How much has this door cost in total?"
Don't consider the cost. It's a symbol.
Unfortunately it's a symbol that the company has lost its way, and cannot see that there is no market or shareholder value from patenting a revolving door a hundred years after such things were invented. In some ways removing the image of Saint Steve is quite fitting, because he was somebody who was hugely product and brand centric.
I'll buy one
But will they give me a refund if my mini-liberator explodes in my hand?
Re: how much skin do you need to have in the game ..
"Based on this, they are obviously seeking a chairman who would have pretty much no influence whatsoever."
That's how it should work. For complex, publicly listed companies the chairman (or head of the supervisory board if that's the local model) should not have much influence on the company's direction. That's what you pay the CEO for. The job of the chairman is to hold the CEO and the executives to account, assisted by the non-executive directors. In that respect Gates has failed, because it was investor pressure, not Billyboy who called time on Ballmer. We've had a string of bum acquisitions, two recent core software flops, we're still seeing security flaws in the OS and browser, we missed out on tablets, phones, the internet, and so forth.
This is part of a wider problem with corporate governance the world over, in the shape of the poor quality and/or low performance of the non-executive directors. All too often these people either don't voice their concerns. won't voice them, or aren't listened to. In US companies its not unusual to find non-execs with no valid experience in related industries, and the world over it is common to find cliques of rent-a-non-exec types taking a fat salary from umpteen different companies to whom they can devote no worthwhile energy.
Re: with their track record
"one wonders if this will last given the 180s of the past."
Indeed. You can only snigger when you imagine the HP board talking about the vast opportunities that having a proprietary app store will offer. BCG will have brought along some pretty Ivy League graduates with huge, well manicured Powerpoint presentations, listing the vast value and remarkable growth value that Google Play and the Apple app store have created. The execs themselves will be so out of touch that they've never even heard of the tumbleweed strewn wasteland of Ovi, or the customer-free app stores that many mobile networks tried to launch. And because they don't understand anything, they'll have overlooked that the vast, vast majority of app store revenues are from consumers, and their plan is for a B2B app store.
Way to go boys and girls. Everything you've touched has turned to ordure, and you reckon that yet another diversification will turn the business round? Perhaps PWC could do a survey of "the world's 500 most wildly optimistic companies", and then at least HP would come top in something.
A fundamental problem with this...
...is that the whole comedy business case for HS2 is based on the "lost productivity" of all those businessmen needing to rush between Birmingham & London. If this improved coverage is so important that it needs government intervention (always a success, of course), then it will improve productivity such that most of the fictitious "benefits" of the unneeded train set will vanish.
Or, is it simply that our porcine MPs need this connectivity because they wish to be able to update their expenses claims as they waft along in publicly funded first class splendour?
Re: And boy
And boy.. Are they going to make you sweat for minimum wage."
You reckon minimum wage jobs should be physically (and perhaps mentally) untaxing, like IT?
"I was listening to Radio 4's ....climate change propaganda"
There, fixed it for you. The BBC have always been great enthusiasts for planet wrecking climate change, and actively censored any of their staff who wouldn't toe the party line.
Re: Bears, Pope and so on
b) where does your 1 in 20 figure come from because that is completely incorrect?
Good thing you're AC, because your claim that I'm incorrect is utter shite. DWP figures show that there were 3.3 million claimants for disability living allowance, ONS data shows UK population 63.7 million. Using the magic of mathematics, anybody other than a retard will see that my statement is correct, indeed, if anything I was erring on the side of caution. If you weren't such a tit you'd have been able to check this for yourself on the internet. Possibly you're getting on your high horse over the total number of disabled in the population, which isn't anything to do with the point I was making.
a) Does it occur to you that they might be housebound so you won't see them milling about on the street?
What leads you to believe that I'm basing my judgement on random observation of people in the street?
c) what basis do you have that any significant proportion are not truely disabled?"
I didn't say they were (although I did infer it, I agree). The fact is that we have an outlier rate of disability claimants of working age compared to all comparable developed economies, yet we don't have any particular circumstances that might cause or explain high levels of disability. We have a large population and most of us don't marry our cousins, so there's no exceptional birth or genetic defect rates. Our roads are amongst the safest in the world, so no excess levels of road casualties. And we have offshored almost all heavy industry, and the accidents that go with it, and we have an active and effective health and safety culture for the bit that remains. You could suggest that our wars have increased the number of disabled, but sadly the out of control handout culture that started this mess now means that the clowns of ATOS try and control new claimant numbers by turning down servicemen who are genuinely disabled as a result of our various wars, and even if we correct for that it doesn't materially alter the basic numbers.
Re: Bears, Pope and so on
"What is required is for the government to get some balls and get the laws in place to enforce it rather than penny pinching benefits from the disabled."
Actually it needs to do both. We spend about £13 billion a year of disability benefits, which in GDP terms is twice the OECD average, and reflects fifteen years of Nulab using "disability" as a cover for unemployment, so that we've now got over 3m people claiming disability benefits.
Round here' it's bleeding obvious that nothing like 1 in 20 people is sufficiently disabled to need to claim disability benefits, so I can only conclude there must be entire towns of disabled located up north, or somewhere else remote. Unless self inflicted morbid obesity counts as a disability.
Re: "This will never stop"
"Democracy requires that everybody has the same information and can participate in government."
And it requires a spectrum of opinion amongst those likely to get elected. But from a distance there's precious little to tell between the two major power blocs that seem to alternate in power in most Western "democracies", and neither of those parties has any intention of offering a commitment to stop this mass surveillance. Sadly, there's also plenty of evidence that if they did make such a promise, they'd ignore it as soon as they were in power.
There looks to be no prospect that mass surveillance will be scaled down any time soon, and therefore you can be sure that it is only a matter of time before the politicians start using it to smear opponents, and crack down on those who speak against the official line. That may sound fanciful but twelve months ago we didn't know how the government were scraping and storing every single thing they could. It clearly isn't about fighting terrorism, so everybody should be asking themselves why government is doing this. Unfortunately there's no nice explanations, and anybody who votes for a mainstream party in the US, UK, Australia is actually supporting this.
Re: I'm up for it.....
"Something along the lines of the little seen dress uniform from Star Trek TNG. Mini-dresses for dudes."
Mini-dresses for the dude-ettes, you mean?
Speaking for myself, the uniform must have a cloak. Think Star Wars, LoTR, Hairy Potter, Gladiator, Black Adder, all the best characters have cloaks.
Re: IT wizards?
"he also uses the word "cyber" which to me is a big flashing neon sign shouting "I have no idea what I'm talking about""
Well, to be fair you know he's no idea what he's talking about because he's a politician, with a degree in philosophy, politics, andeconomics.
The term cyber warfare (or cyber anything) isn't very attractive, but what convenient term exists for this? Looking on the bright side, those doing cyber warfare will presumably by cybermen.
Re: Money for old rope.
"apart from anything this guy got caught, so he's not that good, is he?"
Well, the NSA have been caught red handed, but they seem quite good at data slurping, so I don't think we should conflate the ability to do one thing with the ability to cover up that you are doing that.
If your intention is offensive cyber ops, then you can put additional resource into covering your tracks that may not be available to schoolboys, I'd have thought.
Re: How many hackers does it take to change a lightbulb?
"Seriously, you'd hope - against all common sense and reason - that anything that was actually critical would be a long, long way from being accessible over the internet."
Actually, there's a lot of good reasons why some SCADA is internet connected; obviously you would hope that it has adequate protection to misuse, but I don't think that we should consider that no infrastructure must ever be connected to the internet - in practical terms any remote access, for example leased lines within the PSTN could be equally vulnerable.
The most important measures are (1) good basic connection security, and (2) adequate safeguards to stop plant being crippled if that security is breached. As Stuxnet showed, air gapping won't necessarily protect you. In that case, a simple independent speed governor on each centrifuge could have stopped the attack working, at a few dollars a pop. The most remarkable thing (if you believe Western accounts of the "success" of Stuxnet) was that the Iranians watched about 1,000 centrifuges go bang before they cottoned on.
Operators well might choose to persist with using the convenience of internet connectivity for their plant, and accept the risk of some modest inconvenience (for example DOS attacks, or even intrusion), but as long as the attackers can't cause lasting damage then the threat is of no greater severity than (say) the occasional power cuts we are already exposed to.
Re: Money for old rope.
"I'm considering signing up myself."
They'd probably recruit you. But if they wanted to do this, then the first person on the recruiters list should be that schoolboy arrested the other week. Script kiddie or not, he seemed to have caused some mayhem, which would appear to be the desired outcome of this half-a-billion-before-we've-even-started programme.
Having said that, I don't see any real world benefit to the UK from frittering £500m establishing the First Battalion Cyber Troublemakers, regardless of who they recruit. Looks like it is just politicians spending many hundreds of millions the country doesn't have on something it doesn't need and hasn't voted for. Business as usual, then.
"If the wind speeds were only Force 8, 40 knots, then a bit barn in a barn would have been quite enough to prevent any outage"
Beaufort scale refers to mean wind speed, not the peaks. At force 8 you could easily have gusts of twice the mean, and so the gusts could be around 80 knots, so over 90 mph. If you're after resilience then you'd design for a hundred of two hundred year event (and then maybe add a bit more just in case).
Re: Fines are fine
"Jail is better."
Putting the boot on the other foot, perhaps Google should stop their services being accessed from any French IP address, and systematically eliminate anything French from their search results. That would be most amusing.
Would France even exist if you could only find it with Bing?
"You can't trust everyone to ensure that their devices are in flight mode by themselves, not everyone knows how to do it and even those that do can make a mistake. I've landed before and suddenly felt my phone vibrate as a text came in when I was pretty sure that I had flight mode on."
I'm sure that every day hundreds of thousands of "live" phones are transported by air with no problems whatsoever. There's no way the cabin crew can check that passengers have turned off their phones, and there's no way of getting to phones in hold baggage once loaded.
If mobile phones are sufficient to endanger flight safety, then its about time that any aircraft not certified as fully mobile phone proof at all stages of flight had their air worthiness certificate revoked. I'm not in favour of allowing @rseholes to yap into their mobiles on planes, but lets not pretend this has anything to do with flight safety (other than the possibility of fisticuffs between passengers).
The only real safety dimension is perhaps the fire risk of lithium batteries. We've all seen the exploding laptop/tablet/phone stories, and sooner or later somebody's device is going to catch fire on an aircraft, and I hope I'm not on that flight. The subsequent reaction of the authorities will be interesting, since the only logical action is to accept the risk, or ban the transport of lithium powered devices by air....
Re: That last sentence says it all.
"MS have made vast strides in security and that most of the problems with Windows these days are caused by the users rather than the software itself."
Then get rid of users! They do nothing but mess up beautiful, nay, perfect IT architectures that would operate faultlessly if the malign influence of users could be eliminated. Imagine how much more efficient the average CIO's empire could operate without any filthy users making their unreasonable demands that the software and hardware actually work, easily and effectively!
Re: Not needed@ Ben Rose
"Thanks, interesting information, but it ignores the costs of running the electric water pump. Surely significant?"
In energy terms not that significant. A typical gas boiler will be in the 8kW to 20kW range, depending on the age and the property. The circulating pump will only be using around 60W. Even though 'leccy's more expensive, it's still a trivial amount compared to the gas when you consider the volumes used by the CH system. At 60W versus even 8kW, the fact that electricity is two or three times the price doesn't matter. The condensor fan is going to be, at a guess around 10W, so the same point applies.
Regarding the heat loss from the HW tank, unless you really need it (eg unpredictable shifts) you're better off having it on generous timer settings, and letting it cool down in between. You're right that a lot of the lost heat will got to space heating, but that's only useful if you'd have the CH on anyway. If it's an upstairs tank in an airing cupboard, then you're throwing away heat unless you've got about two feet of insulation in the loft above the tank, and you've done air tight sealing of any pipe runs into the loft space. That's because although the area's small, the heat differential will be on average twice that of the normal living space relative to the loft space. In the grand scheme these losses aren't huge, but why pay to waste the energy if you don't have to?
Re: one thing we do well in Britain is building regulations
"within a year all the houses he has tested will have a hole knocked in a wall and air brick fitted to solve condensation problems"
I'm not surprised. The air tightness requirements only work in the real world if you have heat recovery ventilation and probably humidity control. That's expensive, and only saves energy if properly installed and set up. Great for the sort of fancy clinical houses designed as showpieces by architects occupied by two bright, never-at-home twentysomething pseudo-hippies, but not something that looks ready for the mainstream anytime soon.
I suspect the public sector obsession with carbon and climate change will continue to push stricter standards, and then in a few years time there will be a shocking piece of research that finds that these modern houses have dreadful air quality, because the standards didn't sufficently allow for the gaseous and particulate emissions from gas hobs, oxidised cooking spills, carpet and furniture fumes, particulates from vacuum cleaners, aerosol over-spray, or even the scurf and gaseous emissions of the occupants.
Re: Not needed@ Ben Rose
"My boiler instructions say to run at MAX temperature when it's cold outside. This is apparently more efficient. In that case, why is it not more efficient at all times?"
In all conditions the maximum heat transfer rate is achieved with the highest primary circuit temperature, and that will be necessary in very cold conditions if your boiler is correctly sized for the property and a given "worst case" of heat loss, which usually translates to low temperatures, although humidity, wind and precipitation can have complicating effects. In those very cold conditions, a properly sized boiler would be operating almost continuously, with just a bit of slack for hot water needs. As you'll have observed that's rarely the case and reflects the fact that historically, most boilers were considerably over-sized, which kept people warm, but meant you didn't have an efficient system, and used more gas than you needed to.
The reason why maximum heat transfer rate isn't necessarily the optimum in other conditions is because you don't then need full output of the boiler, and if you are pumping heat energy out of the boiler faster than the system can use it then either the house thermostat is shutting off the heating frequently, leading to short cycling (see below), or the return flow to the boiler is above the ideal temperature, in which case the temperature difference within the boiler isn't high enough for efficient heat transfer, and the primary circuit 'stat will start to cycle the boiler.
And now....cycling. The reason you don't want short boiler cycles is because every time you ignite the boiler, a volume of partially burnt gas is vented, which is an energy loss. The boiler, being vented to the world, cools down quickly, so with every ignition you're reheating the boiler internals, another energy loss. And when the burners are turned on or off the lower flue temperatures until the boiler stabilises mean the condensor won't be working at optimal efficiency. Those losses are quite small, but under optimal conditions a good condensing boiler can be 92% efficient - in the real world it doesn't take much to start to significantly reduce that. Other influences on cycling can include TRV's fighting with the house stat, poorly sited house stats, and perhaps worst of all, poorly balanced radiators. If the radiators are properly sized, then for optimal system operation the heat loss between the inflow and outflow should be 11 C. I'm a bit of a loon, I've spent fifteen quid on an infra red laser thermometer, and I've balanced my system. Who else does that? Most plumbers operate to rules of thumb like "close the lock shield valve and then open it three quarters of a turn" which does nothing to balance the system (lock shield valve is the exit end of the radiator, usually covered with a non-turning cap to stop people messing with the set up).
The reality is that modern condensing boilers are quite efficient pieces of kit. However, all plumbers, and most other aspects of central heating design and control remain in the dark ages, and having a crApp to remotely control the heating, or even a programmeable thermostat doesn't alter that. The best systems would monitor both inside temp and humidity, would monitor external temp and windspeed, calculate estimated heat loss from its own output, adjust the primary circuit temperature automatically, and use individual readiator controls not just to turn radiators on and off, but to balance the system. And it would have a programmeable house thermostat that starts off with some sensible timing and temperature defaults, and then learns what the occupants do (including some experimenting like turning the heating down occaisionally to see if the occupants react), as well as some sensors to work out when the house is unoccupied, and react automatically.
"For houses in a place like Britain where there are lots of old homes that aren't efficient and lots of new homes that are almost as crappy this is especially true."
Actually, one thing we do well in Britain is building regulations. Bureaucratic, conservative and very restrictive, but broadly speaking very good at ensuring compliance with standards. So the majority of new homes are built to a very good standard of energy efficiency. In very rough numbers 80% of UK houses have properly insulated lofts (more than 200mm of insulation), 80% have insulated cavity walls, and 80% have decent double glazing. There's still a sizeable minority of older houses lacking in some or all of these measures, but things aren't as bad as some think.
The sizeable minority of older houses you've got a point on are dominated by cheaply built terraced houses in former industrial towns, but even with these increasingly we are seeing double glazing installed, which does wonders for the air tightness. That certainly doesn't bring it up to new new build or passivhaus standards, I grant, but certainly sufficient to negate the idea that turning the themostat up will immediately leak out through the gaps.
And the standard of the older houses is being improved (for selected Labour voting poor) by levies on electricity bills, resulting in about £2bn a year being spent by power companies to fix (mostly) rented housing, which is great for the occupants, great for the landlords, not so good for anybody that actually pays their own bill with earned money. This government policy is unfortunately flawed, because it is encouraging investment in crappy life expired housing stock (eg cramped, damp, solid walled terraced housing) much of which should be subject to slum clearance, and replaced with something modern.
Re: What a waste of time and money@ Don Jefe
I suspect the supposedly cosmopolitan Brits don't much follow your humour, generally having little experience of either the hot air heating systems common in the US, or regions where heating is the least of your worries. But I enjoyed your comment.
Re: Not only in Waterloo
"I understand Google is also keen on picking up people escaping from Redmond…"
Why? Code wise, Microsoft have done nothing of late, indeed nothing really since NT. There's been various lipstick put on the pig (or a halloween mask in the case of Windows 8), but the only core skills at Redmond are sticking fingers in ears whenever the customer's voice might otherwise be heard, politicking, and operating a slow and surly bureaucracy.
Maybe Google do want a piece of that.
Re: Have you got figures for Earth?
"How about some figures for the remainder?"
Only a refusenik would be positing a question that a search engine can answer in 0.35 seconds on a slow day....Did you get somebody else to type this for you?
Re: Stock valuation floor.
"The stock valuation floor of any company is potentially $ 0. If anybody buys anything it will only be the patents."
Au contraire, mate, there's some good pickings on this carcass. Not only are there substantial (if declining) revenues from customers, but there's plenty of tangible assets on the balance sheet, and more staff to be fired to prop up the P&L. To avoid repeating myself:
Fairfax aren't stupid, they could double their money by a controlled two year shutdown of Blackberry. The main things to consider are that the brand is now all but worthless, the work in progress is worthless, the customer base is evaporating, and there's no chance of turning this round. In which case you approach the business like an administrator, looking to minimise outflows, maximise inflows, and recover the most money you can, rather than trying to pretend this is an enduring business.
Vultures fulfil a useful function of cleaning things up; in this case they have been circling for a while, all wanting a piece of the action, but not wanting to move too soon. For real vultures you want to make sure you don't get eaten by a real predator, for the financial vultures they are just trying to strike a balance between waiting for things to get bad enough for a good price, but hoping not to let somebody else gazump them. It'll be sad to see Blackberry go, but go they must.
The same story of corporate life and death will be told many times again; I'm looking forward to the day that it will feature Microsoft.
"So all this "nobody is buying a 5c" talk is nonsense... even in America in in 4 people choose a C over an S?"
No, you've read that graph wrong, unfortunately. I had to use the "I wondered who'd spot that first" clause yesterday due to posting rubbish. Looks like your turn today.
Re: Compliance and Annoyance in One Easy Step
"I don't like the idea of mass collected data being used by any government, it is bound to escalate and be used in the future far outside of its initial purpose. "
I'm sorry Don Jefe, you're behind the times. Your and my government have already escalated data collection to cover as much as possible as has been well documented of late. Here in the UK the unaccountable quango known as ACPO (association of chief police officers) already have a system deployed to read, monitor and record number plates for the purposes of tracking and recording individual movements on the UK's trunk roads, so the UK's Stasi already have that.
However, the UK Highways Agency (generally speaking one of our better government operations) merely maintain, operate and upgrade our major roads, so they actually have a reasonable excuse for tracking vehicle movements, but ACPO aren't sharing the information they've hoovered up (although the ACPO ANPR cameras are often mounted on Highways Agency property). Moreover, simple induction or pressure traffic counters don't tell you important things like the routes taken by vehicles, which is important when looking to (say) improve junction design.
As others have said, this is benign use of data by an organisation actually trying to provide me with a service, rather than an unaccountable bunch hoping to track my movements "just in case I might commit a crime".
Re: Lost strategy@Khaptain
" I think the British have an world class sense of humour, but the French really know how to bite, especially concerning politics."
Not much left to bite in British politics. How do you satirise David Cameron, when he's already so shiny faced, effete, camp, and spineless? How do you make a funny puppet of Hampstead socialist Ed Milliband when he was born with a Fluck & Law face and a matching lispy voice? And how can anybody mock "Everybody Hates Nick" - taking the mickey out of Clegg would have all the comedy value of setting fire to a tramp.
If the French are still able to do decent political humour, then the rest of the EU should impose a tax on them for unfair enjoyment, and give the money to Spain and Greece.
"Less and less about terrorism, more and more about business espionage. It's colonisation by another name."
Colon-isation, I'd suggest. The NSA are up everybody's back passage.
"Seems to me, everyone needs services but no one wants to pay for them, instead handing the money to buy a shiny bit of sh*t in your pocket."
Not sure what remote socialist planet you're living on, but we have no f***ing choice but to pay for them. Government spending is about 40% of GDP. Nationally, of every tenner earned by business or employees, four quid is expropriated by government to spend on "services".
From where I sit those services include a completely out of control "benefits" system, which cannot even provide basic management information and which leaves many in need whilst featherbedding more than a few, an education system that overall costs roughly £6k per pupil, but gets barely half of that through to the average classroom, and health service that is a model of random disorder. And whilst out politicians bleat about poverty, they fritter £13bn a year on foreign aid, and foist an energy policy on this country that is rapidly and persistently increasing our bills.
Personally I'd rather keep my money and choose what to spend it on, although I fully recognise that you feel politicians and civil servants can spend your money better than you can.
"A bit of swift action from their sugar daddy could cure that, and we might see this fruit turn itself around"
Dream on! Blackberry are losing customers, losing market share, losing staff, losing money. Do you spot a trend in those?
Now, what have Pansonic, Nokia, Ericsson, Siemens, NEC have in common? That they couldn't make money from smartphones and one way or another got out of that business, or sold it on. Motorola couldn't make money either, and couldn't even find a buyer until Google stepped in, but whether they are here for the long haul remains to be seen. As Motorola aren't making any Nexus devices, you have to question Google's real commitment.
If this deal goes through, then we have a fading technology firm being bought by a private equity investor. There's plenty to pillage on the balance sheet, and more slashing to be done on the P&L, and residual income to be garnered over the next 18 months of decline. Burying Blackberry like that will be enough to double Fairfax's money. Why would they take a risk trying to invest several billion dollars more in a market where big, clever, well resourced firms like those name above have failed, in a company that has tried a "make or break" strategy that has resulted in a "break" outcome, and when only two handset companies in the world are actually making any worthwhile margins?
Re: Sad end for a once great company...
"It will interesting to see who will be next."
No, it won't be, because it'll be HTC.
Turnover cratered to a third of its 2011 high, operating margin down from 9% to 1.5%, NT$20bn of cash used in operations last quarter, executives fighting to get out of the door, executive fraud.....
All of two weeks ago I wondered in a posting who of Nokia, Blackberry and HTC would be first to enter the mobile makers graveyard, and we've since seen two of them roll over on their back. Unless things look up at HTC (which seems unlikely to me) then HTC will soon crash and burn, and be bought probably by somebody like Lenovo, or one of the less well known Chinese makers who want access to brand and know how that is better than their own.
Curiously that might mean that whilst the Nokia name will disappear as the brand fascists of Microsoft borg the business, and the Blackberry name is buried in a shallow grave north of the artic circle, the HTC name might survive as a front for somebody like Sagetel, Haier, Meizu or the like, along with possibly the HTC manufacturing and design.
OTOH, maybe HTC will spring back from the edge of the precipice. But mobile phone makers don't seem very good at that, when you think about mobile phone tombstones with names on the like Ericsson, Siemens, Nokia, Blackberry, Panasonic, NEC. Motorola and LG have been looking a bit troubled as well.
Re: Worth it for patent trolls?
" So, could the consortium make all their $4.7b back by selling smallish IP chunks to the PT maggots descending on the carcass that was BB?"
Not from that alone. But there's plenty of value in a dead dinsosaur.
Bear in mind that even in decline and making accounting losses, Blackberry have turned about $2bn a year of cash from operations last year. So there's the sum of the IP sold to the maggots, but there's also the cash from operations during a controlled run down.
Admittedly they made zip from cash in the last quarter, but if you look at where the money went you can see diamonds in the dirt. For example, they spent $358m on R&D last quarter. If the business is no longer one with a long term future, then close or sell that, and pocket the savings. Likewise, the losses of the last quarter include $180m of amortisation, which is not a cash item (money spent long ago, being moved round the accounts). Again, as a dying business you can (they have perhaps already) taken out at least $150m of cash spend from sales and marketing, which together with the end of R&D would yield up perhaps $500m of cash from operations a quarter. On an annualised basis Fairfax should be able to ring out about $2bn a year of cash from Blackberry in the next twelve months, maybe $1bn the following year.
Then there's the assets on the balance sheet. In very rough terms, add in half of the $2.2 bn of property plant and equipment, the circa $3bn of investments and cash, assume they only get $0.5bn from the patent trolls, and Fairfax have found $4.6bn down the back of the sofa.
Pulling the declining cash from operations together with the asset sales, you can see that Fairfax will make $7.6bn for an outlay of $4.7, assuming they simply let the customers evaporate, rather than sell BBM or the enterprise customers en bloc. And as Blackberry have already announced the firing of 40% of the workforce, potentially much of the costs of dismemberment have already been incurred. If you could sell any of the customer bases to Microsoft or others, then potentially there's another billion or so.
Alive, Blackberry is a difficult business to make money and keep as a long term business. Dying or dead it is a goldmine so long as you don't have to pay too much for it.
"I would have a lot more respect for Tesco today if they had called this thing the Tesco Value Tablet."
Don't forget that far too many Tesco Value products have a defining quality of having been "value engineered" to the point that all utility is lost.
Cynics might argue that we're both right, given that this is reportedly made by Archos.
Re: A bit late to the party arent they?
"Even more pedantic note: 60 notes = £300. Unless they phase out the £5 note half way through..."
Notwithstanding the much rumoured, but as yet undelivered icon makeover, there is no icon for "hangs head in shame due to inability to do simple mental arithmetic", so I shall just brazen it out by declaring that I wondered who'd spot that first
Or I could mumble about inflation meaning that modern currency isn't worth what it used to be.
Re: A bit late to the party arent they?
"For sixty notes and a spec like that they can probably come to the party any time they like."
It's only sixty quid if you trade in Clubcard vouchers for the difference. Admittedly there's a multiplier on clubcard voucers, but that's true for most other uses (days out, meals, holidays etc) so the true price in cash and benefits foregone remains the equivalent of £120 unless you just happen to be sitting on a pile of vouchers that you couldn't find anything to spend on.
The interesting thing will be the actual quality of the device. If they can do a decent quality screen, and the device is acceptably reliable, then it will be a very good offer.
Pedant note: Sixty notes will of course be £400, if you're talking about legal tender on the UK mainland.
Re: Practical Innovation
"The Tramp: guess what my chances of getting funding would be..."
Certainly right. But you'll be pleased to know that the Technology Strategy Board is spending millions on a mission to help China improve its manufacturing and "meet its sustainability challenges". The idea of helping China's efforts to deindustrialise Europe can only be described as criminally stupid.
As with everything David Cameron touches, the bonfire of the quangoes was a miserable failure, so we'll have to hope that despite decades of previous government failure to find and back winners has now been fixed. As the TSB spend around £40m a year in costs to hand out about £400m, they aren't looking very efficient, but maybe all that administration is picking the winners.
Re: Do most people need Java any more?
Bl00dy Minecraft. A horribly, blocky, ****y pile of total and utter ****. And they add injury to insult by doing it in f***ing Java.
Writing minecraft in Java was a bit like making car from twigs. Technically it is impressive feat of endurance and determination, but the resultant product is still a misbegotten load of old rubbish.
Re: “auto-brewery” syndrome
"I'll take one. Make it two. And a packet of pork scratchings."
Rub your hand in salt, then stick it in the deep fryer for "auto-pork scratchings syndrome".
Which brings to mind the work of English literary genius that was "Horace".
Re: Not a shock--- so report it...
"I believe that once a pot hole ( or other serious road defect) is reported to the appropriate authority then any damage suffered as a result of it could be claimed from the appropriate authority. Once reported it is their responsibility."
That's correct, but some councils like the vermin of Warwickshire County Council expect you to prove that the pothole has been reported in order to make a claim. Unless you happen to know that, they tell you to sod off. Or rather WCC pay some scumbag law firm to tell you to sod off.
"100lb is a bit weedy for a gorilla, surely?"
Alright, they could have been the 100lb chimp of telematics. Or maybe if they weren't too active, the 100lb sloth.
Re: Friday Afternoon Reminder
"The word and has a letter D on the end of it."
No, it has a letter d on the end of it. Or did you mean "The word anD has a letter D on the end of it." ?
Footnote: I think the combination of ." ? at the end of that last sentence may be a high risk gamble on my part when posting as a pedantic grammar nazi. The exciting life I lead.
"If only BB could release low-end BB10 handsets, they might get back some of the smartphone market. Not all of us are app hoarders."
Too late for that. Just as Nokia wasn't sufficiently nimble against the emerging Apple & Android competition, so BB weren't. For the six years or so that took us from the original iPhone and Galaxy through to the iPhone 5 and the S4, regardless of apps, BB simply wasn't in that hardware market, with (until far too recently) no good hardware other than for hardware keyboard fetishists, and no credible OS for the smartphone world. Had the latest products been launched three years earlier, they might have had a chance,but when you lay off 40% of your workforce, and you're not selling your new product, developed as a "bet the ship" gamble, there's nowhere to go (other than Redmond).
All but the most ignorant phone buyers can smell smoke and hear the crackle of flames, so nobody in their right mind (other than hardware rooters) is going to buy anything labelled Blackberry now, sadly.
Re: I expect to be greeting them soon - DITTO!
That just ruined it all for me! Do you really think he's going to do anything to harm the business after he just bought it for £15 Bn?! He isn't going to be a billionaire for very long if he buys up businesses for that much then ruins them over a measly £30 Mill. Isn't it just possible he knows how to improve VM? Give the guy a chance. He's been in the industry for a long time.
Well actually I've seen this happen. I worked for Torex Retail when the then directors blew it apart in an attempt to defraud the shareholders. The company went bust, and was bought by venture capitalists backed by Cerberus. The big knobs of the deal were already multi-millionaires -one of them lived in tax exile in Switzerland, for example, and all had ERP/software backgrounds. They splurged a load of their own money, Cerberus' money, and debt on buying the company (itself a suspect transaction, but that's another long story that may yet make the headlines), and promptly fired all of the middle and senior management. After about four years of losses and no growth they had to sell the business on to Micros (the US based EPOS specialist) and take a big hit. If you're reading this Greenough, Cooksley, three words for you: Ha ha ha.
An example you'll have seen is when Debenhams was taken private, and the new owners pillaged the business, made the service worse, tried to rip off the balance sheet through property sale and leasebacks, and then they tried to refloat it, hoping to offload the cash strapped hulk on dopey investors. They did float it, but not at the price they hoped for.
Having said all that, I didn't say he'd ruin the the company, I said he'd ruin the customer service. Given the crappy competition there is from BT broadband, he won't harm the financial value of his asset for some years. In fact, I fully expect to see some form of "price restructuring" that will put my VM bills up. I've dealt with a couple of billionaires, and they don't do fripperies like customer service, or value for money.
Re: I expect to be greeting them soon - DITTO!
the burgeoning managment culture (at the expense of those who actually have to deliver) is a big problem in sectors with semi-monopolies and some parts of the public sector. It has certainly had a signicant role in the recent debacles at places like the BBC, the Mid Staffs NHS Trust and the generally poor performance of our privatised utilities.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but on the subject of utilities and their "burgeoning management culture", I can speak from some experience, having both worked in a number, and for companies in the shareholder and privately held sectors. And, what's more I've run third party programmes to benchmark the performance of the utilities, with the finding that they are CONSIDERABLY leaner in management than most public held firms. Privately held firms are leaner still, but that's both because the owner-managers do more and take more out, and because IME they will take the choice to be riskier (for example on audit or compliance) and pocket the savings.
We can argue the toss about the other cases you claim - personally I'd argue that the problem in both cases was poor quality of management, not too much of it, and that also fed into a poor organisational culture.
This won't help VM, because it's been US managed for some years now, and its unlikely that there's many hundreds of superfluous middle managers doing nothing. What this is about is an obscenely rich Yank billionaire taking it private and reasoning that yes, it will fuck customer service, but what the hell, he needs the £30m quid these people are collectively paid more than they do.
Wanted: Thieves with good eyesight
" thieves are on the lookout for the distinctive new mobes"
They'll need good eyesight, as these look like any other smartphone of the day.
I suppose the most worried will be Lumia owners, whose garish plastic babies were previously theft proof, but may now be swiped in a tragic case of mistaken identity that all concerned will rue.
"To be blunt the 1020 does not & will not appeal to the cognoscenti"
In an otherwise excellent and entertaining post, you're wrong on this assertion. There's lots to not like about the 1020 and you make a good case on those elements, but unlike most phones of the past few years it has a unique sales proposition. There is nothing else with a camera like this. Every other 1020 feature is very much par for the course on an expensive smartphone (excepting Nokia Maps which continues to best all other bundled or free offers).
Now consider what's the difference between a Iphone 5, a Sammy S4, and whatever today's top of the line HTC is? Not much, really - polished operating systems, adequate cameras, big screens, some form of mapping, access to app stores bursting at the seams with useless crapware. But Nokia now have something on offer that differentiates them (or rather they have just differentiated themselves but sold this competitive advantage to Microsoft).
If I were either of the big two in smartphones, I'd be worried. Neither have really added any killer technology or application to their hardware for three years or more, neither have really delivered polished navigation and mapping that you'd want to rely on.
I'm not in the target market, and I don't like Microsoft, but even I can see that this offers something distinctive. Expect plenty of celebrity and movie product placements, and I'm sure MS will be bribing app developers to offer their wares into the Winpho app store, so there's billions going to be pushing this.
"It has been aimed at the Girlie market"
I'm sure you're right, and that it will sell, and that first day sales aren't the real deal.
But I did wonder how many in the queue were shamed by the "show of hands" request, and having arrived hoping to buy a 5C actually ended up walking home with a 5S. After all, Apple, it's all about peer pressure.
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