|There is something deeply wrong with this summer. Where is the lazy careless fun? Isn’t August supposed to be the month when one can have a casual three-hour lunch with a colleague and no one would notice? The London riots, the hysteria around the quasi-departure of Steve Jobs, the inclusion of the word “woot” into the Oxford dictionary, the ambitious valuation of Rovio- every week saw a new major story unveiling.|
Story of the month
The departure of Jobs
On Wednesday, 24th August Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple and moved to become the chairman of the board. Expected as the event was, it caused a shockwave of truly bizarre proportions. Despite the predictable media hysteria, Jason Snell of Macworld wrote a rather sobering piece on why the world is not going to end just yet.
Irrespective of the future of Apple Inc., Jobs should be remembered and scrupulously studied by future generations of marketeers worldwide. His presentations are energetic, competent and genuinely passionate about the most insignificant of details. Whether unveiling the original Macintosh in 1984, or Mac OS X in 2000, the man looks and acts like a magician aweing partners and rivals alike.
Those unfamiliar with the history of the largest IT company in the world, will find this documentary informative. For those with a little more time (or passion for the subject) we dug out the interview Steve Jobs gave to Daniel Morrow of The Computerworld Smithsonian Awards Program. Recorded over 15 years ago, it sheds a little light on the extraordinary success Apple enjoyed after Jobs’ return, demonstrating the incredible insight of the man once dubbed the Saddam Hussein of Silicon Valley.
The most inspiring pitch of the month was certainly delivered by the, at this point already famous, grad students from Atlanta’s Creative Circus advertising school. What would most young people do if they wanted Jon Hamm (the actor who plays Don Draper on the hit TV-series Mad Men) to speak at their commencement? Hire an imitator? Organise a public petition online? Try to approach Hamm through Social Media? Three students made Creative Directors of major advertising agencies pitch the idea to Hamm on their behalf.
Bloomberg Businessweek provides priceless insight into the world of 2010, putting together a list of brands most popular in the United States that year. Uninspiring as the result might be, it is calculated from an enormous amount of data and portrays a rather honest, if not too appealing, picture.
Last month we mentioned the media explosion caused by the discovery of fake Apple stores in China’s Kunming. After the digest for July was published, another few dozen stores replicating popular western brands have been uncovered in the capital of southwest China. At first glance the situation seems laughable, at the second- absurd and somewhat annoying. This well-argued article suggests that western businessmen are not exactly guilt-free, in their helpless naivety trying to command the consumer of the 21st century.
In the middle of the month Google did what seems to make perfect sense: it bought Motorola Mobility. Unlike the ever-acquiring Facebook, Google has been sitting on a large pile of cash that is about to get $12.5 billion thinner. The decision of Android OS developer to buy a major Android mobile maker caused a surprisingly aggressive reaction of the market, forcing Google CEO Larry Page to explain his decision to the media. The interview didn’t seem to convince Standard & Poor who has advised investors to sell Google’s stock. In this report, Larry Dignan of ZDNet explains why the acquisition makes sense in half-a-dozen bullet points.
Had Steve Jobs not resigned, the news of the month would certainly be the incredible rise of his company. The headlines all around the world exploded in unison: Apple, the company on the verge of bankruptcy less than fifteen years ago became the largest in the world. The largest by market capitalisation, but who cares about the technicalities? In the sea of emotional reports, usually reviewing the history of the gadget maker, Ars Technica puts things in perspective, analysing various criteria of corporate valuation.
Although Apple is obviously not the largest enterprise in the world or even in the United States, the following piece is worth reading. Should you be wondering what Apple has besides a cult of edgy supporters eager to pay a premium, we have the answer.
Hewlett Packard, the world’s largest computer maker, announced its plans to “go IBM”; and leave personal computer and mobile devices to others. Avoid the instinctive reaction to see HP as the ageing wolf, leaving the pack due to its inability to hunt. By buying Autonomy, a British software-maker, HP may be doing a very smart thing that promises to secure company’s future for many moons.
Media & Technology
Even for people who have enjoyed those hot August days in absolute safety, the London riots of 2010 were immensely frustrating. Most were appalled by the aggression of the youthful participants, some criticised the weakness of the Metropolitan Police. The only subject everyone seems to agree on is the importance of Social Media in street protests. Amongst the vast number of articles arguing the toss over the philosophical “is Social Media good or bad?”; the following piece examines the evolution of Blackberry smartphones from enterprise business tools to the favourite toy of jobless youngsters.
Research In Motion has unveiled plans for a social network that will allow people to stream and share practically unlimited amounts of music for just £5 a month. The idea seems very neat: users will have online and offline access to 50 tracks of their own as well as the collections of their social circles. The screenshots look decent. The only, but obvious, handicap I could think of is that this obviously consumer-targeted service desperately lacks branding. The extensive and very positive ZDNet report refers to it as BBM Music- not the most inspiring of names. In the meantime, Ars Technica has analysed Blackberry’s position on the market and came to an unexpected conclusion: in spite of the 47% rise in earnings last year, the company is in serious trouble.
Can people who don’t work set hours have fixed holidays away from the office? Are we turning into the society of the obsessed, working every day to our retirements (or, rather, deaths) and enjoying it? When was the last time you went away for at least a week and didn’t think of checking work emails? Every age has its customs; the culture of our times seems to be calling for Worlidays.
Surrounded by crowdsourcing, we have lost respect for professional critics. If anyone can publish a review in blogs and forums, why would the opinion of so-called professionals be more important than that of your mate who really knows a good burger when he sees one? Since we are on the subject, why would the opinion of a paid writer be worth more than your own? You have access to the public, can write, you even got a special commendation for that report you wrote in school. What makes them think they know better? Tom Harrow offers nostalgic view on the art of food criticism.