Category Archives: Finance

The pope’s mobile is on the clock

 

Hickory Dickory dock, the pope ran up the clock,

The clock struck one, and hit his bum, Hickory Dickory dock.

An old rhyme slightly adjusted and gives light to a joke that mattered, it is old and it goes like:

Q: Why does the pope kiss the ground when he arrives?
A: You’ve never flown with Alitalia have you?

That is where we are, the clock is counting down; Alitalia is on its last legs and merely has two weeks left. As sources report that EasyJet pulled out of the race and even as Delta is still on board, someone needs to be found for the remaining 40% and that is the hard ball, consider on how much of an issue Alitalia is when people like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates will not take a shine to it, it might be too harsh to call Alitalia a money pit, but that is what is amounts too. The flight market is close to saturated, even as we all needed to fly (quite literally) 20 years ago, the companies started to figure out not to give their profits to the airlines. On a global scale close to 9750 planes were in the air last year at any given time, transporting up to 1.3 million people. The operative part is ‘at any given time‘, so how much travel is required nowadays? In 1998 I was flying close to 21 weeks that year, giving trainings and doing consultancy round the clock, at times living from a suitcase with added support from my laptop giving IT trainings and software training. I circled the planet twice that year, from Amsterdam, New York, Atlanta, Sydney, Singapore, Istanbul, via Munich and back to Amsterdam. I thought it was great and as long as the profits were outshining the costs, my bosses kept on sending me to more locations, it was all fine by me. These days are over, even as we see more and more airports expanding to ‘facilitate’ for more passengers, we see a dangerous curve, Stockholm Arlanda is expanding to facilitate for 40 million visitors a year. The numbers give us that the top 25 carriers facilitated for 13,718,655 passengers and if they are all tourists, that would be fine, yet the business side is not adding up. You see 15 out of the 25 had a decrease the went up to 27.3%, the lowest 10 were below 4.5%, still they were all still decreases and the largest increase came from Riga, Latvia.

Now consider that on the other side, on the airline side, apart from the element where we see that Alitalia had no operating profit between 2009 and 2015 with added low points of well over minus a quarter of a billion, the setup of airlines seems to be too odd.

I do get it, a nations having a national airline is a matter of pride, we get it, but at what cost? The airline has about 100 planes as part of the mainline fleet and the cost of doing business is just too high, there is no decent chance that whomever owns the airline might do so, so that they can say that they own an airline, it seems the weirdest of reasons, but from the financial view that is as much as we are going to get and the bad news is not done at this point.

You see, the work I used to do can be done remotely more and more, when 5G is totally here, we can see the shift where the classes can be given remotely with a phantom screen and with the presentations running in the background, the speed will enable us to give individual service to all the participants in up to three locations at the same time, almost like remotely run classroom software with camera’s in all locations. At that point we will see even less traffic required implying that the business classes on these flights will be close to a thing of the past.

The more immediate and difficult part is that none of this is the fault of Alitalia. Yes, we can look at the scandals and the past sting operations, yet the foundation is not that, it is the need of people to travel. In that light the traveller will be the one using their local airline (like many would), some will select airlines for their service and there we see groups of people seeking flights by Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways and Emirates. So these airlines are also poaching local travellers as they have shown and proven themselves to be a cut above the others. When it comes to business and tourist Italy, we see decline of both and falling harder, yet Italy is still the destination to several countries, namely Germany, France, UK and US as the largest four. These four add up to 23%; the rest is from all over. So, what makes me the specialist? I am not; I am merely using common sense. 100 planes, in an age where their power is tourism and we are going into the summer season, but that setting is a stage that represents merely 18 weeks out of 52, the numbers and the economy do not support the fleet, or so it seems.

when we consider that Rome Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino supported 42,995,119 passengers last year, there is a decent case that I am seeing it wrong, but that is from all airlines, beside Alitalia, we see Air India, Emirates, Turkish Airlines, United, Etihad Airways, Thai Airways, Asiana Airlines, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, Air China, Lufthansa, Ethiopian Airlines, Finnair, British Airways, SWISS, EL AL Israel Airlines, Air France, Saudia, Ukraine International, Jet Airways, Air Canada, Egypt Air, KLM, Kuwait Airways, Brussels Airlines, Aeroflot, Korean Air, China Airlines, Singapore Airlines, China Southern, Iran Air, all flying to Rome, now we see a different picture, even as the airport needs the space and growth, we see no decent numbers on how the Alitalia flights are doing, some sources were giving me ‘No Data‘ and that is fair enough, but it makes a much stronger case that unless there is someone with deep pockets that Alitalia is on its last legs and in its final stage of a mere two week notice until it shuts down. Planes would be auctioned off and the lot to be repackaged for other management styles. And I do believe that the end is not in sight, Alitalia is not the only one in such a sordid state of affairs. I believe that the business case of airlines should have changed a long time ago, and it will get worse soon enough, as the oil price goes up, so do the prices of flights. You see the one element we seem to ignore is not the drop in non-tourist passengers. It is the fact that one barrel of crude oil only facilitates for up to 4 gallons of jet fuel, the turnaround is that high, 42 gallons can only make 4 gallons of jet fuel, after that it boils down to gasoline, diesel and other items, so when the barrel goes up in price, the impact is seen quite fast. Consider that a flight from Rome to New York takes 9 hours and 40 minutes (or 2,088,000 seconds), now consider that a 747 needs 1 gallon a second, so if the oil goes up by $1, the maximum cost of a flight would go up by 2 million times the price increase and we can only get 4 gallons bet crude oil barrel making it an optional increase of $500K per flight (which is not completely true as diesel and gasoline would need to bear part of those costs too, but with only 4 gallons to the barrel, jet fuel would take the hardest hit).

That part counts too and as such tourist numbers would go down to some degree, especially from America. These are all still mere elements in the hardship calculations, but the elements are starting to add up, more optional other choices, more localised incentives and less options for Alitalia, that is the sad reality for Alitalia. As far as I was able to see, the press (the non-Italian press) did not take a look at these elements. Even as the BBC did look at one element “At the time the Irish airline was struggling to contain the fallout from a pilot shortage, which led to the cancellation of flights for about 700,000 passengers“, the abundance of competition, as well as the dangers of fuel changes were not looked at. Yet there are other sources, Bloomberg (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-18/easyjet-drops-from-alitalia-bidding-in-setback-to-government) gave us a month ago that Delta is “exploring ways to work with Ferrovie dello Stato and maintain our partnership with Alitalia in the future“, yet I am not convince that they are in it with their heart and soul. Merely a stage where their accountants can optionally see plans for the Alitalia infrastructure and options to give Delta a streamline boost and let Delta grow in other ways accepting Alitalia to some degree for some time, yet how that ‘for some time‘ develops will remain an unknown. Part of it is seen with “Delta would take a 10 percent stake, which would double within four years if certain business goals are met“, yet these business goals are not really heralded by any party. In that regard Lufthansa was open and clear by stating that Alitalia needs to shed 40% of the workforce and that is where the cost of the Delta business goals are likely to be seen as well and that 40% will remain part of the problem. The Italian government would had to euthanise 40% of the workforce in a time when it could not afford to do so and that is the issue to the larger extent. If that knife is thrust hard and deep Alitalia might be around on April 30th, yet at present that is not a given, the pressured parties are not willing to get to that point until the 11th hour and at that point it might just be too late, because in the end the airline is not the only player, the airports will try to make sure that their part of the equation remains safe and there are plenty of airlines offering to ferry people to these locations making the equation unbalanced and unrealistic for the bookkeepers of Alitalia, a sad story for an airline that only recently made it to its 10th year.

 

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At the end of a journey

Today is not for the faint of heart, or those who are hindered by emotional parts, today is not merely about gaming, it is about the game. We are currently confronted with a few issues, the first one is given by the Guardian, was for two weeks. My initial issues with ‘Apple Arcade v Google Stadia: which is the future for video games?‘ is a simple stage. Why can’t we have both? I was never anti one or pro the other ever. I was not about Atari ST versus Amiga, I was not about CBM-64 vs Atari 800, I was also not about N64 vs PS1. My issue with Microsoft was their stupidity, as well as their refusal to listen to their gamers, that is the mere reason why the Nintendo Switch is now on par with the total Xbox lifetime sold consoles, it took Nintendo less than 2 years to get there and they got there, the most powerful console is now actively being surpassed by the weakest of the three consoles, that is the impact of stupidity (optionally ignoring Karma was partially a reason too).

So I believe that there is space for both, a case can be made for either console and even as we are most likely to get one of them first, there is a decent case for getting them both down the track. We will have to wait what is in store for us, yet the Google controller clearly looks like something we have seen before. Yet wait; only two days ago we see Microsoft Stupidity strike again. This time in the shape of the Microsoft CFO giving us: ‘Xbox CFO on Google Stadia: “Cloud Won’t Match Local Experience”‘, so thank you Tim Stuart (apparently he is the Xbox CFO), thank you for confirming this, the entire push of Cloud and always online is proven to be a bad choice, as I stated for the last 6 years. Too bad that you never considered the stupidity of your console choices years ago, you might not have become the underdog, defeated by the weakest of all next gen consoles.

I particularly enjoyed the passage (at https://mspoweruser.com/xbox-cfo-on-google-stadia-cloud-wont-match-local-experience/) “Microsoft believes that it will struggle in providing gamers enough content as the company doesn’t have strong ties to Game developers and publishers.“, it is merely a temporary delay at best, you see, when it came to exclusive games, Microsoft was nowhere to be found for almost two years, and when we see on how the magnificent growth through indie developers is seen on the Nintendo Switch (which surprised me too), we see that new players giving free value like (Gems of War) on IOS, android, PS4, XB1 and Switch is showing to be an amazing journey and for those who have all the consoles 500% more joy than ever expected. By having micro transactions, but not pushing them, we see a much larger market that will also benefit Google Stadia, then there is Fallout Shelter and there is a whole range of games that will find a happy audience on the Google Stadia (and its Apple adversary). So when it comes to Microsoft, they gambled and lost, they have remained short sighted as I expected them to be and they (as I personally see it) openly forsake their gamers for illusionary short term goals end their loss against their competitors is not done yet, not by a long shot.

So when I see “In an interview with The Telegraph, Microsoft’s Chief Marketing Officer for Xbox, Mike Nichols said, “Emerging competitors like Google have a cloud infrastructure, a community with YouTube, but they don’t have the content.”” I see a new level of shortsightedness. I see the failing from Mike Nichols. I designed three ideas in gaming in under a week and I am not even the visionary that some are, content can be corrected for; indie developers can make up the difference much faster than the barricades that Microsoft erected long ago.

Google has an optional trump card that none of the others used and as such has the open advantage much sooner than expected. The article has more laughable statements, but let’s move on for now. You see, Techradar had the right idea last week when it gave us ‘Google Stadia may be the first good use for 5G phones‘, the entire setting of 4G ‘Wherever I am’ and 5G ‘whenever I want it’ will find unification in Google Stadia and it will grow close to exponentially soon thereafter. Techradar also gives us: “Google executive Phil Harrison, meanwhile, confirmed that Stadia has already started gaining momentum and that Google received strong support from developers the game streaming platform which in theory solves one of the major concern regarding Stadia“, I do remain critical on the need to measure and keep in check those who are in it for the micro transactions and short term gain for themselves, they are not a joy, they are the Achilles heel of gaming soon enough, but the momentum counts and must not be ignored. Apple Arcade has a larger issue, Apple lost well over 450 billion in value and even as close to 50% of the loss has been regained, Apple cannot afford to be casual, there are 2 billion gamers in the world and if Apple does not play its cards right, they merely become another short term player in a game setting that they might not comprehend. Microsoft didn’t, that much is clear and they got hit and they got hit hard.

The other side

You see, the moment I ‘feared’ has come to town, there have been two games over the last year, two games that changed it all. The first is God of War 4; a game so amazing, so large and so perfect in almost every way that is boggles the mind. Even now, watching the total cut scenes on YouTube is a journey that is close to 6 hours. 6 hours that is a story supporting a game with graphic perfection that was unseen until that day. Now we see ‘Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice‘, a game with graphic and gaming perfection. Both games are PS4 exclusives, both are singular reasons to upgrade to the PS4 pro and both are challenges of the largest degree. It sounds morbid, but at the end of my life, I am finally seeing what should be regarded as the apogee of gaming. Finally I see something that equals and surpasses on what my imagination could perceive, after 40 years of gaming, we are finally getting the games that are the top in its field. Both for the Sony console. That is what Apple and Google are up against, yet they are not. With their solutions they are much more a trump solution for the 1 billion mobile gamers wanting a little more. Nintendo Switch with their docking station is proving the switch between on the road and the large TV screen, both regarded in equal measure on one system and with 5G google can do the same thing, Google Stadia could be a growth system (optionally much more than Apple) in the stage where systems are vying for a billion gamers. So even as Microsoft was (in my personal view) deceptive to hide behind “We’re developing Project xCloud not as a replacement for game consoles, but as a way to provide the same choice and versatility that lovers of music and video enjoy today,” they are eager to avoid the entire online only and pushing us towards their Azure desk. They opened that door and they are now learning that Google is much better in applying that very same portal, another battle lost for Microsoft (and they were never that ready to begin with). A game lost in one generation, what the Xbox360 build form the strong setting of the very first Xbox, the Xbox One pretty much lost and at present they have no options to regain that market any day soon, they wasted too much options on that road.

Google has an additional advantage, the bulk of all gamers have a modern TV, so form that part we see more than the Guardian gave us (at https://www.theguardian.com/games/2019/mar/27/apple-arcade-v-google-stadia-which-is-the-future-for-video-games) two weeks ago. With: “streaming would open games up to millions – if not billions – of people who don’t want or can’t afford to buy pricey equipment“, take that consideration with a $59 Chromecast to stream to your TV, at that point a person’s Mobile is going to be the centre for gaming, stream to TV with merely a mobile and a controller. That is the true growth for Google and even those who have a console; it will be enriching to take a turn to the options Google offers, any gamer would want to take that path. As I see the gaming solutions that the CBM-64, the Atari ST and the Amiga offered, a mere high resolution upgrade will make hundreds if not thousands of games, none of them IP protected, all offering the original designers a stream of additional wealth, all there for the taking and all there for the streaming. Some of the most original games, even now still regarded as awesome passing of time, all ready for the next few years. So there we see just how the statement “Microsoft believes that it will struggle in providing gamers enough content as the company doesn’t have strong ties to Game developers and publishers” is not just a weak one, it is one that can be overcome close to overnight, a mere state of denial by what was once great and is optionally now soon forgotten, the mere application of not listening to gamers and keeping the focal point of greed and dependency got them there and now soon to be surpassed not once, but optionally twice. How is that for a lack of vision. Even as I see more solutions that could set a wining stage on the Xbox 360, now it will be the stage that fuels optionally both the Google as well as the Apple solution to gaming.

The games they provide will not equal the two games mentioned or what the PS3 pro offers for now, but as we clearly knew and what Nintendo Switch has proven to us, the most powerful console does not win, the best game does and when we see that, when we see that great gaming has existed for decades, yet some of these titles were forgotten, or better stated not played on current systems, they are not dead, they can be revived in the new gaming world that is introduced by Apple and Google.

So what was three is now set to the stage of 5 and in that stage we know the top  two, yet in the end Microsoft could fall back to 4th position soon enough, when that happens will they finally wake up in Microsoft land, or will we get more marketing and statements that can be laughed at soon thereafter. Gaming is a much more serious business than most realise and those who do not will not last long in that place, so the need to listen to the gamers was always a first, the one part that Microsoft never considered for the longest of times, that is why they are sliding from 2nd to 3rd and soon enough optionally 4th. If I am still around in 2022, I wonder if my words will be shown and proven to be correct. For Microsoft to gain momentum they will require to make massive changes to their way of thinking and with both Google and Apple entering that field, will they change fast enough, and more important, will they finally truly listen to their gaming population?

Time will tell.

 

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As perception becomes awareness

That is the stage we often face, we perceive we acknowledge, we become aware and that awareness becomes the reality we face towards the new reality we did not comprehend before. It is usually not that great a path to be on, especially when you see that the path you are on has a distinct route taking you to exactly the place no one wanted you to be.

Yet for the CAAT (Campaign against the Arms Trade), especially Andrew Smith, and optionally both Martin Chamberlain QC and Liam Fox as well. It is important to see that these people are not evil, they are not delusional and they are not entirely wrong, yet the reality that was given by CNBC half a day after my article ‘When the joke is on us all‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/04/07/when-the-joke-is-on-us-all/) is now entering a new dimension. As CNBC gives us ‘Russian expansion in the Middle East is a ‘clear reality on the ground,’ WEF president says‘, we are also given: “Moscow has signed technical agreements and memoranda of understanding to sell its S-400 and other weapons to Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar“, there is now optional noise that this could include a nice batch of shiny new MIG’s, as well as a few other items where we see that the UK is soon to lose the option to make £5 billion for its treasury giving the BAE Systems now headaches to content with. Anything that is related or connected to the UK facilitating to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia could optionally not happen, or will be receiving the standard ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you‘ status. Isn’t ideology great?

We might all (including me) accept the quote: “There is “overwhelming evidence” of violations of human rights law by both the Saudi-led coalition and other forces in Yemen, lawyers for the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) told the court on Tuesday.” Most will be forgetting that to all interpretation, the Houthi forces are terrorist forces. Their connection with Hezbollah and Iran is not enough, the short and sweet is that they were not an elected government, they merely moved towards a coup d’état and instigated the war we see now.

So there we are, I now have to talk to the United Aircraft Corporation, owned and founded by Vladimir Putin and the parent organisation of the makers of the MIG, so as I try to get a meeting with the ‘Pоссийская Самолетостроительная Корпорация‘, on being their new exclusive contact for sales to Saudi Arabia (yes, I know, I have no chance in hell there, but I remain an eternal optimist), we see on how the high nosed ideologists are costing the UK billions, all that whilst the opposite of what the Saudi coalition is facing has been ignored or trivialised by a lot of people. You merely have to see what you can on Al-Manar (Lebanese satellite television station affiliated with Hezbollah, broadcasting from Beirut, Lebanon) to realise that Hezbollah is still a player there, it is less visible when it comes to Iran, Iran is playing the field low key and on what some call the down low. Even as the evidence is clear that Houthi forces have Iran drones, the way they got them remains unclear, speculated, but not proven and that too must be noted.

Yet in this era, and under these settings we now see that due to the CAAT, the UK will lose more footing and will have less of a voice at the grown up table that is trying to resolve the issues in Yemen. In the end the CAAT achieved nothing but the dwindling revenue stream for the UK, yet the Russian Federation will be grateful and if I get the job, I will send a huge hamper to the three parties involved (after my first bonus payment that is), the voice makers so to say.

This is the setting that governments and large corporations created form 2004 onwards, we all might have a huge national pride, but in the end, we need to sell, we need to make the cash that is required for rent and food and those in a stage where they set high moral borders in places where the impact is actually zero, you have no value, you have no gain, you merely end up with unpaid bills.

Now if governments had done something about the FAANG group 15 years ago, it would be different, but that is not the case, that is not the reality we face. You see, the fighters are just the start, as we enabled the Russians to get a foot in the door, they now have a direct path to both Syria (they already had options there) as well as Saudi Arabia (and optionally Qatar) to start deploying (read selling and training) these nations on the Altius-M drone. Especially in places where the price of a fighter is basically the same as three drones, drones will be the path many nations go and even as the America Predator looks leaner and meaner, the acts of US Congress as well as that from UK Parliament is now opening the doors for Russia, which is not a good thing (except if I get the job, it will be awesome at that point).

It goes from Bad to worse, especially for America. You see, the MIG-35 and the Altius-M are merely the start. In the end, the gold is found (for Russia that is) with the Sukhoi Su-57, I know little about that plane, yet the stories that it can outperform the F-35 are from sources that are not to be ignored, so even when we hear that the US has plans to counter that, in light of their failed USS Zumwalt comedy caper, those plans can be sneered at until they prove to work. And in the end it is almost as simple as: “Do you want this flag to be on a British, American, or Russian product?

This all matters!

You see, the arms race is important not because they are weapons, but because the economies get huge incentives through those commercialised items. The fact that at present 6 nations are on the list for that new gadget and in light of the high winded American response in the past on who was allowed to buy a F-22 Raptor and it was vetting its allies in a crazy way. Now, in all truth there might be a case for that (I honestly cannot tell), but now that we see that Russia is willing to sell to sovereign states and they have no bar, whilst we see the unconfirmed part of: “State-run Chinese media is claiming that the People’s Liberation Army has been able to track the U.S. Air Force’s Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor” implies that the stealth part is less stealthy than we thought it was, and any evidence will drive sales towards Russia too. All parts that had much less chance of happening as the UK systems were proven, they were great and now, or optionally soon, we get the resolution that sales to Saudi Arabia are off. Whether that is right or wrong is not for me to decide, but the fact that the £5 billion loss of revenue is triggering a $12 billion shift in other directions, optionally towards Russia is a part that most ignored to the larger extent, a sales path denied because people forgot that in any war, especially against terrorist forces, the people will always be in the middle. Oh, and if you think that it is all bad, consider that the makers of the F-22 Raptor (Lockheed Martin) also has other paths, so the F-22 profits also forges upgrades and new options in commercial flying, cyber solutions, Radar solutions, Communication platforms and a lot more, in that we see BAE Systems that has services in finance, Cyber security, Compliance solutions and a lot more. Now, the one sale towards Saudi Arabia might not impact it to the largest degree, but a change has been made and the competitors now get a larger slice to play with, and it can lead to additional repeat business, it is not a secret, it is not even an unknown, any person with a decent knowledge in Business Intelligence could have told you that and there is the problem, the one-sided ideology of CAAT is now optionally going to cost the UK a lot more than anyone bargained for.

As I said, I have nothing against ideologists and ideology is great when it can to some degree adhere to commercial reality, and selling to a sovereign nation is intelligent and common sense packaged together, yet when soft-hearted people overreact on events in Yemen, whilst the stage comes from Iranian funded terrorism, how can we go against that? The fact that 16 million Yemeni’s are in danger form several sides (disease and famine) whilst the Houthi terrorists are depriving these people of food, whilst they do everything to stop humanitarian aid via Hodeida and other places, are we not buttering the bread of terrorists?

How can you sleep knowing that this is happening?

BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and United Aircraft Corporation are not evil, they are not a danger, they sell to governments and all three want to sell to the same governments making this a buyers’ market. The moment you forgot about that part of the equation, that did not make you an ideologist, it made you short sighted and that is my largest concern on CAAT, the fact they are needlessly depriving the UK government of treasury income, yet speaking for selfishly coated me, if it pays my bills, I am all fine with that in the end.

 

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When the joke is on us all

We all have moments where we imagine that the dice is cast, yet we play roulette, we think we have the numbers down, yet did you know that the roulette number sequence is different in Europe compared to America? These are all elements in a play of high stake gambling. That same setting returns when we look at the Guardian article ‘Campaigners head to court to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia’. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/apr/06/campaigners-court-bid-to-stop-uk-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia) holds two sides (apart from it being partially a joke in my eyes). You see, I have no issue with people who have the principle of being against weapons. That is their prerogative. What does bug me is that these same people will suddenly blame the government for all kinds of issues and they will scream that they want higher taxes for the rich, ignoring the fact that they are the cause of several issues that are the consequence of some faulty misdirected version of ideology.

So even as I am happy to step in and take over the arms trade to Saudi Arabia, mainly because I do not have the luxury of walking away from a multi-billion pound deal, you see the rent is due next week and I would like a nice mince pie after I pay my rent, the £3,576,229,000 will enable me to get both. OK that amount would not all be mine, but 20% could be and that is still £715,245,800.

My entire pension issue solved overnight. The article takes us a step further. With: “The UK court case comes amid the continued fallout from the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was tortured and assassinated by Saudi agents“, I am fine with that step for the mere reason that there are too many question marks in that case. The evidence on several levels is missing proper scrutiny, the fact that Turkey has other agenda’s in play is ignored, and the involvement of Iran in all this is ignored on several levels. I am not stating that things did not happen, there is clearly a massive lack of proper scrutiny and people like the Campaign against Arms Trade are fuelling my opportunity and I am fine with that, if stupid people enable me to become wealthy, why would I oppose?

How Come?

Well, we are decently certain that something happened to Jamal Khashoggi, yet to what degree can government actions be proven? That is the issue, there is no evidence and as such can you, or should you stop dealing with a sovereign nation with a lack of evidence? In addition, in the other direction, we have seen a massive indecisive move towards Iran whilst Iran fuelled activities go on in Europe, October 2018, January 2019, covering Denmark, France, Netherlands, and the UK. Yet over at that point, we see an utter lack of actual actions (merely considerations).

Does it matter?

Well that is in part the question, we can accept that Campaign against Arms Trade wants it all to stop, but what is ignored is that merchants have markets and the UK cannot evolve next level defences if they cannot be sold. So whilst places like Saudi Arabia are still opening their internal market to have quality defence gear, places like the UK, Russia and America are looking to sell defence solutions to places that can afford them (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Taiwan, South Korea and a few more players), yet the well is drying up, more and more countries have their own solutions and the size of the cake is getting smaller.

The next part is seen where we get Andrew Smith of Campaign against Arms Trade giving us: “This case could set a vital precedent and end UK complicity in the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the world.” In that I respectfully disagree, the catastrophe was that too many people sat on their hands for too long, the fact that Yemen is not just the Saudi-led coalition, the other side, the terrorist side is more than Houthi fighters, it includes Hezbollah as well as Iranian forces, by leaving that out, we see an unbalanced stage and in all this we see a deterioration of events, so even as we accept (to some degree) “civilian targets in Yemen have regularly been hit“, in addition we need to accept the Human Rights Watch who gives us clearly: “Houthi forces have repeatedly fired artillery indiscriminately into Yemeni cities and launched indiscriminate ballistic missiles into Saudi Arabia. Some of these attacks may amount to war crimes. Houthi attacks have struck populated neighbourhoods in Yemen, having a particularly devastating impact on Taizz, Yemen’s third largest city.” There is more than one player, yet these focus groups have merely looked at the Saudi side and that needs to stop, not because of what they are trying to achieve, but because the actions are much larger then they proclaim and there are two sides. In addition to what was given we need to consider the fact that Houthi forces have been staging some of the events. Al Jazeera gave us more than once: “The war has been at a stalemate for years, with the coalition and Yemeni forces unable to dislodge the Houthis from the capital, Sanaa, and other urban centres.” This indicates that the Houthi forces are in-between the population, with 16 million on the verge of death by starvation, is inaction even a problem?

Yet, from one point of view, I do not mind. If I get the option, I will sell it to the Saudi government and I will send Andrew Smith an authentic Fortnum and Mason hamper, just so that he knows I appreciate him enabling me to write a multi-billion pound invoice. Of course, the optional impact that the UK faces if the profitability of Britain’s largest defence company, BAE Systems is set to zero. I feel certain that Andrew Smith can explain it to the thousands of workers out of a job if I am given the assurance that I can get a much better margin by selling the Saudi government 47 Mikoyan MiG-35, complete with training and proper service level agreements. That puppy is a direct superior option against the Typhoon, the Super Hornet and a few others; my upside is that if I get Saudi Arabia on board, I am likely to get additional requests from Pakistan and at least three other governments.

So at that point, how exactly did Campaign against Arms Trade achieve anything (other than making me filthy rich and I will thank them in person for that). In this day and age where the markets and economies cannot take these hits, it is the ability of Andrew Smith that Europe fears, you see commerce is at the heart of the matter, and at this point, any nations bringing in bad news will stop being an asset, that is the Wall Street premise we all signed up for in 2005 when things started to get bad, we never corrected for any of it.

Distasteful like a Vegan

We can all consider where our ethical boundary is, yet in all this, we seem to forget that any sovereign nation has the right to self-govern, Europeans with their gravy train, ECB and shallow morals seem to have forgotten that. In all this having commerce allows diplomats to find a path that steers some nations away for certain practices and that path will be denied to them soon thereafter. Consider that I am all about profit and the Campaign against Arms Trade allowed for that change, how did they achieve anything? Because the UK misses out on have a dozen billions a year less? How many projects and funding issues will dry up the year after that starts? We have settings and measurements, most do not deal with terrorists, most do not sell to individuals, and the Campaign against Arms Trade is starting to allow for the return of those markets.

Sidestepping into art

Consider John Wyndham’s 1951 novel The Day of the Triffids. Some saw the movie, some read the book. Yet what happens when the sequel is a direct horror story? What happens when the sequel gives us the stage where the Triffids land on a planet ruled by vegans and vegetarians? How scared will they be (the Triffids that is)? This relates to the setting we have, you see, we seem to push towards everyone becoming a vegan and vegetarian (non-weaponised), because that is what their norm states, yet what are we going to do about the hunters (lion), the carrion eaters (Hyena) and other non-vegetarians? What do we do when people have certain norms and will not be told by anyone how to act? Is that such a weird issue?

You merely have to look at football hooligan UK to see that part of the equation, and there is no end in sight. It is a shallow connection, I agree, yet that is the ball game, someone wants to pressure towards an ideology whilst the other players are not interested. Now that does not invalidate the ideology, yet the fact that the reasoning is one sided, whilst the entire economic premise requires selling to other governments is a factor that cannot be ignored.

Who are we to dictate rules and manners? I get it, by denying the Saudi government one’s own screwed up values is all good, yet when the act does the opposite of what they are trying to achieve, can we agree that the action is not that bright? I am not comparing the Saudi people with either the Lion or the Hyena. I am merely stating that there is more than one option and that is fine for all concerned. How can any nation, most of them either dealing with their own levels of corruption, or facilitating to massive corporate tax evasion, as these elements also impact whatever was to be part of a government budget, do we have any business impeding the other paths that were available? Consider that we were treated only a month ago to ‘HMRC’s first probes into corporate tax evasion facilitation‘, the stage where we are seeing “HMRC has confirmed that it has opened its first investigations into the corporate criminal offence of failure to prevent the facilitation of UK tax evasion, using new powers to tackle corporate fraud contained in the Criminal Finances Act, introduced in the wake of the Panama Papers leaks“, an event that is close to 15 years late. How can we see the actions of a group stopping billions the UK government desperately needs? Don’t worry, in the end I might be ecstatically happy regarding their act, I am not so certain the British people will love the impact of what Campaign against Arms Trade invoked to happen. We can see that there is a lot that needs fixing, I am not sure that international arms trade to other governments no less is a first problem to solve, not with the competition and not with much larger issues in play.

And it is here where we see the delusional part of Andrew Smith, with “BAE’s solution will always be the same: it wants to sell more weapons, regardless of the atrocities they are enabling. Wherever there is war and conflict, there will always be companies like BAE trying to profiteer from it“, we get to see just how whacked his view is. Well, to be honest, he is allowed to have that view, it just does not add up. You see, the actual premise is: “BAE’s solutions are designed to keep Britain safe. Yet the development will cost 155 billion, to assure the top state of defence for the UK, who will only buy for up to 100 billion requires additional sales to global governments who could need that solution, even as the US buys a lot, it is not enough to fill the gap and that is where other nations come in. There is the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan and a few others. In addition Andrew Smith seems to forget (or he does not care)that others like the US, France, Italy and Russia all have solutions to sell, so we need to ensure our survival for the need of growing British defence and keeping it as high as possible. This part is extremely important, because whoever has the best deals with places like Saudi Arabia is also in the best position to aid and guide international development in places like that. As Saudi Arabia is about to become a 5G powerhouse, that path is more and more important for everyone. Consider the impact if Campaign against Arms Trade is successful. Do you think that British Telecom has a chance in hell to grow the 5G options to the degree they could if their portfolio is auto rejected in several Middle Eastern nations, or only accepted at a mere 2% margin? Commerce is so intertwined in so many ways on a global level that the entire premise Campaign against Arms Trade is to regarded as too ideological, whilst ignoring common sense; it would be nice if this was a setting where there was only the US and the UK, yet there is a strong defence field that includes Russia and China, whatever the UK loses, China and optionally Russia will gain and in that regard, how did that help the British people?

The fact that we see a one-sided part against Saudi Arabia, whilst there is a large and utter denial (or silencing) on the acts from Hezbollah and Houthis firing Iranian missiles into the Saudi population is not mentioned. The article (at https://www.caat.org.uk/campaigns/stop-arming-saudi) gives more, yet leaves the atrocities of the Houthi and Hezbollah terrorists out of that equation, that part alone should be cause for concern. The small fact that at present there is no evidence, evidence that could stand up in court giving us a clear path that the Saudi government murdered Jamal Khashoggi, is also part of concern. As I stated earlier in other articles, I am not stating that they are innocent, I am stating that the evidence has gaps, large ones and the conviction through some political hacks came via a CIA report stating ‘high confidence‘, which is not the same. When did we allow the courts to decide on ‘confidence‘? The fact that the acts in all this (Yemen and Jamal Khashoggi) from both Iran and Turkey is largely ignored is making the entire stage even more appalling.

Yet, I will thank Andrew Smith in person when I get to deliver the goods making me rich, I do however expect him to be not so appreciative of it all in the end, even less so when others with no scruples at all (like myself) start delivering goods instead of BAE Systems, and deleting the job security of 83,200 employees? Well, it is ideology, is it not? They will just have to find another job.

 

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When the numbers are…..

So what happens when the numbers are up for reporting? Samsung now joins Apple with the setting of: “Samsung has issued a surprise profit warning, blaming a slump in memory chip prices and slowing demand for display panels. It is the latest sign that technology firms are facing tougher times amid a global economic slowdown“. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/mar/26/samsung-surprises-market-with-first-quarter-profit-warning) is all about image and not incorrect mind you, yet has anyone considered the stage where they are both losing massively against Huawei? There is a reason why a Samsung $1899 and an Apple $2365 lose against the Huawei Nova 3i ($499). Yes, technologically they both are slightly more advanced, yet with a difference of $1400 and $1900 the technological difference is way too small to take the expensive option. The phone was strikingly advanced on many levels. From my less than a day P7, I have moved to a 2 day battery Huawei Nova 3i and I am loving the speed and added options, options that might have been a little luxurious to the basic user, yet as my P7 passed away due to a dead battery and a 24:7 service that almost lasted 4 years (a missed target by 6 weeks). I had no option but to find the cheapest realistic solution and only Huawei catered to that. With the previous phone over proving its value there was no competition. So when I see ‘technology firms are facing tougher times amid a global economic slowdown‘, we see the impact of ‘overpriced’ in a time of dire budgeting that is missed in several plays and fields. We do not have that much to spend nowadays. Even now, working casual hours I hope that I will have a nice birthday (in 5 weeks) by treating myself to a yummy Nintendo Switch for my birthday, my one little treat in almost 2 years. It is the reality for many people and the number of people having to move into such a budget push s increasing, so even as all of them (including Huawei) are moving to 5G foldable phones, he pricing will make them not an option for close to 60$ of the people, or it is done under hefty locked down telecom contracts. Samsung had that benefit 1-2 years ago when a wave of people needed a new phone. Now we see that the bulk of these people are unwilling to make another $1900 jump, it cools down to a phone bill and a $79 extra a month to look cool and the people are realising that realism and pragmatism is the only way forward in mobile land, especially as the empire of 5G is coming and the next wave of phones will not support both 4G and 5G, that is the reality.

We might give light to: “Weaker smartphone sales and fewer orders from data-centred companies such as Amazon and Google have led to a glut of memory chips and sent prices sliding“, yet we forget the impending changes, changes that are noticeable in patent land. Even as they are all walking the walk, we see that the patent changes are pushing towards generic hardware and the distinguished changes that will be pushed through by using specifically designed software. It sounds weird, but part of it was introduced through software and video games. As a game was sold, we see that people could buy an additional season pass for all the additional gaming parts, yet in more than one case we learned that the ‘added’ software was already on the software but required a code to unlock and mobile phones are moving into this changed atmosphere at this very moment. I believe that all manufacturers will be changing the setup by not having 4 models, but one model that has the 4 elements unlocked through codes. It makes sense in a few ways. Having one hardware option is easier and cheaper and having the software set and staged to unlock the ability buy a code has been the corner stone with places like IBM for the longest of times. GEOINT software solutions have had them as well for close to a decade and telecom devices are up for that very same change in the near future.

I also believe that this will be the final push to amend international patent laws to make software a patentable item as well. So even as we are given “Samsung was forecast to make a 7.2tn won (£4.66bn) operating profit between January and March, less than half the 15.6tn won a year ago. Sales were expected to fall to 53.7tn won from 60.6tn won a year ago“, we see that the push for generic hardware to be a lot more generic soon enough. In addition, there is a danger of a cartel push as Apple and Samsung have elements both needs (displays with one and software with the other), we see that those who were riding that wave will have added value soon enough. Huawei is on that same wave, especially in 5G and now that the alpha will be containing the Huawei OS, we see a first stage where Android will be losing some market share. I wonder if Samsung will make a deal to kick Google in the nuts (for Android bolts only), yet that stage is now in view with some clarity. There is no way that this is a given, but the stage is open for it and that puts the light in a different setting. Everyone is making some speech on how ‘Smart Switch’ is all about on transferring files, yet the entire setting could equally apply to set the stage of moving Android devices towards iOS, and even as there are a few videos on it, we see a lack of IT places looking deeper at this. Some make fun, some are quirky, yet there is an undeniable stage that there is a push both externally and internally to make Samsung an iOS solution, whether straight out of the box, or conversion, Android will be under attack from more than one direction in the next few years.

It is up to Samsung to decide what path they want to be on and it is their right. Yet in this, when we see the long term options, as well as the optional changes that are coming, is another scenario still an option. when we realise ‘patent protection can be obtained, for example, for inventions implemented by computer programs‘ in places that originally denied software patents, is a larger change. It sets the stage for generic telecom hardware faster and more direct, whilst with the stage of software setting the device to its options, unlocks a much larger field, upgrading of hardware, opening options on hardware will all become commercial tracks holding customers under corporate grasp for a much longer period of time. In addition, switching out of a contract could come with additional costs and an optional cost of switching, and element consumers are not ready for, or better stated, the cost of doing business will be lacking larger size of awareness in all this. Even as I foresaw that change 3 years ago, I am still amazed that they got here so fast. I had expected this move in 2-3 years, yet as it seemingly shows, there is every indication that the next wave of phones might have some of these solutions already in place.

It also implies that there is an optional danger of phones and bricking, or jacking. As people want to get things cheap, they will at times rely on ‘friends’ having a solution that gives them options they never paid for and in the process their phone will be jacked in other ways too. When they find out the cost of doing business too late, they end up with a brick and have to buy new hardware, or factory reset at a cost.

All that from a mere loss of revenue tale?

No, not really, the numbers have been out for a while, yet the dependency of Samsung on their displays, and the income warnings will open the field to make the shifts that were in the wind a lot sooner and to appease shareholders, we will optionally see that hardware move faster. The US trade wars made it essential for Huawei not to be caught with their pants down, so they have been working on their own OS for a year, with a much stronger push in the last 6 months. In addition, the parts I casually mentioned yesterday, we now see (source: The Guardian) give us: “a financial app claiming to be “the most significant change in the credit card industry for 50 years”, and also extended sections on an app that will curate the best of international magazines, and a new range of video games“, this is a form of financial facilitation that goes beyond normal facilitation. In addition we see the shaky fields of data information that an American firm like Apple has never had any access to, as such the people signing up for it with a few baubles (read: perks) will find that their financial history and future will be up for scrutiny by all kind of sources that they are not aware of at present or in the immediate future. A change that will impact finances on a global scale, so whilst we see nations with encryption bills and all kinds of ‘national security’ poohaa, we see the people just signing over their data like it is Facebook day zero. As Apple sweetens the deal by linking options as streaming and gaming, we see new levels of facilitation that we had not seen before and all that intersects with new mobile modes and new stages of generic device hardware now depending on device software in the near future.

So whilst we all seem to think that this is a ‘great’ idea, some might not have noticed “the use of the Apple TV app for navigating and curating content from theoretically rival streamers, including Amazon Prime, HBO, Showtime, and, strikingly for UK viewers, BritBox, the planned new BBC/ITV product“. The younglings might not catch on, but this is a new level of localisation. Just like Netflix does not globally release events, we see levels of localisation (Europe, America, Asia, and Australia) and in the other part we will see this more localised. the foundation is a return to a local, national release of issues, an issue we have been aggravated by in the past when movies had a local release date, so like America had Star Wars Episode one, the Dutch population had to wait well over 26 weeks to see that movie, now we see a danger to return to an optimised marketing driven releases on Gaming, TV shows, movies and services as digital marketing prepares algorithm that optimises the value of whatever is released, wherever the market took them. That stage is not a given, but the elements give rise to the danger of it and even when we get some memo through any shady media corporation (Sony 2012), the outcome is less clear when there was a seeming miscommunication. The fact that none of them gave light to the fact that the Terms of Service is a legal binding contract and a memo is a piece of paper that can be rewritten at any given moment.

And as it is all to be patented, the larger corporations will now do whatever they like and open markets will be niched or denied entry. So even as we are given: “While both companies have blamed China’s slowdown, Apple and Samsung are also facing fierce competition from numerous rivals around the world, including firms in China that can match their hardware quality and produce cheaper phones“, we might notice that he name Huawei (and Oppo) are not specifically mentioned. As I personally see it, it will not be about restraining their access, it will be to deny the smaller firms as start-up contenders, when they cannot compete in any way, those markets will be pushed towards other players and for now both Samsung and Apple will be dependent on what Huawei has for the next 3 years, after that the bigger ones will have caught on. And that part is not sitting still either, Forbes revealed three days ago: ‘Samsung Suddenly Launches Galaxy S10 Ultimate Edition‘, where one of the important quotes is: “the Galaxy S10 5G delivers key upgrades in almost every area and for a significantly lower price than expected“, the Key Note?

It was not suddenly, or ill conceived, the partial plan that Huawei was too much of a danger was a given a year ago. I believe that it was never about: ‘surprises market with first-quarter profit warning‘, it was not about the profit warning, it was about knowingly taking a hit. The entire “for a significantly lower price than expected” is a hit, a hit taken to lower the advantage of Huawei and the setting for a stage for a much longer time. It is a brilliant move and Samsung knows and has seen the impact of taking a loss in the teeth now to gain the upper hand in the long term play and it is well played. The elements are clearly in the field, yet we see very little reporting on that and as the commitment is give, the long term profit is there.

There is a second part to this. The Verge (at https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/26/18282700/apple-vs-qualcomm-patent-infringement-iphone-import-ban) implies it (does not say it is so), yet when we see: “A US trade judge has found Apple guilty of infringing on two Qualcomm patents related to power management and data download speeds. As a result, the judge — International Trade Commission Judge MaryJoan McNamara — says some iPhone models containing competing Intel modems might be blocked from shipping from China, where they’re manufactured, to the US“, we will soon see a very different situation, when the hardware/software part is distilled and separated, we see a setting where a generic device could not be hindered and until software evidence is given linking the two, we see the setting where the verdict would be quite different indeed. the second part is given through: “The two companies previously had an exclusive licensing arrangement for the iPhone to use Qualcomm-made modems that are integral to bringing mobile devices online. In recent years, Apple has brought Intel into the fold as a modem supplier, and it appears that decision has had cascading effects that have led to today’s complex web of lawsuits. Qualcomm has also made the blockbuster claim that Apple effectively stole its technology and gave it to Intel, violating its patents in the process” the statement is not new, we have seen it, yet the tactic of generic device that is patented software driven would make for a much harder case for any player like Qualcomm to win. Depending on the hardware and the links to Samsung, QUALCOMM would be in a much tougher position, in addition the contracts would be dangerously precise, so either there would be an 800% increase in contracts, or a smaller amount of messy ones, which would reveal massive holes making the contract a lot less effective.

Contract Shmontract

Part of this is not seen, but a speculated change that Cnet reported almost two weeks ago. With “The Japan Fair Trade Commission this week cancelled a cease-and-desist order from 2009 that affected Qualcomm licensing in Japan, effectively declaring that Qualcomm wasn’t guilty of the charges against it. JFTC officials said the decision is “unusual,” according to a report from Nippon, and that this is the first time it’s revoked a cease-and-desist order since 2012“. I believe that the change that I speculated on is part of this. The larger layers are stopping to bicker over crumbs. In the stage of the generic device solution, we see a setting where Samsung and QUALCOMM would be the cornerstone of EVERY device produced lowering the cost of making and therefore driving overall profits for all of them. These contacts and cases are just in the way, so expect to see a lot more ‘amiable’ solutions to be posted in the news broadcasters in the near future. Yet the partial danger is missed, when 5 players set the 80% stage, what innovations will we miss out on? More important, what levels or which amount of choices will be denied to consumers?

The numbers as we see them are merely the start of much larger changes. Players like Huawei are not out of the race as their power is in another angle and they can still hold a much larger slice of cake in all this, with their victory in Europe they are still in the race, especially as the US has never been able to prove any issue of national security, so as the US is going that part alone (for the most) we will see more shifts towards protectionist solutions like the Generic software locked devices making that solution a much larger stage for profits for those players. So even as we laugh at people like Randall Stephenson (AT&T CEO) giving us: “Huawei is not allowing interoperability to 5G — meaning if you are 4G, you are stuck with Huawei for 5G,” he said during the speech. “When the Europeans say we got a problem — that’s their problem. They really don’t have an option to go to somebody else” a person who is flogging 4G LTE as 5G Evolution is telling us about a stage that players like IBM have played for decades, so he is calling a Chinese firm to be the same as players like IBM? How was that news? Yet when he is asked on why 5G Evolution is not, he is seemingly dragging his feet. Or perhaps he has already addressed the Verge giving us: ‘Study confirms AT&T’s fake 5G E network is no faster than Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint 4G

Why does THAT matter?

Well that is the hindsight of all this. you see when the switch is complete we will get new issues on hardware versions bought and how the software will employ the wrong connection symbol, because that too is the impact of what you buy, the issue of profit will come with additional dangers of miscommunication of your own device. That too will be a future impact we all face, so there are intentional and unintentional (cause and effect) issues in play soon hereafter. The impact rises a lot faster, even now we might think that Samsung is on top with at present 1166 patents, yet when we see China where ZTE and Huawei combine 1629 patents, we see a trailing 794 patents and QUALCOMM with a mere 730 patents, this now optionally indicates (optionally as it remains to be seen where the crunch is) that QUALCOMM requires a solution that opens the market, not close it off, in one side the Japanese change opens their options and their larger need to be part of the generic devices becomes an essential step for them and now we see the predicament for Apple, they do not get mentioned in that part at all. So either Apple is already on another horse (the generic solution), or we see that Apple is in a lot more upcoming hardship than we realise and these are December 2018 numbers. the fact that Inter Digital Technology Corp (18 patents) is on that list and Apple is not makes for a much larger issue and so the previous Apple marketing noise of preferring to trail on 5G could be seen in a very different sight. And when we accept previous news from Apple Insider: ‘A 5G iPhone will cost Apple about $21 in licensing fees to Nokia, Qualcomm, and others‘, implies that Apple waited for much too long and now they are dependent on the other players making a much larger case for the future of Apple to be towards the generic devices, where they optionally will hold the software patents. It is speculative, yet based on the insight of the information that is for the most readily available, so when the numbers are up, they are not on the rise, they are merely up for review and scrutiny and in that light, we see that the first impact of a decrease of 50% from the trillion dollar value they held was not even close to the most negative view the people can hold.

There will be a larger scrutiny over the next three years, what is definitely up for the bulk is that the power of 5G will be Asian to a much larger degree, the fact that the US has faltered in this field shows that there is a lot more hardship on the horizon in the future. That part is seen when we consider Forbes giving us: “Our telecommunication industry never arrived at a single competitive standard for 5G technology, and our efforts to get allies like Britain and Germany to reconsider their support for Huawei, have been ineffectual. At the Mobile World Congress last month, the efforts were pathetic“, which now opens the doors on why on earth America remained complacent in the international needs for this long a time, perhaps hiring capable engineers might have been a first step. It is too late on several steps and the comment ‘leadership from the Trump administration will be essential from Forbes should be regarded as a statement from a most prestigious BS department, Trump did not fail, the failure started before the Obama administration and their lack of success in that department merely increased the losses that America will face.

The information is not that hard to come by, most of it can be to some degree distilled form the patent waves, waves lacking in the US and that lack now shows the downturn in an age where activity would have been everything, which is good for Sweden with their Ericsson as well as Finland with their Nokia, so let’s end this article with:

Nokia 5G -yhteydellä on tieto tulevaisuus (it would have been too easy in English or Swedish)

 

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The TV as a weapon

There is an old saying and there are alternatives to it. In Australia we say:

Q: Do you know the difference between ABC and Channel 7?
A: ABC shows you how bad things are in the world, Channel 7 shows you how screwed up your TV life is.

In the Netherlands it used to be NOS versus SBS6, and every nation has its own version. So what happens, when we see the millions of smart TV’s and Apple enters the race opposing Netflix? The New Daily gives the quote: “Spielberg who appeared live, touted the revival of his Amazing Stories anthology, while Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carrell then took the stage to discuss another Apple original, The Morning Show” with the added: “a range of new streaming entertainment services, as well as financial products, at a star-studded event Tuesday morning“. the message was apparently clearly brought and when we get to see: “Apple is expected to spend US$2 billion this year on original content to challenge established steaming players Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and the forthcoming Disney+ service“, we need to realise that Apple has an optional goldmine in the making. In addition we see: “Hot on the heels of the Google game streaming service, Stadia, Apple launched Apple Arcade in a bid to grab a slice of the multi-billion dollar gaming market“, which will be fun to watch as Apple has shown a keen interest in negating the need of gamers (which is not all their fault in all honesty), will they figure it out this time? At least with the established Android gaming platform size, Google does have a huge advantage for now. OK, apple does have a gaming community on IOS and I was not short selling that (yes, I was). Yet the overall view I have seen in the past gives a better light of gaming to gamers on the android, than the Apple (a mere personal view on the matter).

So here we are watching two streams being created. First is the Netflix drain by Apple and as soon as they realise that 2 billion is a mere stack of money, to get the TV series that get the people to sign up, even besides Netflix will requires series that surpass The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, The Haunting of Hill House, Bird Box and a few other gems, Netflix has the writers, will Apple have them? We all know that Game of Thrones will enter their final season, so there are plenty of needy watchers to pick up after that conclusion, yet if Apple does not have the IP, they are not going anywhere. Even with the added Spielberg Amazing Stories anthology, which was actually quite decent when it was initially released on VHS, they will still have quite the task at hand. More important, even if they have all the ducks in a row, they will still having to deal with the market shares of Hulu, Stan, Amazon and the forthcoming Disney + service as well (and a few local others). Do they have the IP when that goes online? I can see half a dozen series that could be hits, and I am not the only one. Plenty of dedicated story tellers will have a list. Yet, does the Apple executive (whomever Tim Cook handed this hot potato to), does that person have a clue? The difference between a good presentation and an actual good idea comes with a gap that can fit the Grand Canyon and many Apple executives are a little lost when they face that gap.

It goes further, having a great idea is not enough and most visionaries have that in mind. to see that part we need to reflect on: “Apple, which became the world’s first trillion-dollar company in August last year, had been dropping cryptic hints about the launch event for weeks, sending the internet rumour-mill into overdrive“, yet since then Apple lost well over 20% of its value and the next few ‘slam bam’ misers will dent that even further. The next part is interesting as it impacts gaming and TV.

To get a great product you need at the very least (before marketing gets to have a go):

  1. A script, a story that will compel the reader to go on. Loading it with sex and graphics will only hold a small percentage for some time. A great example of a near perfect script was I Claudius by Robert Graves.
  2. A cast that works well together, each good actors, but together they become ambrosia, wine and nitro-glycerine, all at the same time. Again I Claudius became the golden standard. With Derek Jacobi, George Baker, Siân Phillips, Brian Blessed, James Faulkner, John Hurt, Patrick Steward, Ian Ogilvy, John Castle, and John Rhys-Davies we got something unheard of. They were already good actors, yet together they created greatness, they are now globally celebrities, but in 1976 that was not a given, they were iron rods and the director shaped them into high tempered steel increasing their mark close to tenfold.
  3. The director. Not merely the man implying 3, 2, 1, action! No, he is the person that becomes the visual visionary and Herbert Wise delivered. The evidence is seen in his work. As a director he has 91 marks on his career rod and when we look at it all, it is all decent work, insightful work, yet I Claudius is a 180 cm person walking in Indonesia (where the average height is 152cm), it stood out tall above all others. So, even as we accept that I Claudius could not have been done without the cast, it equally required the right director to make it work.
  4. The Producer (in this case the BBC), who had to put up the dough with a need of blind faith and no idea how much they were going to lose. These four required to be completely in sync and they were as such I Claudius is still seen as the best BBC drama ever produced, even now, 43 years later we see that new TV series merely hope to equal this achievement, thinking that it can be surpassed is mere folly (yet optionally not impossible).

This is the setting that Apple is trying to get into and throwing 2 billion at it thinking that it will be easy by presenting a few famous people is as reliable as getting rich by spending what you have on blow and hookers. It looks pretty, yet it is an absolute non-winner 100% of the time. Finding the right people will be the task for Apple and as they are all competing for the same pig through increasing the value of good scriptwriters, yet they too are starting to look critical at the offers, because they lose value with every failure and often enough, they do not get to blame the director of the production company, they get to be the scapegoat. So they will require their optional bosses to set an income and levels of freedom and commitment to a much higher degree.

As for gaming

Gaming has a similar setting. It will be about getting the gamers on board and that requires a great product, in an age where Apple has been all about marketed iteration, they are vying for innovation? In a market they do not seem to really comprehend? I am slightly puzzled.

There the director is the project director; the cast are the graphic designers and the scripters and coders. The art and stage might have similar issues, but finding these parts to intertwine and interconnect is where good coders are required. Then there is the learning curve of the game. And it gets to be worse fast when it becomes a product relying on micro transactions. Ubisoft, Bethesda too never quite worked it out and the first screw up will diminish the value of the event overnight. Apple will have to steer clear of micro transactions in the first year by a certainty of 100% and in the subsequent 2-3 years for 90%. Can they afford that game? Their essential path will be the RPG games that call the horn of attendance for gamers on a global scale, if not, than this becomes a long term project that will not end up becoming a winner. In that they have additional competition form makers like Nintendo, their Switch is still gaining momentum and the games I have seen lined up for that system shows that Nintendo is taking this momentum extremely serious. I wonder if Apple has thought this through beyond their return on investment expectations from executives who rely in spreadsheets and lack essential data skills other than identifying their ROI and bonus column. Once that goes south Apple will take a few hits in short succession and they will be painful. If it goes wrong (I am not stating or indication that this is the case), they could face the hits where their total value is a mere 50% of what it was on September 16th 2018.

Yes, Apple could rise high with streaming on TV and consoles, but in the end they require the golden eggs to get there and I am not convinced that they have what it takes to get there. For the most it is an art, I have been involved in gaming since 1984 and I still miss elements in all it. It is both science and an art, the moment you separate the two is the moment you lose. That has been an essential given for close to two decades. Ubisoft got it wrong more than once, Bethesda took massive hits with miscalculations and they are dedicated experts in that field, I doubt Apple has seen that shortfall at present.

To illustrate that we need to look at a game called the Division 2, an Ubisoft product. Important fact, it is seen as a really good game, better than the first version and steps forward, at times leaps forward, some reviewers have stated that is sets a new bar of online gaming and that is awesome to learn. Now add the two headlines: ‘Ubisoft Patches Annoying ‘The Division 2’ Skills Bug‘, as well as ‘The Division 2 PC players report a 100% CPU usage issue, Ubisoft is investigating‘, on games this size this will always happen and the fact that it is looked at and fixed this early is really good, so this is not about pulling Division 2 down. This is what happens on games this big depending on online elements, which is besides server down times. A consequence of online gaming and in this Apple is as I expect it not ready to see gaming to the higher levels it needs to see it.

If they see these two elements as a method to use the TV as a weapon, a data weapon for additional wealth, we see a company that is about to get hit really hard. That is in the foundation of it all. I believe that they are making the same mistake that Microsoft made. Microsoft is talking a good talk, yet the people all over the world are seeing the impact, the most powerful console in the world is being surpassed by the weakest of the three. Their setting of always online, their bullying tactics, their essential inability to listen to gamers (or ignoring what they are being told) is what is dragging down Microsoft and Apple will experience that lesson in a very hard way soon enough if they walk that same silly line.

Just like Microsoft, we see a company that more likely than not does not comprehend gamers and will falter because of corporate ROI needs soon enough. They see the two as connected to grow better, but these are two separate entities (TV and Gaming) representing 6 dimensions that can go in any direction, when these executives learn that lesson the hard way and they are looking what to do next, I will offer Tim Cook my last $99 for the company (Apple, a fruit of the loom division).

Could I be massively wrong?

Absolutely, yet the Apple marketing need of the hype and their viral needs seem to be on my side, as the gaming industry as a whole tends to be as gossipy as any old tea lady, so word would have circulated into my inner core of contacts much earlier, as such I think that Apple is not ready, nowhere near ready, personally I do hope to be proven wrong. I would love to see more contenders in the gaming world, more choice, more innovation and better games is the consequence from that war, and I do love playing good games.

I will keep you all posted on what happens next.

 

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A political Chucky

I love cricket, I played it and loved it. That is as long as I was not bowling. There is no point in handing 10 overs to the opposition when Chucky (me) is bowling and I am happy that I am not considered outside of the field or batting. Some things should not happen, so, what do you do when your own party (the conservatives) considers chucking as a valid tactic in a game where it has been an illegal action?

That is what the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/mar/24/tory-islamophobia-row-15-suspended-councillors-quietly-reinstated) informs us on in ‘Tory Islamophobia row: 15 suspended councillors quietly reinstated‘, and the fact that it is openly and ‘quietly’ done implies that my own party does not seem to grasp the educational need of the matter. We have all made ‘questionable’ considerations. I have on occasion noticed a lady who had an amazing * (assterix). I did not state that out loud, but optionally whispered it as softly ass possible (pun intended). It gets us to the old situation ‘If you are alone in a forest and no woman can hear you, are you still wrong?

So, when we see: “More than a dozen Conservative councillors who were suspended over posting Islamophobic or racist content online – with some describing Saudis as “sand peasants” and sharing material comparing Asian people to dogs“, when we see this, this is not whispering. This is loudly proclaiming, shouting even as it happened online. This is stupidity of a whole new level and there needs to be an investigation. It is not merely for the norm of the PC of it all. This has business impact. We can consider that the Middle East will be funding hundreds of billions in business decisions and the UK would want as much of it as possible. And in that is Mohammed Amin wrong? When we see the chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum for the publication of set of formal disciplinary processes that far off? When discrimination is condoned to the degree that it is, should we not expect a much larger impact? When we see Islamophobia and anti-Semitic issues, we need to remember that there is a larger impact. If parties are rejected from consideration, it shows that political players are dismissing optional best solutions from the political arena because they are wearing filtering glasses, implying that the cost of doing business is optionally increased due to unacceptable practices and as the article implies that it has transpired 15 times, we see a systemic failure of a political engine that besides doing things wrong is optionally transgressing into the field of criminal acts. So even as James Cleverly claims that that swift investigations was made, the stage of quietly adding them back to the party gives light of more than Islamophobia, it gives light to the acceptance of racism within the party and that is not a good thing.

There is no doubt that there is a lot of emotion regarding the Middle East, yet anti-Semitism and Islamophobia will never solve it, it merely polarises issues beyond repair. I wonder what happens when Huawei and Saudi Arabia complete their initial setting and Saudi Arabia becomes a 5G powerbroker? Some analysts made the claim that there will be 30 million subscriptions in the Middle East by 2024. I believe that to be wrong, Huawei is not the only player and Ericsson is showing to be almost as capable as Huawei (driving competition and innovation), giving Saudi Arabia an option to drive partnerships to nations including the UAE, Oman and Egypt. OK, we admit that Egypt is Africa, yet the light that Saudi Arabia could grow subscriptions towards 60 million upwards when they get to include Egypt, and set the stage for Telecom growth a lot wider than that. A speculative step is seen in the Arab News on March 4th. When I looked at the complete language regarding Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir, I noticed that the statements were precise (read: too precise). So when I saw: “ruled out restoring diplomatic relations with Syria or reinstating Damascus to the Arab League without progress on a political process to end the eight-year-old war“, as well as: “Riyadh will also not take part in any reconstruction efforts until stability is restored in Syria“. Yet in this, 5G and creating options for communication is not reconstruction, or political progress. Yet it facilitates for both when the innovative players are allowed for a push towards global 5G considerations and it is my believe that Adel Al-Jubeir could use it to set an increasingly larger stage for the KSA.  I admit that my speculation is based on text (and interpretation) that is super thin, you could not skate on it, but you might lie down on it and cautiously create forward momentum. In light of the optional growth all over the Middle East and Africa, Saudi Arabia (read: Huawei business partners) are all gaining an advantage that allows for multiple conversations on a much larger board. The direct impact being that the setback for American corporations will increase larger and faster.

The 5G push would also allow options towards Jordan and now we see that Saudi Arabia (via Huawei and Ericsson) has created a much larger bond for future options for all these players. Now we see an optional line through Saudi Arabia to Oman, Egypt, Jordan, the UAE and optionally Yemen to follow. A big chunk of the Arab league, basically the big 5 all connected in 5G together making one voice more and more powerful. And with every victory there, the US gets pushed into becoming less and less relevant in 5G in that same wave. In that stage, when we see these steps unfold, do you really think that keeping racist and Islamophobic politicians is serving anyone’s purpose other than fear mongering and extremism?

So when we see the Guardian quote: “When CCHQ has been made aware of the small number of such cases we have acted swiftly, suspending members and launching immediate investigations, in sharp contrast to other parties” my issue here is that it is the exact party line that James Cleverly gave us. It sounds like a Microsoft sound byte, a claim made when they cannot solve a problem and they need it to be put into a drawer for well over a full upgrade. The fact that the Guardian treats us to: ‘quietly reinstated‘ gives rise to a systemic failure, one that can cost the UK many opportunities down the line and should we allow for that?

The Middle East is currently actively investing funds in excess of £1.4 trillion (not billion) on numerous projects in constructions, ICT, telecommunications and infrastructure, do you think that the UK has a chance of scoring any jobs when these contractors ask for a clarification on the application of ‘sand peasants‘? I also wonder what we will find when we read the transcripts and investigation papers regarding the 15 members that had been ‘quietly reinstated‘. How loud are we allowed to be when we look into this? The UK has enough worries with new Brexit fear mongering and a non-accountable ECB as Europe is about to get several trillions deeper in debt (because they found a miracle formula that explains it all. source: Bloomberg), digging our own graves by not acting against racism and discriminating phobias seems to be a problem we can avoid from the start.

When one of these Middle Easters investors asks feedback from Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain, what would these people hear? Quietly allowing chuckies to be set up as bowlers whilst we know that they will (through inadequacy, insensitivity and lack of professionalism) optionally knowingly instigate an illegal play is not common sense at all.

Any cricket captain should know better than to allow any chucky to bowl, but that is exactly what is seemingly happening right now.

 

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