Tag Archives: Ginni Rometty

Tic Toc Ruination

There is always a next deadline, a next target and a next threshold. When we see that point, some see obstacles, some see challenges and others await opportunities. It has always been this way. In the past we had 3G, Telstra could not keep up and gave us 3.5G and called it something else. The audience was deceived and has been deceived for a while in many ways. In Australia, as I personally see it, too many politicians dance to the needs of Telstra and as such, in the long run nothing was done. As 4G matured on a global level we saw the eCommerce run and we saw growth everywhere. And as the 5G moment grew near too many were sitting on the sidelines, all talk and no hard work. Huawei, Ericsson and a few more worked hard because he fin-tech term ‘be there first‘ applied a hundred times more to mobile technologies and we saw the escalation as China went ahead of the curve. Suddenly Huawei 5G technology got banned, a bankrupt America started and soon most nations followed, now, or at least 5 hours ago, the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/dec/05/bt-removing-huawei-equipment-from-parts-of-4g-network) reported one additional move ‘BT removing Huawei equipment from parts of 4G network‘, we see “In a statement, the UK telecoms group has confirmed it is in the process of removing Huawei equipment from the key parts of its 3G and 4G networks to meet an existing internal policy not to have the Chinese firm at the centre of its infrastructure“, all at the behest of spymaster incredibili Alex Younger. Yet actual evidence of Chinese activities was never given in evidence. Alex does something else and in retrospect to his French, American and Canadian peers something that is actually intelligent. He gives us: “the UK needed to decide if it was “comfortable” with Chinese ownership of the technology being used.” OK, in opposition of American stupidity making claims they cannot support, Alex is giving us the national need and the premise that another government should not have ownership of infrastructure this important. I can accept that, yet in that same light, that equipment should not be American or Russian either. He also gives us: “We have to keep adapting … we are evolving again to meet the threats of the hybrid age … our task now is to master the covert action of the data age“, and he is correct. It does not state that Huawei is a danger, a risk or actively undermining the UK. I get the setting of national security first and in this Huawei might optionally in the future be that risk, it is not the same setting the yanks gave us.

Yet there is the opposition as well. At present not only is Huawei ahead by a fair bit, Engineering and Technology (at https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2018/12/china-continues-to-dominate-worldwide-patent-applications/) give us: ‘China continues to dominate worldwide patent applications‘, it is a lot larger than Huawei, yet the stage we need to comprehend is “China submitted 1.38 million of the total 3.17 million patent applications submitted“, and a chunk of that 43.5% is mobile and 5G technology. China is ahead in the race and as some people start living in denial, the stage we will see in 2020 is not that America will start its 5G part, there will be a moment when China lodges IP cases that oppose patents, and the optional proven stage of patent violations. At that point the nations moving in silly ways will learn the hard way that whatever they tried to overcome will cost them 200%-550% more that they thought it would. The entire patent system will be upside down as technology makers will be found to be technology breakers and that is one side why the US is so opposed to certain levels of protectionism (apart from their pharmaceutical patents). To give you a perspective, China applied for more patents than the US, Japan, South Korea and the European Patent Office combined, the difference is that big, there is a second benefit to a worldwide growth in IP filings and some technology offices will soon encounter the receiving side of a desist to move forward lawsuit. The Apple Samsung war in patents has shown that impact for years and when any firm is stopped in their tracks, for any 5G violation, you can flush that 5G implementation timeline down the toilet.

ZDNet gives us: “Sprint announced that it is now the fastest mobile carrier across New York City, providing customers with access to its gigabit-speed LTE services after upgrading its network in preparation for 5G services going live next year“, which sounds nice, yet when we see: “launching a 5G mobile service there in the first half of 2019“, the way the dates were given last week personally implies to me that any setback gives reason that there will be no 5G before Q3 2019. Now, I might be wrong here, yet in the past we have seen again and again that these timelines were never met and the pressure is really on this time around, making setbacks and delays even more likely. So a we see New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Washington DC, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Detroit, Miami, Indianapolis, and Phoenix moving into the 5G realm, we now see the absence of an earlier mentioned Boston, Sacramento, Dallas, Houston, So as we see San Francisco, I see no Mountain view, no Palo Alto and no San Jose (consider https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnzTgUc5ycc, just a little Helix for the fans). So will San Francisco get 5G, or will Google and Facebook infested Mountain View get the5G? The problem is not whether it comes now or later, the fact remains that implementation and deployment had to be done and be past the 100% deployment preparations 6 months ago and the players left it to the final moment, whilst some of the infrastructure should have been available a long while ago.

The setting is not merely 5G, it is the availability that is connected to all this that follows. Part of this situation is given weight to issues when we consider Telecom Lead giving us (at https://www.telecomlead.com/5g/192-operators-start-5g-network-investment-gsa-87745). The quote: “192 mobile operators in 81 countries are investing in 5G network as compared with 154 operators in 66 countries in July 2018, according to the latest GSA report released in November 2018” shows us that 15 countries are already late to the start and it involves 38 operators. Now, that might be valid as some are not in the size to be the initial adopters, yet it is merely the top of the iceberg. This Titanic is showing a leak when we get to “GSA also said 80 telecom operators in 46 countries have announced their plan to launch 5G to their customers between 2018 and 2022. 37 networks will launch 5G services in 2020 alone“. If this is the stage knowing that you are in one of the 37 countries. The 9 countries that are optionally launching between 2018 and 2020 might have a local advantage, yet which of these 9 are starting fist, or get to start between 2021 and 2022 is equally an issue to explore. We see: “Telstra, TeliaSonera Finland, Ooredoo Kuwait and Qatar, Zain Kuwait, and STC Saudi Arabia have done 5G deployments using commercial 5G base stations but are waiting for devices to enable service introduction“, here we see Australia to be ahead of the curve, yet waiting for devices implies that it goes beyond the mobile phones, I reckon that there is something else missing, yet what it is and when it comes is not given. The article also gives us the entire 5G trap and the Verizon steps that are in question. It is the reason why I mentioned Telstra 3.5G in the first place. We are given “Verizon’s network is not yet 3GPP compliant. It uses Verizon’s own 5G specification, but will be upgraded to be 3GPP compliant in the future“, so does that mean that it is merely a Verizon issue opening the market for Sprint, or are they both involved in that same pool of marketed pool to some form of ‘5G’ branding, and not the standard?

If that is truly the case, if this is truly verified, will the day that the 5G switch is turned on in the US, Japan and Saudi Arabia show that Saudi Arabia and Japan gives the people true 5G and America does not, does that make them the loser in the 5G race on day one? The question now becomes is Sprint 3GPP compliant, and more important what is the failing of 3GPP compliant bringing to the table?

When I look at the data opportunities that 5G brings, the opportunities that blockchain technology can revolutionise (especially in America) in retail with 5G are unheard of. There is a true growth of investment options available, yet are these opportunities seen as such?

So where is the ruination?

You see, this is the first time in history where high-tech is running ahead in China. In the past, America had the radio, they had the TV, they had video, DVD, Japan brought the Blu-Ray, and the US had 4G first; yet it all falters when we realise that this time around China is not merely on par, they are optionally ahead in the next technology wave, we have never seen this advantage from China before, and at the speed at how they caught up in the past, is worrying many nations as they are now ahead and optionally they can create more headway as they start giving the US less and less advantages, optionally resulting in greater economic advantages for China as America ends up having to catch up now, an advantage of being first which is now optionally no longer with the US.

The question becomes, will the consumers have to pay for that lack of headway? Even as we push for the comparison in the past app stage of 4G, we see that the IP war can become a much larger headache when you are not China, it might be good, it will most likely be bad and in the end we might benefit yet the reality is that massive amount of money will start going to the far east (China) and it will impact all manners of ecommerce soon enough. Yet will that happen? We might know tomorrow as the techboys (and one techgirl), AKA Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella, Ginni Rometty, Safra Katz and Steve Mollenkopf meet with White House officials later today. So as Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and Qualcomm decide on what happens (or needs to happen) in the next 24 hours, I wonder what concessions they will get from the White House as long as they all finish second to none and give America the 5G pole position result. Ego comes at a price and I reckon that we get to know the cost of White House ego tripping before the end of the year.

In all this, I wonder, can I make matters worse when I ‘give’ 2 billion in IP value to Huawei? When we are pushed, should we not push back? When the others face too late the element of delay by not adhering to logic, and by ignoring common sense, should I give them consideration? That is actually a main point here, as technology becomes the main political pawn, how should we react? We can agree with Alex Younger that any nation needs to negate technological risk, we could consider that he seemingly had the only valid opposition against Huawei, as it was not directed at Huawei, but at the fact that the tech is not British, the others did not work that path, and as we see that technology is cornered by the big 7, those in the White House with an absent person from both Apple and Huawei. We have accepted the changed stage of technology and that might not have been a good thing (especially in light of all the cyber-crimes out there), also a larger diverse supplier group might have addressed other weak spot via their own internal policies, another path optionally not averted. So as we focus on national needs (which is always a valid path), should I hand that 2 billion dollar patent to Australia, who is too often in the pocket of Telstra (as I personally see it), or put it on the market for any to buy it, when that happens, do I create opportunity or limitations?

That is a question that most of us did not consider as the tech market had been global for the longest of times, yet as 5G comes into play, that might soon change and with that we will get new answers, new challenges and a lot more diversity (whilst having to entertain a whole range of new limitations as well). In my view there is an unseen balance between ruination and opportunity, yet this is where time is not a factor, it will be about the connectivity that one offers another and that is when we see that time influences it, but it is not the larger factor of influence. It is a market where diversity becomes an enabler against time (partially in opposition of time). I stated this before. As 4G gave us the golden path towards ‘wherever we are‘, 5G will be largely about ‘whenever we want it‘. It affects ‘on demand’, it enables ‘I need it now’ and it gives rise to security, automation and non-repudiation to a much larger extent. We have clearly seen that Huawei and China are in pole position of that race, and we must wonder who of the other players can catch up in time offering the full 5G with all elements validly in place (not using Verizon’s own 5G specification, or a version thereof).

I look forward to 2019 as I have already found 2 optional gaps; I wonder how many more I will find.



Filed under Finance, IT, Politics, Science

Wanna buy some Junk (stocks)?

OK! I admit that I am slightly over the boil at present. Not only have we seen several banks with their ‘why would I care what happens to others’ attitude, now we see the message that Co-op bank has now ‘ascended’ to the status of Junk!

Several things are happening, yet, let us take a few steps back, so you can see why this upsets me so. The year was 2009; Britannia (building society) gets added to the Co-op bank group. This happens around the same time SNS Reaal had a property finance group dwindle its value by a quarter of a billion Euro’s, and that was not a bad day for them. 2010 would then become the massive body blow to the SNS as their property group would increase its 2009 damage by 300%. So, at this point, is there anyone out there not wondering why this continued for 3 years?

Whilst all these property issues were happening all over on the EU side, the Co-op bank thought it was a good idea to continue in their footsteps? Consider the issues, which are NOW stated as issues, must have been known then too.
That in itself means that more than just a small investigation needs to take place. There is every notion that the involved parties require investigation. If we see the waves continuing from 2009 onwards, we see a wave of mergers, left right and centre with a shifting of ownerships and a shifting of losses over and over again. At the middle is a small group of people who seem to ‘make’ their quota and getting a nice 7 figure commission in the process. Poor Prime Minister Cameron was admitting defeat in the papers at that time. Whilst well over seven billion pounds in bonuses were granted to less than 3000 people. So in this age the noble art of thief, burglar, prowler and cut-throat is gone. Instead, some become bankers, you get the idea.

So, we saw the Britannia merger in 2009. The consequence was that Co-op acquired a company (The Britannia) ‘worth’ 35 Billion, yet, when we look at the value of Co-op, those numbers seem to be completely off the wall. Can anyone explain to me how a bank, who in their financial results of 2008, stating an operating result of 85 Million, with 64 Million of profit before taxation sucks up a company with a stated worth of 35 BILLION? No one seems to be asking the questions many should be asking. Now, as stated before, I am no economist and my degrees do not include economy, yet the Co-op/Britannia combination makes as much sense as me walking into IBM HQ, walking up to Ginni Rometty’s office asking her ‘How much for just the company?’, paying her for IBM, take over her office and have it redecorated. And trust me when I say that her weekly allowance is a lot higher than my pre-tax annual income.

So, as this happened, no one seems to be asking the tough questions. In the meantime to the next time-slice, the following issues occur. Our trusty Dutch nationalised SNS, now values at minus 127 Million and its property market is now reported at minus 600 million Euro. At this time, alarms should have been singing, ringing and clinging on many levels, not just at Co-op banking group. For those thinking that they are just separate banks then I would state that this is not entirely accurate. Consider that RBS took part of ABN AMRO (former one of the big four banks of the Netherlands). In the time (pre purchase of Britannia), Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Lloyds TSB and HBOS Plc needed a massive bailout by the UK government. Soon thereafter Co-op suddenly goes fishing for a great White, using nothing more than a Dinghy and a $9 bamboo fishing rod?

In that same period Co-op is involved with the purchase and annexation (to coin a phrase) of Somerfield stores. It was reported to have a net income of just more than 220 million pound a year, yet, it was purchased for a 1.5 billion pound. That part makes decent sense as the net profit is a little over 10% of the purchase value. Yet, in light of Britannia and other events taking place, I add some serious question marks with these methods of vulture growth through acquisitions. I have seen this happen over the decades, and overall it rarely turns out well. This story turns that way as we see the Co-op food group (name after the merge of Somerfield stores) had reported in 2011 (as stated by The Guardian on 25th August 2011) a 21% fall of profits. Suddenly, the 220 million pound profit shrinks and looks less appealing. The Guardian in the same article also reported: “The Company has committed to investing £2bn in the business over three years, with £280m spent in the period.

So the initial spending outstretches a full year of profits, with investments stretching beyond the 130% of the purchased value of the food stores. With refitted shops, additional refitting and new shops, the total number of shops seem to go beyond 550 stores. This is happening at times when caution is the only way to go forward.

The additional cost of getting these systems to run and align in an infrastructure would require massive amounts of resources. That part became clear if we look at the story from Computer World (http://www.computerworlduk.com/news/applications/17614/updated-co-operative-bank-losing-customers-through-system-problems/). This story is set to the Bank itself, yet the issues of so many sides and so many systems, and therefore the enlarged infrastructure required is not a relief of costs, but a pressure added to it.

Another side of pressure was displayed by Reuters (http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/02/27/uk-cooperativebank-lloyds-idUKBRE91Q00E20130227). On the 27th of February this year it was stated that Co-op was somewhat short on cash. They were 1 billion short. (oh, let me get my wallet! Duh!) This seems to be the major reason that the addition of 632 branches of the Lloyd’s Banking group could not be purchased.

These facts are more than worrying. The vulture acquisition game is worse than a game of Texas Hold’em Poker. First there is the fact that the board of directors is gambling with other people’s money, the second part is that the circle of damage increases with each acquisition. Consider that the UK only has a 0.3% economic gain at present and that the economy is extremely fragile for now. Allowing these mergers to continue until a solid block of stability is gained should be disallowed on several levels and not just with co-op. Until the economy bounces back and the costs are more stable, this bank should clearly be placed under scrutiny of the most conservative nature.

It is said that the Co-op banking group consists of almost 125.000 employees. Now consider that any hardship hits this group. A thought that is not too unrealistic, especially as they are on shaky grounds for now. I am not just talking about their Moody status, to which their response was on May 11th 2013 as ‘Disappointing’. I am talking about infrastructure issues, weather related issues and any issues that will drag the rest down if additional write downs will be required to the property group from the Britannia acquisition (consider what happened to SNS Reaal in the Netherlands), a mere 5% write down will come down to over 1 Billion, whilst their cash reserves is already 1 Billion too low. So if that result in shut-downs and lay-offs, then a 10% loss of staff is not unrealistic, which means another 12,000 will be out of a job. That must be prevented at all cost. Such damage could push the UK 0.3% increase down to a lower than 0.1% decrease soon thereafter. In addition, those cut downs will hurt their non-aligned infrastructure even more and that might even start a snowball effect on people and infrastructures. I admit that the previous paragraph is all speculations on my side. I have however seen these kinds of reorganisations and crushing results first hand. I had faced them when the economy was good, under current conditions; these events are a nightmare to consider.

Is there any good news here? Well, I feel that I am not that optimistic on the statements they made, yet, overall Co-op could be in a worse place. The only proper solution for them in my mind is to dig in and weather the storm for now. Getting by the next 2 years is more important than allowing one rash acquisition to endanger it all. You will wonder about my evidence?

That is a fair question!

Many businesses are in a bad shape, and there is every chance that some will fail. Now consider the Property acquisition (Britannia). No matter how high their assets are set. Part of their acquired branch was commercial lending and mortgages. Last December Reuters quoted this, a real issue taking in regards the high pressure on lacking stability funds “At this rate it will take another decade to return to normal – and I’m not sure there is much anyone can do about it.

So increasing more pressure could in the end result in the taxpayer getting a hefty addition to the outstanding national debt. A national debt, that is currently in excess of 1 Trillion Pounds.

So, from my point of view it is important to consider the story we saw recently in the Netherlands. The SNS Reaal board counted on Government bail-outs as they regarded themselves too big to fail. We need to make sure and make it clear that the Co-op banking group is not allowed to be this arrogant, or allowed such a way to a bail-out.


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