Tag Archives: iPhone

Squeezing the Apple juice

We know that Apple has been playing games in the past, I myself lost close to $5,000 due to their little games, yet I also have had great joy with their devices, so when I read ‘Apple faces lawsuits over its intentional slowing of older iPhones‘, (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/dec/22/apple-lawsuits-intentional-slowing-older-iphones), I decided to remain a little cautious. One of the claims in the class action regarding the batteries was countered by Apple with: “Apple has admitted to slowing down the iPhone 6, 6S, 7 and SE when their batteries are either old, cold or have a low charge to prevent abrupt shutdowns“, this is odd as the Apple 7 is less than 15 months old (about the same time I got screwed with my Apple). What is a real danger is linked to the claim “Apple purposefully and knowingly released operating system software updates to iPhone 5, iPhone 6 and certain iPhone 7 phones that slowed the performance speeds of the central processing units (‘CPUs’) of these devices“, if proven could result in a massive fine and even could opt for the dropping of the price of the iPhone X by a lot (30%-60%), which would give the first wave owners additional reason to be angry too. One of the plaintiffs gave: “Instead, Apple appears to have obscured and concealed why older phones were slowing down.” which would be part of the issue and not the smallest part of it.

And Apple is not done, in the last few days, the media have been drowning us with all kinds of Apple news. Some come with the upcoming optional acquisition of Netflix, some come with the fact that the prices of Apple batteries have been slashed to a mere $29 dollars, Apple developer program fee waiver and even Fortune with ‘Why the Next iPhone X Could Be Apple’s Biggest Smartphone Ever‘ is taking part in all this. With “KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that he believes Apple will offer an updated iPhone X this year to complement a larger, 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus model” we see a new twist. The people who spent $1829 on the ‘old’ model merely a week ago will see their model outdated whilst it is still in the warranty phase, that is if they didn’t spent the additional $299 for the Apple Care option. So as we see these waves we might lose side of the Business Insider who is giving us: “Apple’s battery controversy could cost the company over $10 billion in lost iPhone sales“, (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/apple-battery-controversy-10-billion-lost-iphone-sales-2018-1).

Barclays gives us four main reason, but the one that matters is awareness, Apple had been left in the shadows for the longest of times and now that the actions of Apple are out, the people are taking more notice, the fact that the old X is now getting the shadow of the new X is equally an issue as sales could plummet. Who wants the old model now, when they could feel inferior as the Greek summer arrives and a larger screen edition, all for taking the bikini selfies on 6.5″ would be preferred by man and woman alike?

Yet in all this, the act of the accused battery drain scenario is now falling in the backdrop. Even Forbes who gives us “reducing the $79 charge for battery replacement services to $29 for 11 months “for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later” does not seem to give too much addition to all those iPhones that were working fine recently and now that the patch is there, the 5 year old iPhone 5, immaculate or not is to be regarded as obsolete. So much for the tribute to Steve Jobs that Tim Cook gave in September 2017. With “Steve’s spirit and timeless philosophy on life will always be the DNA of Apple“, which pretty much went out of the window through the use of a battery and an alleged software patch. Even as Vox gave us ‘Apple admitted it’s slowing down certain iPhones‘, yet how will this play in the class action? I am betting that their legal defence will rely on the words ‘miscommunication‘ and a ‘failure at the QA level‘, which does not make Apple innocent, it merely makes it look less guilty and whilst we now see all the massive waves of news (the Netflix rumour, which I got from a Citi source is the biggest limelight push) will aid in getting the water nice and muddy until the people care a little less on their bad investment of $1800+. The Vox article (at https://www.vox.com/2017/12/22/16807056/apple-slow-iphone-batteries) also has the Apple ‘party line’, which is: “Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components“, which is in my book a way of stating that the battery is the lemon not worth the Squeeze. Apple basically needed the Samsung Note 7 battery, but dreaded the inflammation of flames in the iPhone, we saw how that pounced Samsung, so as we see that their battery was not the solution (according to the software) we see the dangers that down the track your mobility and connectivity is set to a $29 battery and its 330 day lifeline. So is the larger screen about a larger screen, or will it be because the larger new iPhone X will be about the essentially desperately needed larger merely to keep the iPhone X switched on?

the most important part is seen in the statement by John Poole, founder of Primate Labs and Geekbench developer. with “Once the phone is shut down, the battery is in a state where the only way to get the phone back online is to plug it into a charger. If you’re out with your phone on the go, that’s clearly not a great situation to be in” we see that the negative evolution of iPhone from mobile smart phone to merely a phone and not a very smart one is at hand and for those on route, they get to live like the executives of 1975, on the road without a phone to appraise their customers of the delay that they are facing.

They could take a break and eat an apple, to keep the doctor and his/her ulcer medication away, but that would be the mean thought to have.

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Is it a Prise, Prize or Price fight?

This is an interesting time, you see, many will not yet realise it, but we are roughly 19 months away from a game changing moment in our lives. There are groups of people scurrying to get to a virtual starting position, because they have learned the hard way that not setting the stage for the fight means that they will lose out the second time and this time there will be no third round for them. If you are at this point considering that I am kidding or that my statement is over the top, you better reconsider fast, because Orange Poland is now starting to get backers who have serious amounts of cash and last Wednesday, AT&T released ECOMP (their version) in San Francisco. They called it Indigo and it is one of two markers that are now actively in place to set the stage for massive shifts in Big Data. Yes, you are reading this correct!

This is not just a stage of evolution, this is now starting to be a stage of transition. As the people are marketed into a sullied state of dreams, they are tempted to seek what the places bring to them. Places like Tableau relying on AdWords top placement to show how important they are in this industry, with others using the same path on how ‘the magic quadrant of Big Business‘ is the solution, on how we see the ‘Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader‘, but the truth is actually in another direction. Places like AT&T who basically got their asses handed to them as they did not act in the 90’s, they now see that being there ahead of the game is the only move left to them, because AT&T sees that America will not make them great, it will not make them the global player. That is the first shift we see are now witnessing.

In this a very similar view can be found in the movie Assassins Creed. Now, it got written off by a several critics, but the beauty of the product is not in the movie, which is still bringing in a decent amount of profit (millions) for first time producer (and actor) Michael Fassbender. The reason why this movie is so interesting is seen in the revenue. Only 25% came from the US, the rest international. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story does it to some degree where the US and international set is 50/50, the US is no longer the bulk of the income for, a basic issue that now needs addressing, especially by the American players.  That time has gone and these players have caught on that in 22 months the infrastructure is either in place, or they are out of the race. Even as we still see large players (like the Dutch KPN) rely on presentations on how ‘great’ they are. Certain players are realising more that tactics need to change, the presentation is no longer enough, and they need to be ready sooner than ever expected.

This is seen in another way, a way I already saw coming. This time it is the Canberra Times (at http://www.canberratimes.com.au/technology/technology-news/ftc-accuses-vizio-of-spying-on-smart-tv-customers-20170206-gu70p5.html) that gives the goods. We see ‘The US Federal Trade Commission said on Monday that Vizio used 11 million televisions to spy on its customers‘, which reminded me of my blog article ‘The back door‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/12/29/the-back-door/), which I wrote on December 29th 2016 with the part “consider the amount of mail you have at present and see what happens when 10 devices are added to your house profile. The refrigerator, your smart TV, your smart recorder, your game console, your laptop/tablet/PC, your 5 smart devices” as well as “A large group of people will get more and more access to your way of life. In addition, there will be an option to influence your way of life, which is a side nobody signed up for“, a stage that is now coming a lot faster than I expected. The Vizio case is only the most visible one now, this whilst more evidence is coming that Microsoft is engaged in similar actions. Is it not interesting that Microsoft is not mentioned? Perhaps that is because they are only doing that outside of the US? What is interesting is that with Vizio, places like Time.com states how to deactivate certain options, there are more and more indicators out there that this is not an option with Windows 10. How many devices use that? The other part we need to know is that the Vizio case started all the way back in 2014. So it took the trade commission well over 2 years to get there, and for how long was data collected? The interesting part is however not there, it is in the quote “manufactured VIZIO smart TVs that capture second-by-second information about video displayed on the smart TV, including video from consumer cable, broadband, set-top box, DVD, over-the-air broadcasts, and streaming devices. In addition, VIZIO facilitated appending specific demographic information to the viewing data, such as sex, age, income, marital status, household size, education level, home ownership, and household value, the agencies allege. VIZIO sold this information to third parties, who used it for various purposes, including targeting advertising to consumers across devices, according to the complaint“. You see, the issue is not seen towards one place, when you consider ‘including video from consumer cable, broadband, set-top box, DVD, over-the-air broadcasts, and streaming devices‘, this implies that Vizio played the field and was also getting the data from Consoles (which hurts Microsoft and Sony) as well as Foxtel (several data paths), so did Vizio get dobbed in? You see, in 2014 this field was in its infancy, now in 2017, whilst data will be the essential centre stage to all matters big data related, now it gets to be a different thing and still the media at large is asking way too few questions on the who, where and for how long. And as our exposure is set to 2014 cases that are only decided now. Even as now suddenly a wave of newscasts is hitting the screens of people on how Microsoft has privacy tools, how Microsoft is trying to quash gag orders. Microsoft is part of all this from the ground up. Whilst within a Chinese wall environment, one side of the wall is boasting that they champion the privacy of others. As we see that there are now Microsoft privacy tools, we see that that part comes with the small quote “coming to future editions of Windows 10“, which is the case because Microsoft and AT&T are very aware that being alive is being in the game and data is the one element that allows them to do it in an affordable way. There is an additional side, which was brought by Forbes. It is just a week old and gives us the consideration we actually need. The part where we get hit with ‘Tempest in a Teapot’, which could just be a storm in a teacup is not that minor an issue. You see Forbes own Thomas Fox-Brewster is setting the stage, but is he doing it intentionally so? consider “Trump’s decision should only affect the privacy of data handled by government agencies, not private companies” as well as “the only way in which the order may affect non-U.S. individuals lies in the manner the Department of Homeland Security handles personal information“, which is actually the part we should not care about. It is the ‘private companies‘ part that is the actual danger. First we need to take a look at the legal part. Now, I can do that, but the experienced people at DLA Piper (at https://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/insights/publications/2016/07/privacy-shield-is-final/) did that and I just hate inventing the wheel twice. Yet in that part the following issue rose, and it did so because it has happened before (and it will happen again). It is seen in this part ‘Secure personal data and ensure the ability to restrict secondary uses‘ and the issue is not because of that part exactly, it is because of the technological side to it. You see the restrictions on data and backup data are not the same, backup data is not seen as data. Forbes actually raised it in 2012 with “First and foremost, IT auditors need to come up to speed on the implications of auditing data that’s beyond the organization’s control and beyond the organization’s home borders. While some auditors are worried, many are more optimistic that these requirements provide business opportunities within the security, compliance and auditing community as organizations move data and long-term storage into the cloud” as well as “When data is moved beyond an organization’s technological and geographic borders, the organization runs the risk of losing control of how that data complies with regulatory compliance. By addressing legal and regulatory challenges up front through technology, an organization can begin architecting an off-premise, cloud-based storage solution that meets the business’s needs as well as keeps regulatory compliance at bay“, yet only now, or better stated only recently do we see a shift that places like SAP are now realising that technicians and consultants have their own agenda’s and an American one does not see things the same way a European technician sees things. Computer Weekly raised it, but they did so with the interesting quote “data analytics technology, will ensure that only technicians in Europe will have access to potentially sensitive data held in its cloud datacentres, if companies demand it“, you see, it’s the ‘if companies demand it‘ part that matters. If provider A has an infrastructure yet it gets its backup serviced by consultancy provider B who uses a different cloud and cloud system, where is the security set when system B is in the USA and system A is in Italy? There we might see the term ‘data safety is not impacted‘, yet it is equally not impacted when Intelligence Agency ‘who gives a damn‘ has mirrored that backup and now has 100% of all data. That is the realistic issue that the Privacy Shield addresses, but does it do that in equal measure for a cloud corporate infrastructure? Is the backup party vetted, or even identified? You see, this is not about paranoia or what people learn about me. This is about large corporations getting an even more unbalanced advantage. That part is not addressed because those supporting large corporation only need to delay things (Vizio 2014 is evidence enough). It is Kevin Werbach from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania who gives the parts I have been referring to. In a podcast on innovation we get “Companies like Uber and Airbnb are built on algorithms. They’re built on software that understands supply and demand and matches people on both sides of the network“, THIS IS IT!

That is why the players need the data and as much as they can. Do you think that people like Mike McNamara (Target Corp) got a massive oversized budget for the fun of it? No, he realised (and successfully sold that to the board of directors), that if he had the data and the systems in place he can take K-Mart and Walmart to town and take chunks of their share, in the next 6 months we are likely to see the first small victories, small in start but it will be a growing wave, have no doubt about that part. These are the advantages that larger corporations have and some are doing it ethically acceptable. Yet in a similar fashion I see that those taking a different path are not questioned or hold to any level of accountability. How is that for screwed up? I have nothing against these places, but in the global setting, Target would gain an advantage against the Dutch C&A if this continues. I believe that to some degree competitiveness is a good thing, but what happens when the tools available are not available to all? What happens when one retailer is ethically kept blind, whilst the outside competitor has a dataset describing the national population in excellent detail? Where is the fairness then?

So are we facing a fight with three players? That is not a given, there are a few elements in motion over the next 18+ months so there will be shifting. Except those who are claiming and considering not participating, they are pretty much out of the game for good. Nokia is now re-joining the mobile fight, trying to bring a competitor to the Pixar XL and the iPhone 7 to the fight (Nokia P1), what was interesting is that they avoided the one ‘mistake’ the Google Pixar has. It will be one way for people to get a cheap solution this year, but will it be enough?

Not enough data to tell and that is where it sets the pace of the continuing fighters, who has the data? Which might be the premise of a joke. Three fighters were getting into the match. One thought it was a prize fight, one thought it was a prise fight and one assumed it was a price fight.

Which player do you think will be the one left standing in the end?

 

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Challenging fruit

There is an old saying: ‘An Apple a day, keeps the doctor away‘, which could be regarded as correct, or at least as something that is not wrong. These are essentially two statements that depending on your way of life is either more or less correct. Yet, in technology it is a lot less correct, mainly because our health does not have a chance to survive if it comes with the daily cost of $679 a day.

You see, the fruity side of mobile phones is not really an issue when we look at the IOS side of things (aka: the iPhone world), it is quite another when we look at the Android side of things. Even though this was last Wednesday’s news. There have been a few things that required digging and it has been a little bit of a chase. The article was not the first one I saw as I was watching the Google event at 04:00 (as stated in a previous blog). The article ‘Pixel is a direct challenge to Apple – and a referendum on Google‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/oct/05/google-pixel-phone-market-apple-iphone), was on my mind, but so were a few other items.

The article raises a few issues, some of them are not entirely agreeable from my point of view, so let’s deal with them.

Some do get monthly security updates, but others get Android version updates sometimes years after Google releases new versions, creating so-called fragmentation that makes it harder to develop apps and services” is the first quote I have an issue with. For this I need to step back to one of my earlier smartphones. The Motorola Razr-V. Now, when I bought it I though it was an amazing phone. I still have it, it still works and it is in a drawer somewhere. When I bought it 4 years ago 1GB was ‘da bomb’. I had 4GB storage, so I was happy as can be. I had one update, which was from Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) to Jelly Bean (4.1) at some point and still, all was fine, just a little nagging need for RAM. What happened was what always happens, we need more storage and we need more RAM. Yet it was not the only thing that was an issue. You see, this model would not support Kit Kat (4.4) and now we had ourselves a horse race because we saw more and more news regarding security flaws and the essential need to have android as updated as possible. Now we get to the issue with the quote: “sometimes years after Google releases new versions“, which is not that correct. You see, the makers of phones did not consider upgrades to the OS, for the mere reason that they prefer to sell a new phone instead of upgrading your old phone, when the phone is deep within warranty it is one thing, however after that passes, the seller tends to not care and getting the new system vetted and fitted requires resources and a serious amount of them. So Motorola came with a notice that it would not be possible to update this model beyond KitKat. Now, because it was a cheap deal and I had actually not considered that updating the Android OS would be a biggie, I ignored it, and it was just one of those few lessons you tend to learn the hard way the first time around. You see, I am an Android user for a reason. As Apple advocated a device that can do a million things, and it can call people, the Android was the opposite. It was a phone that could do a lot of additional things. With Android the phone remained the centre, not the apps (as I personally saw it). The issue is more than semantics, I felt it was a state of mind, which is why I prefer Android (whilst not hating the iPhone).

Now with my feelings regarding safety and security, I believe that it is very important never to be more than 2 versions old, so as I am on Lollipop, it is essential for me to get a new phone capable of Nougat. Those on Marshmallow should decide for themselves if they want to wait another version before getting a new phone. In light that the average functional phone is over $600, that rule becomes a lot more important, also knowing that you are buying something that will need essential replacement after 2 years makes it even more important to find the right device and especially at the right price. This is why I have been hammering on systems with 64GB storage and at least 2GB RAM (3GB preferred). The fact that the makers are withholding these devices, whilst they are available, angers me. This is because the Telecom companies love a consumer forced to upgrade on an annual basis. What they fail to realise that our budgets are not as wide as their need for coke and hookers (if we believe the NY marketing needs, so the entire greed philosophy falls away. So when I go to the shops now, I expect a Nougat device, or a Marshmallow version at high discount. When a shop offers a Sony with a 2 year old operating system at $900 (Lollipop, aka Android v5), they have obviously lost their minds! Now this is the part that matters in the case of Sony. They call it ‘The pioneering 4K smartphone‘, as well as ‘Sony’s next-generation camera technologies in collaboration with Sony’s Alpha engineers‘ and then they promote it, whilst not updating the phone with an operating system that is less than a year old? And only this month, will they come with a previous version of Android (Marshmallow, aka Android v6). Now, this falls in line with the quote from the Guardian, the issue I have is that if they had their ducks in a row, the phone would have been in the shops with Marshmallow (v6), with the option to update to Nougat (v7).

It is my suspicion that the service oriented devices have not caught onto the need to have a more generic framework oriented approach. I touched on it in my article ‘Chicks for free‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/03/31/chicks-for-free/), where I touches on SaaS in March 2015, as well as the advantage Huawei gave to its customers by being competitive in price and hardware. They had cornered a nice chunk of market in just one year. Parts of all this were also discussed in January 2015 (https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/01/15/exploiting-mobile-users/). So the issue has been around long enough for the market to adjust, they just decided not to do that. So for Google to come with the Google Pixel (XL) makes perfect sense. Although, from my point of view, $1400 for a device that might initially not last beyond 2 years is still a hard pill to swallow. Apart from the retired groups who are out of cash and comprehension of the technology, we are now facing a growing group of people where the risk of malware exposure goes up tenfold. So the precedence to slam the mobile market is very appealing.

I do not believe that Google is the bad guy here, I believe that our comprehension of accepted support is changing. Let’s take the new Pixel. For one, the marketing was perfectly done and so far from cheap Telco page to Forbes, they are all wildly enthusiastic. A fair point of view, especially as I (from my needy point of view) found just one flaw. Now, there is a side that is not yet known, however, if Google delivers on the statement ‘Two years of OS upgrade from launch‘ as stated, meaning that your Google Pixel will support the installation of Android v9 (whatever that candy name will be, I vote for ‘Liquorice’), then the Pixel will be a steal at twice the price. Meaning that your $1400 should last you 3-4 years, twice the current expected lifespan, easily making it the only choice as an Android phone.

I have an even bigger issue with the quote “Francisco Jeronimo, market research firm IDC’s research director for European mobile devices, says: “Many people care about updates. They recognise that getting the latest update is about getting something better, unless they’ve got an old phone. But it’s about how easy it is to do. Going online and finding an update is something most will not do. If you present it as a notification, as Apple does, then most will jump on board.”“, in this I state that it is my personal believe that Francisco Jeronimo didn’t give the right ambiance to this spin. I have presented evidence that this issue has been known and was visible for the better part of 3 years. Old phone or not, the issue has been limitation of hardware and now that the players realise that the gig is up, they are likely to go into some form of blame mode, whilst their own approach should have changed years ago. The fact that brands like Oppo and Sony are selling what they call state of the art today with a 2 year old OS is just as big a joke, especially if it doesn’t come with the clear notice that an upgrade is available. If I need to give it a name, I would call it the annual update Telco requirement is pushing back and most people are willing to switch providers on a moment’s notice if needed. So Google went Fruity, looked at Apple (it has its own model of OS) and from that point of view, the power of a dedicated mobile became apparent. So now we see that for a mere $150 extra, we get a phone that is not 32GB, but 128GB. So only the dedicated silly would not get that, mainly because logic suggests that Android v8 and Android v9 will all be larger than the previous versions, as could logically be deduced. So not getting storage constraints over the next 3 years makes perfect sense, even if you have a minimal amount of apps. In this case it is not the 10 apps I have now, it is the notion that over the next 3 years I might get another 10-20 apps, as well as a few thousand pictures and knowing that storage will not be an issue, that peace of mind is very important, the moment you get hit by the limitation, it will make sense.

So as Google is challenging that fruity named competitor Apple, it needs to adjust its own model a little bit too. You see, there is a reason why corporate clients still rely on Blackberry. It is the one market Apple has not been able to penetrate, once Android does that, if will be able to shift its interests to another field of data gathering (I mean client instigated data gathering) and data encryption interactions, fields that Apple was not able to surpass Blackberry in, Google has a fair chance at changing that field, with Google now entering layer 1, they have a complete layer coverage allowing to take on the industrial strength enterprise security that Blackberry is famous for, which would give Android the push into the areas where critical security issues are the number one need.

The reality is that this would take at least one additional android upgrade before they enter that field, which have giving Apple the time, but not the engineering skills or the architecture to compete with Blackberry on that level. With this I imply that Apple by keeping to its consumer market views, it ignored a corporate side, or so has create the potential to rule the market, whether it will depends on what they do next, but they have been off to a great start.

The final quote is one that the article has dealt with already “Jeronimo says: “With the Nexus, Google attempted to bring the best device running the latest version of Android, but couldn’t give priority to one of the tier two manufacturers that were interested in making it when you have companies like Samsung and Huawei leading the market. It meant Google struggled to differentiate with its own device when its partners were already making very good devices that were good value.”“, it still requires a little extra and the element that is kept silent is the one I dealt with in ‘The smokescreen of a Smartphone War‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/09/30/the-smokescreen-of-a-smartphone-war/), you see, making a version and then making it not an option in Australia reeks. It reeks of Telco managed collaboration, the article stipulates why I feel that way. Now that Google blows storage apart with 128GB for $150 should show those two brands and a few others too, the stupidity of their actions. Huawei had an advantage by offering the 64GB, now that is a no no, it seems that Google can make a massive change, what was once a 0.2% market has the potential to become a 10% market in the next 12 months, which would be a growth that is unheard of. A market Huawei decided not to engage and now Google has voiced it will offer options that I would have considered overkill and not essential. Google seems realise that it does not matter whether the person prefers 64GB or 128GB, by offering them 128GB at a 64GB price is a winner in everyone’s books and it shows the consumer that 32GB might be good for nana and grandpa, the rest should just go big at the additional requested fraction more. In that regard the entire model race with two price additions, one for size of screen and one for size of storage is in my view brilliant (I will give credit that Apple had this approach already).

Which leaves us with the last speculation, no matter how we see 2016, with the changes of 2017 we see that Google is entering a new innovative phase of connectivity. Android devices like Google Home, might seem like a party trick, but the reality of Android devices and the option to connect them is more than a fab, the world presentation blew me away and where it matters, your Pixel could become the hub in all this, music on that little boom box, whilst streaming the pics to your TV. For the mere giggles in me, the device (an entertainment unit), which Microsoft promised the Xbox One to be and not delivered. Google now presents and delivers an actual entertainment system whilst not promising it. It is just too funny for words.

So whatever path you take, whether IOS or Android, just make sure it delivers long term what you need, if you do that, you will remain happy with whatever choice you make and that is what truly matters in my humble opinion.

 

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The smokescreen of a Smartphone War

Yesterday’s news gives us ‘The secret smartphone war over the struggle for control of the user’ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/sep/29/smartphone-war-operators-user-phone-service) held my initial interest for about 7.0 seconds. You see, it is an interesting story, but it is not the real battle that is being fought. As I personally see it, the secondary war is about the agreements that the Android phone makers seem to have with one another. That war we are kept in the dark about. In the end, the Telecom companies want you to be dependent on them, their products and their solutions. They give you some BS reasoning of ‘we weren’t offered that option‘, whilst their head office is all about containment. They only hold they have is by pushing you in a position where you need a new phone EVERY year. That is the service path we are all getting pushed into. Which is one reason why outright buy seems to be so overpriced in many cases. For the next bit we need to see GSMArena.com. There we find the following parts:

32/64 GB, 4 GB RAM
32/64 GB, 4 GB RAM
32 GB, 3 GB RAM (EVA-L19/EVA-L09)
64 GB, 4 GB RAM (EVA-L29)

You would think it is all the same, right? The last two are the same brand. I will get back to the list, but for now, what you would like to do is to check where you can get a 64GB edition, and for some that list is zero, you see, in Australian (not the only place) they are making sure that you cannot get the 64GB edition, in an age of consumerism, is that not weird? In that regard, Apple is the only one offering this, because of different reasons.

In all this, I have used my phone with a philosophy. It is a simple one and in my life of budgets an essential one. In the past, I learned the hard way early in life that chasing technology is a race that costs money and never leaves you with a true advantage, the gaming industry in the 90’s on PC were all about that. The mobile industry, like the PC industry learned this from the arms industry and they were really good students. So no matter what competitiveness they have, if they agree on a few ground rules, there will be enough space for exploitation for all of them. Now, in 2015, Huawei decided to rock the boat and as such they got a larger share than ever before, now that they are on par, they seem to go with the average lot of them. My hopes are that LG tries a same approach, which will cost Huawei et al dearly this year.

When you have been around your mobile for a little while, you will see that storage is (nearly) everything on a mobile and with marshmallow, a 32GB system will end up having about 22GB space left. There is the Android system and the mandatory apps, the amount leaves you with 10GB less. This is not a big deal you think, but over the year we will see an exponential growth of apps and they cost space too. Some people already learned this lesson with Pokémon Go and all the pics that were taken. They were realising how much space was lost. Now, we know that you can add a SD card and store pictures there, but apps must be run from the main storage and those apps are growing too. So over 2 years you would have run out of space. Meaning that you either clean up your system, or buy a mobile with more space. This you might have learned if you had an iPad or iPod. Storage was running low for some a lot faster than they bargained for.

So in this age, when the difference between 32GB and 64GB is one component which is in total a mere $32.87 more expensive, why would we even consider a 32GB system? Because at this point, the mobile warranty of 24 months could be served completely and we would not need another phone one year later! In addition, after 2 years we would have the freedom to choose a better and cheaper provider, so as I see it, neither Optus nor Telstra wants a 64GB phone in their arsenal and the only reason is that the iPhone is that size is because Apple has in general a global approach to their hardware.

Now let’s look again:

32/64 GB, 4 GB RAM – Samsung
32/64 GB, 4 GB RAM – LG
32 GB, 3 GB RAM (EVA-L19/EVA-L09) – Huawei P9
64 GB, 4 GB RAM (EVA-L29) – Huawei P9

Unless LG takes advantage of the option they have now, none of them offers the 64GB version in Australia! Is that not weird? Amazon UK offers both, and at times the 64GB is definitely more expensive, yet consider that at $100 more (for some a little more), you have peace of mind that this phone can last you 2 years without storage issues. That seems a pretty big deal to me. In addition, unless Android past Nougat (V7) grows a massive part, the user will have plenty of space to update their system, if the update would be offered. In addition, with all the other stuff we carry (photo’s music and so on), twice the size is pretty much the only way to go.

So why the mobile providers refuse their product to be on sale is just beyond me and the fact that none of them are offering a product in a place seems to be massively out of bounds. With Huawei the fact that there is a single slot and duo slot 32GB option makes even less sense to me. In my mind, this is all about control of the users, and controlling where the users go, which is a limitation on freedom devices have never offered before, so in my mind it was not with the consumers consent. The fact that Samuel Gibbs did not mention that part in their article is not as quoted “Fewer purchases mean the big smartphone players are now under pressure to extract more revenue from their existing user base, which is easier for Apple and its App Store than others reliant on Google’s Play Store, and to try to convince users that life is greener on their side of the smartphone divide“, it is to make sure that continuity prevails, to some extent for the smartphone makers, to the larger extent to mobile providers to keep them in their not seeking another providers place!

In addition the quote “At the same time, the mobile phone operators are in a similar competition. Switching between the major phone networks has always been an issue, whether it’s over price, customer service or the latest handset“, more important it is over bandwidth and facilitation, the more limits the hardware has, the less issues of competition the provider needs to deal with. So is Samuel Gibbs informing you on some ‘secret war’ or is he trying to keep your sight away from the options that matter? The fact that phone limitations is not part of his view (which could be because the UK offers both models) is equally disturbing that he did not look at this from a global point of view, when you are not made aware of what is by me expected and therefore implied is the limitation of hardware offered is as I see it, part of a secret war that they require you not to be aware of. If that is done intentionally, what do you think is in play?

So as the Samsung Note 7 is now an ISIS tool (when you install the 10 second countdown app) and only LG remains to go public with their new model, they now have an option to capture a much larger share of the audience as several of the participating parties refused to consider the consumers’ needs and seems to cater to the telecom request of limitation. LG has an option to grow much stronger in this market than ever before. Apple as IOS has a different situation and as seen on many fronts they have created their own walls of disturbance, so LG could even go after that lot, but we must respect that there is a huge offset between IOS and Android and as such, people are at times less willing to switch there. For now the latest rumours are that the V20 will start the pre-orders this Sunday in the US and European markets will be getting them, yet there is at present no confirmation for both the UK and Australia. So we will have to see about that part too.

The article had more. So consider my words and now see this quote: “Bibby says: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Flexibility like this is just the next stage of innovation so we’re not surprised to see others adopting it. Manufacturers are trying to ensure that more of their own handsets are sold in the market. They’re trying to clearly compete with each other.”” I disagree with Nina Bibby, marketing and consumer director for O2. The quote is not untrue, but incorrect. It is the presentation of what they want the issue to be, because is sets our mind at rest. I believe that the more correct quote is “They’re trying to clearly compete with each other within the agreed limits of the presented options“, which is not entirely the same! In that same view, the limitations due to the telecom agreements are equally in question. The fact that none offered the complete spectrum is just as much of a worry. Because it is like a corporation trying to make sure that its employees can never truly become independent, because that would be too dangerous for their own continuation. The second part in all this is the entire upgrade service program. It creates brand dependency, which is not essentially a bad thing, but guess what! I reckon that soon thereafter the 64GB option will come and there will be a churn for 12 and 24 months. At that point, the telecom providers would want a phone to last as long as possible. It could be in different ways. For example after 12 months 65% off and a $1 upgrade after 24 months. This is just speculation, so this is not a given, yet overall not that far-fetched.

The most interesting quote is at the end “For now, the battle for control of the phone in your hand is happening behind closed doors. Soon we’ll begin to see the phone-as-a-service idea pushed by one of the big manufacturers, but only once the operators are no longer crucial to sales“. The first part is that not all of the closed doors is about the phone, bandwidth has been a forever war between iiNet, Optus and Telstra in Australia, and the phone-as-a-service is not all in the hands of the manufacturers, that will come soon enough (in one case it already is) in hands of the Telecom companies, because that is a direct factor for customer loyalty, who does not see the $45 a month phone as the margin, it is the $90 a month subscription where their margin is and that part can be set to non-taxation a lot faster too. The phone is merely a hardware write-off, increasing their ROI.

So when you consider your new phone do not be fooled by the SD slot, wonder why the full version is out nearly everywhere else, except Australia? For Australians, consider one nice issue, the Kiwi’s do get the 64GB edition several stores have it available to order. So, do you feel special now, of just used by both the handset sales people and your telecom provider? More important, what other issues did that secret war of smart phones not inform you about? Perhaps you haven’t seen the implications of not having a choice in certain cases. People have been so busy bashing iPhone’s Apple that they forget that Android phones have their own collection of imposed limitations for the consumer.

 

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Chicks for free

Yup, that is the name of the game, how to get your chicks for free. You can go towards the end seeing what you can pick up from the free handing from the tray that serves the drinks and babes, but the song is not that simple, you see The Dire Strait sang: “Get your money for nothin’ get your chicks for free“. The song refers to doing things for fun, when it is fun, at times it feels like you are not working at all.

In my view the expression has evolved. As I see it, ‘money for nothing‘ is more and more about value for money. Deals that are too good to pass up. Here we now get to the issue at hand. We look at players like Apple (with their iPhone), Google (with their Nexus) and several other players like Nokia, Microsoft, Samsung, LG and a few others, yet the one player many ignored, namely Huawei did what others would not in their iterative field of exploitation. They decided to give the people value for money, not some half-baked offer, but the power offer that the models P7 and Mate7 are bringing. The P7 priced at almost 50% of the old models of most is more than a contender, in addition, the Mate7 offers a massively stronger device than the new models from Samsung, Apple, LG or Nokia can offer, hundreds of dollars cheaper. So now we get to the BBC article (at http://www.bbc.com/news/business-32126628). So the quote “The world’s second biggest telecoms equipment maker said its net profit was 27.9bn yuan ($4.5bn; £3bn), up from 21bn yuan in 2013” is not all about mobile phones, but Huawei is now quickly showing to be the number one choice for consumers and students (consumers, usually lacking in funds) alike. It seems to me that even though there is a decent group with funds that is all about value for money and that group has been ignored by the providers at large, which means that Huawei is now sweeping the nations on a global level. There are two parts in the story, which become a concern.

The first one is “Huawei’s growth comes despite it facing challenges in several major economies. In the US, it was branded a national security threat by legislators, because of its alleged close ties with the Chinese government“. There is no clarity on how precise this quote is (the next one will touch on this). So, if the statement is true, how about OOCL (containers) and Evergreen (Taiwan containers). Are they a security threat? I think it goes further, as some players were sitting on their hands, Huawei has been growing the business globally, now they are ready to get into bed with ‘facilitators’ in a very wide area of business. If we look at the Huawei Tecal servers we see a device that goes beyond simple needs. Its citrix compatibility gives a first view that soon Huawei will be the number one choice for new SaaS solutions, mobile providers of consultancy but from a cloud environment, meaning that these new engineers will be global. They are not ready for the next part yet, the issue is not just the data; it is about the transit mode of data for Huawei. They are now one step away from nibbling at the feet of Cisco. Cisco is comfortable for now, but that could soon change. You see, in 2012 Huawei was not ready for any of it, but they remained quiet for 2 years whilst their consumer market grew, now within a year, if their router solutions are decently shielded, they can move forward.

Now we get the second quote: “Meanwhile, it has been banned from being involved in broadband projects in Australia over espionage fears“. Really? So American solutions are not any kind of espionage fear? I am not judging, it seems to me that either our personal data goes to America or China. The article does not seem to elaborate on this part. This we see in the final quote of the article: “However, the company said it was well positioned to capture business opportunities with heavy investment in innovative areas such as cloud computing and fifth generation (5G) mobile technology“. Personally, I do not think that 5G is anywhere near an option for providers of mobile networking at present in any affordable kind of way, but the cloud is another matter. Whatever next part will be used to get business growing and moving forward will require the cloud. Yet, as I saw it for the last two years, security is just not good enough, not from any provider. That part can be seen in this place: http://2015itss.ucdavis.edu/event/the-weak-link-in-cloud-security-2/, here we see the following: “This session will illustrate and demonstrate that the very collaborative nature of SaaS (Software as a Service), such as Box or Google Apps, may also be their weakness. When organizations adopt cloud applications, users must take care to ensure that the organization’s sensitive cloud data does not end up in the wrong hands“. This is at the core of one of several issues. SaaS is only one part. The adoption and implementation is at the centre of a cloud that could be the fog that keeps us all blind as we lose data towards whatever provider of consultancy requirements were miscommunicated too. What a weak data web we weave for ourselves!

This event in June 2015 shows several more issues that we all in business need to consider as we are at times decently in the dark of that what must happen and that what needed to be done. The reality is that Huawei is not even a factor here, this all becomes an issue in any implementation. So why is there no clearer broadband issue? Is there truly a Chinese espionage fear, or are some players too dependent on whatever solution SaaS offers and in this stride, data leakage will be an issue from day one, whether the owner of the solution is Chinese or other. What is without a doubt is that Huawei is making massive strides, they are doing it in places where they were not a consideration 6 months ago! So what is wrong with the picture I am showing you?

I am not showing you any picture, but I am implying that the other big players (all American) are currently losing out on business, on revenue and on profit.

I wonder how the Dow will take it!

 

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Supporting exploitation

This time, there is a different issue in play, this time, I have felt the consequence of both crime and scheming, all in one nice package. Part of this is set in the article ‘Robbed of a mobile, but we have to pick up the thief’s phone bill. Why?‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/feb/11/robbed-mobile-thiefs-phone-bill).

Now, my mobiles has been stolen, it has been broken and a few other issues have gone my way. Now in the first, I have to admit that I was with Optus at the time, stolen mobile, we had a business account and to my surprise, a new mobile and no hassle (just a small fee). This was great, the doom feeling of what had happened was a feeling that some places are great to be connected to. Now in the article we see the following quote: “it’s worth pointing out that you are not liable for any charges once you’ve reported a phone lost or stolen. But there are often good reasons why this may not be immediately possible, and during the briefest of delays, thieves can run up catastrophic charges“. Yes, this is true, but there is also an initial solution. You see, no matter how important you are as a business person, your ego is getting in the way fast. You see, disabling International calls on day one, in addition to 1900 and 1902 numbers stops massive costs coming your way. There is also the embarrassment you have when your boss asks you which distributor had 1900-blow-my-mobile is also worth the day one blocking action.

The next paragraph is the kicker: “In 2012, Ofcom gave service providers until that summer to present plans to cap customers’ liabilities and declared they would face enforcement action if they failed. Nothing happened. In December 2013 the government announced that six of the big providers had finally agreed a cap, and that, from spring 2014, customers – like victims of bank card theft – would not have to pay more than around £50 for thieves’ phone calls. Nothing happened. A year on, only Three has introduced protection – customers are liable for only the first £100 before a phone is reported missing, provided they report it within 24 hours“, so when you are on holiday or on business abroad, and your phone gets stolen, the chance of you notifying your stolen phone in time is not an option.

The paragraph becomes even more interesting if you Google the following “Ofcom spineless useless“, you get 32,000 hits. So we can say that whatever Ofcom pretends to be, which by their own statements is “Independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries” (at http://www.ofcom.org.uk/), we can state with some certainty that it has failed the British people close to 100%. This view does not evolve in any positive way when we look at http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/enforcement/competition-bulletins/complaints-disputes/, where we see ‘Ofcom’s Approach to Complaints and Disputes‘, the text on that page is “This page provides links to guidance that Ofcom has produced setting out our powers and processes we will follow in conducting investigations into adherence with regulatory rules, consumer protection issues, competition issues and resolving regulatory disputes“, with a few PDF links, so how useful is Ofcom?

Well, the Guardian had this to say: “It would seem Ofcom is waiting for the government to do something and the government is waiting for the phone companies to find a solution“, which is not even close to the actual part, it seems that Ofcom is all about sort of regulating issues, but awaiting feedback from stakeholders in regards to these actions (which are likely to be phone companies and when we see the Telecoms Complaints Bulletin on Ofcom, we see a few charts on silent calls and unwanted marketing calls. So is Ofcom basically a report valve that gives the telecom companies a signal when marketeers and phone companies have to simmer down a little bit?

So when we see the claim “Ed Vaizey, the digital economy minister, met the big players last month. Once again they promised a code of practice, but, strangely, still haven’t agreed on the details. “We expect the networks to confirm shortly details of liability caps and when they will be introduced,” says the Department of Media, Culture and Sport“, we must wonder if Mr Vaizey is actually seriously looking into an issue that has played for many years now.

The next part involves Vodafone (or Vodafail as some call it) and opens up an entirely new can of worms, one that I myself have been privy to.

Vodafone says it has agreed to “explore” a cap but the sticking point is how to do that without destroying the incentive to report a phone missing. “We do not want to create an environment where it is even more attractive for criminals to focus on theft,” it says“, you see, that is not the Vodafone I have been experiencing!

So, last year I had a heart attack, this happens, as it happens I had a sim for my iPad with Vodafone, which is a data only thing. Now, I admit, I was late with paying, which is my own fault and whilst in hospital, they had cut me off. With that I had no issue; I was late, my own fault, as I stated before. Now comes the kicker, whilst in hospital  and after that in recovery, I learned that even though cut off, I am still liable for ALL COSTS, so that means that whilst cut off, I am still due all monthly expenses, even when disconnected. The fact that I had had a heart attack did not interest them. So I am still in a legal fight with Vodafone, I accept the initial costs, but the months after that I refuse, so it is due to go to court at some point. Vodafone might state it is exploring, yet its main need is to stay afloat, which makes them close to desperate. That part is seen with ‘Mobile users flee Vodafone Australia‘, which started in 2013. The quote “Vodafone Hutchison Group lost 600,000 customers in the three months ending September 30, even as its British parent first-half results showed a return to profit” is only the tip of the iceberg that will sink the ‘Vodafonic’ (that event filmed by James Cameron, where you see Leonardo DiCaprio drown in icy cold water at http://www.businessspectator.com.au/news/2013/11/13/technology/mobile-users-flee-vodafone-australia). The fact that Vodafone is still linked to a class action brought by Piper Alderman should indicate that Vodafone has a league of issues, capping is not even close to their essential need to solve.

But we go back to the issue at hand regarding phone bills. The article ends with the realisation that in an election year these issues will not be addressed, which means that this issue will stay around until at least 2016, which is odd as we consider the article ‘Bankrupted by a mobile phone bill‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/dec/07/mobile-phone-bill-cap-theft), which is 14 months old. The issue, that was raised and gave way for the quote “culture secretary Maria Miller told journalists in Beijing this week that a deal had been struck to introduce a bank card-style limit to a consumer’s liability – possibly as low as £50“. In my view as a Tory, both Maria Miller and Ed Vaizey need to wake up fast and start a few fires in the halls of telecom corporations. You see, it is after all an election year and should Labour or Ukip achieve that what the conservatives could not, the fallout will be, as I see it a conservative unpopular one (well over 80% of the population worries about their mobile bill), because governing from the opposition bench is not governing at all, it is merely spouting critique to those who govern. The first course of action, as I personally see it, is to shake up the Ofcom executive committee by replacing Steve Unger, Polly Weitzman and Jonathan Oxley. I reckon the signal that the chief executive, the general council and the group director for Competition are replaced by individuals with bite, who will hunt issues for the victims and the general audience, might give the signal to the Telecom companies to act now, or accept a much harsher deal soon after the elections are done. The reality is, that when that signal comes, they will all quickly agree with the Three policy, which means a £100 cap and possible a reporting extension to a max of 72 hours, which would be fair.

Yet, this is not even close to the only thing in play, you see, last month Google made an announcement to no longer support any Android version before KitKat (v4.4). This means that not only are people almost forced into new mobiles, the flaws, gaps and other issues that might pop up are at the heart of what follows and that what is already happening to the current mobile user base (including myself). First there are the iPhones. Apple is already experiencing the class action in that regard. The fact that IOS is taking up around 20% is just bizarre. Apple could have saved itself a lot of hassle by just having the 64Gb phone at a 16Gb price, I was told (from an unconfirmed source) that the parts involved costed no more than $49. So how ridiculous is the entire issue that Apple is forcing upon Apple? Let’s not forget they have around 170 billion in loose change. Now, I am not stating that they had to pay for it, but to just set the 64Gb edition at $799 would have saved them a boatload of hassles. In this Android is not without faults either. The new phones, with 2Gb ram and 16Gb storage drops down a lot in Android. There, of the 2Gb you are only left with 1Gb and you lose an easy 30% of your 16Gb. Now, that is still a decent amount, but to consider that my old smartphone, which was 1Gb with 4Gm storage has now dwindled to a 250Mb phone (so I can run 2 apps at the most), with just 2.4Gb storage is not what I signed up for. As Google became too clever for its own good, adding more and more trash I never want or need, setting dozens of updates which no longer let my phone work is now at the core of my problem. I cannot even deactivate most, it shows up at EVERY update, selecting what I actually need and not what Google thinks I might like is at the core of my growing resent of Android. And with every app pushed out, there is additional danger that the security of my phone gets compromised, especially as Jellybean is no longer supported.

Yet there is more. I am now looking at a new phone, whilst I know the limitations I face. The strongest was the Huawei Mate7 premium. Now, here is the kicker, the 3Gb phone with 32Gb storage will only get you 1.7Gb RAM and 25Gb from day one, Android takes the rest and this is close to the strongest phone that a limited budget can buy. In Australia the smallest iPhone starts at $1000, the 64Gb, which would be a minimum choice is 20% more expensive, whilst these phones only have 1Gb RAM. This all seems as short-sighted as the developers of Xbox One showed to have. Yet, it must also be said that 1Gb seems to suffice for Apple, that is shown in this small article (at http://www.phonearena.com/news/Why-Android-phones-need-3GB-of-RAM-and-iOS-gets-by-with-1GB-of-the-stuff_id62901), yes IOS is more efficient, but as IOS evolves, so will the need for RAM, which when it starts to be too little would of force us to upgrade again. Was it such a jump to set the iPhone RAM to 2Gb? When you become a penny pincher, you face class actions and that is exactly what Apple faces now. Although I remain (for now) Android minded, and When we compare the Nexus 6 (the very latest), we see that it only almost equals the Huawei Mate7 premium. The Nexus is however $100 more, whilst the screen resolution was a lot more impressive on the Huawei, but that could just be the Jazz screensaver. This shows that Huawei is not just the Android player, with the P7 and Mate7, Huawei is now the contender that makes Google sweat. Like Apple, Google could have saved themselves a lot of hassle by not skimping on resources, which could have pulled the customers in like a magnet, now in the margins they will see customers slip through their fingers, which will be an unsettling feeling for whomever misses out on commission.

All this as the providers supported exploitation; we see that the massive losses are now showing as the margins are not worth considering for some. The same could be said for the upcoming Samsung S6, it looks amazing, but as they fix one issue by being a 4Gb RAM player, they waste it on bringing a 32Gb version, which might suffice for now, but what in 2 years? Getting the 64Gb version makes sense, but then it becomes a $1240 millstone around your neck. So as I see it, Huawei is the budget choice, which still gives you a top of the line contender, iPhone and Nexus are slowly pricing themselves away by offering the entry option, which is a joke as we see space used.

All this now links back to the issue of phone theft and the inactions of Ofcom. If stolen bandwidth and phone time is all there is, than you are gravely mistaken, these smartphones are not just a connection, they are a link to your diary, your details, your credit, your access and your future. Soon, we will see that organised crime will not just call their mommy in Samarkand, Zhengzou, Davao or Vung Tao. Soon they will transfer your data and access and see what else is under the hood. That is the added danger of the smartphone, because you had one more mail to read, one more file to see or one more connection to make, all that in applications that were never closed and accessed be merely starting the application. You see, what we ‘need’ to have, came first, and we all seem to forget the consequences of such choices. Ofcom cannot be held responsible for this, but they should have set up several parameters a long time ago, as they remained inactive in the phone charges issue, they also did little to nothing into changing certain parameters in connection monitoring and non-repudiation, all that left to whomever else, that is the danger we will face in 2015 and 2016. Unless there is a drastic event that shakes up the media, there is every indication that nothing will be done until it is too late.

History taught us that there is nothing as effective as taking away someone’s cushy job to make the next person consider showing their teeth from day one, but that might just be my imagination.

 

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Who runs America?

This is a question that has been in the back of my mind for some time. When we consider the economic events from 2008 onwards and how slow (almost 2 administrations) it has taken for any economic legislation to take shape for the (at present) ineffective halting of moving tax dollars off shore. Even now, several economic boffins are slowly and casually mentioning that current measures are not going far enough.

The entire issue took a new foothold as we see the Ukrainian events unfold. We see how some politicians are acting so….outspokenly against certain acts. Now, I am not speaking out against these people, I believe in the freedom of speech and as such, we need to hear all sides. The issue was shown the most visible in the UK when some stated on how economic sanctions against Russia would be taken, like getting gas from a different source.

It was at that point when I saw just how hollow their boasts were. In my view those politicians would soon be dragged to a separate room where several high powered industrials would add these politicians to the Christian choir of ‘Mare Castratum’, see this as a slightly more efficient form of gagging a politician.

Why this view?

Consider that politicians would make that rash decision and also consider the fact that in the UK (amongst most EEC nations), the energy prices are way above normal. So in a place where like the US, 1 in 7 lives below the poverty line, where these people can hardly pay their bills, get confronted with a 10%-15% raise on energy bills. What do you expect to happen?

I expect something similar to happen in the US, as I see it there are two elements in play here. The first is the claim (at http://www.skynews.com.au/world/article.aspx?id=957624)

The two quotes are “The Senate on Tuesday expressed its support for Ukraine by passing strongly worded resolutions, using tough language against Russia and urging it be suspended from the Group of 8 world powers.” and “The House of Representatives also passed a resolution to condemn what House Speaker John Boehner called ‘Russia’s hostile acts of aggression’

I understand the second quote and I reckon that House Speaker John Boehner was quite correct to pass such a resolution. It is the first one that is an issue, I understand that governments want to stand in support of the Ukraine, there is no way that any objection to that is valid, consider however what the G8 stands for. If we accept the following ‘G8 nations comprise 50.1% of 2012 global nominal GDP‘, then without Russia, will the G8 be a valid office of existence and what to do to keep its validity? Replace it with China?

That part would make sense as in many ways, the Chinese economy would be much more interesting to America then Russia is for the mere fact that China imports almost 3 times more than Russia does (based on 2012 numbers). Yet, if this happens, then what will be the long term consequences? Consider that the Ukraine is in an even less prosperous situation then most EEC countries. Now consider the information (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2014/03/05/in-ukraine-crisis-russias-natural-gas-tactics-could-backfire/), basically the Ukraine was getting gas at a 36% discount. If that fell away, then what will the Ukraine do? The quote seen here “The UK National Balancing Point (NBP) futures for natural gas jumped nearly 10% to $10.28 per MMBtu, according to Bloomberg. Prices have since moderated as the political situation appears to be calming down” gives validity to my claims of the energy prices; if futures would take that must a blast, then I reckon the people could face a charge at nearly twice that percentage. There was a side in all this that I had not reckoned on. When we see the quote “The U.S. wants to become a large LNG exporter later this decade and a portion of that would be bound for Europe” we see two dangers. The first is that this is not just government, but this is definitely a ‘Big Business’ push. Yet, consider the amount of customers could be the issue as the amount needed would far outstrip what could be delivered. That part is implied in the Dutch article (at https://decorrespondent.nl/299/eerst-het-gas-dan-de-moraal/32952491-c7e501ab) called ‘Eerst het gas, dan de moraal‘, which could be loosely translated and paraphrased as: “Business before morality“, which is basically at the heart of all these events. The article states that the Russian pipeline is supplying well over 26 million households, which is well over twice the size of California (in households). There should be no illusions that Gazprom has its powerful claws firmly in the EEC.

Let’s make sure that I am not stating that the politicians are acting purely or mostly out of economic reasons. I am to a lesser extent implying that it is possible that the Natural Gas lobbyists in Washington have been speaking with politicians over a lunch or two (which is how things are done in the US and UK). That latter part was discussed in the Guardian in October 2013, as UK Labour leader Ed Miliband mentioned that these lobby groups are not getting the proper levels of scrutiny (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/oct/07/energy-firm-lobbyists-scrutiny-ed-miliband). So it is IMHO Big Business that is the second danger element in these cases. If the politicians represent the people, yet big business has the funds, ability and know-how to override the views of the people, then what use are the people at the end of all this?

This all goes a few steps further than just the energy groups. I started all this with a mention of economic sanctions. So how does this connect? Well, it does not directly connect, yet the elements all have their political influence. Consider the needs of Apple in Russia (at http://appleinsider.com/articles/14/03/07/russias-megafon-deal-with-apple-inc-guarantees-sales-of-750k-iphones-over-3-years). This was less than a week ago. So we consider the value of a little over 20,000 iPhones a month for the next three years and we should expect that this sparks the sale of iPad and iPod and other Apple articles. Do you think that the members in charge of Apple are hindered by morality? They have parked billions in taxable dollars away from the collecting hands of the IRS (and other taxing governments). The commission these people get from their deals in Russia will not stop them in any way. Whether there will be some ‘illusive’ distributor in India, Japan or China will not matter, the show (read sale) will go on. The same could be said for Dell. You think that they stop selling to Russia and leave their market share to ASUS? I think not! These are just two examples of the dozens of massively large companies doing business with Russian one form or another, not just from the USA, but also from Europe. In that same regard, there is not export without import, so as we see the boasts of economic sanctions to Russia by politicians, remember that when we see that when Russians show off their latest Apple gadgets on TV, the question ‘who runs America?‘ should remain firmly on your mind. In the end you should also remember that the entire situation is a lot more complex then I make it out to be.

As we focus on ‘Business before Morality‘ then remember the bills most of you have in your drawer still awaiting payment. We are nearly all of us overdue to the smallest or a larger extent and as some are more fortunate not to be one of the seven people living below poverty, consider that most of us are in the same place where 45% of us are, most of these people are all a little below getting by, which comes down to one step from a total nightmare life.

I am not stating it is a good place or an acceptable place; it is merely a realistic place. It is in this realistic place the question gets the volume it needs to have: ‘Who runs America?

 

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