Tag Archives: Margrethe Vestager

Murdering innovation

It started with the BBC about 30 minutes ago, 30 minutes after they released ‘Amazon v EU: Has the online giant met his match’, the title intrigued me and anyone who wants to go after Bezos and his haircut is allowed to do so, yet the EU tends to not care about anyone’s haircut, so I decided to have a calm read of it. 

Certain things made sense, yet a much larger part does not anto illustrate it, I start with a quote on the article: “The EU now looks set to charge Amazon for anti-competitive behaviour. This could cost Amazon a lot of money and could alter the shopping experience it offers customers.” To understand this I need to take you on a little time trip, my initial stage of Amazon was seen in 1994, I heard of it in its beginning and to me Amazon made no sense. You see, I grew up in the Netherlands, and for the most, any shop, in any retail area was never more than a hour away, optionally up to 2 hours if it was an exotic item (weapons, drugs) I had access to most items ever needed, as such Amazon made no sense at all. In 1997 I visited the US for the first time and Amazon started making sense. You see there are massive differences between the US and EU in certain ways and most people in the EU might not have gotten it. Amazon was an innovative player and came up and matured a retail direction. So when we get  EU’s competition enforcer Margrethe Vestager stating “We never accept in a football match that one team was also judging the game”, I merely wonder what her game is. And the setting of anti-competition law makes no sense. It makes no sense, because for close to 25 years others refused to go into the Amazon direction, as they remained in denial of what could happen. They remained in denial because they were iterative and small minded, they want the technology of others to come to them for free. And that is a thought that murders innovation. We see it in almost every area of technology. I worked for a company that stopped Facebook innovation 4 years before Facebook was created. Bullet point spreadsheet users who rely on the mission statement and the bottom dollar. They are left on the sidelines guarding iterative traffic. They feel that their option grants them more personal wealth. Now, anyone who has read my blog knows that I am no Jeff Bezos fan, but this he got right and the entire Covid-19 issue worked for him and now the champions of iteration (like EU’s competition enforcer Margrethe Vestager) are setting up shop to murder innovation a little more. You see the others now want the Amazon system for free, they want to enjoy the decades they were not working on innovation and merely (optionally) fucking their mistress whilst they claimed they were hard at work guiding their commision like it was a taxi meter. 

When I gave the stage of setting tax laws properly in 1998, people accused me that it was too complex and nothing was done, now that these firms are raking in the billions, those same people are staring at the sky stating that there was nothing they could do, but they merely ignore their own inactions.

Yet the larger concern is the stage that erupts when we see “It runs an online store and also sells its own products on that platform. The criticism is, that it’s both the player and the referee.” Yes, Google and Amazon innovated retail traffic, after the Netscape issues Microsoft hid in the IE cloud they created and IBM never showed interest, they merely did their own less profitable thing and now they want to push in on a market that had evolved for well over a decade and does fine without them. Microsoft came up with Bing a decade after Google and still has no proper way to set the algorithm for ranking, and misses out on a decade of data, which is how I see it. IBM has its own innovation (Quantum computing) and is still 2-5 years away from innovating that field, the rest of them are innovation candle holders at best. 

Yet I cannot completely ignore that the EU has optionally a case to bring, yet their own inadequacies regarding the mapping of the other players that never showed any interest in innovating the field Amazon is in is also food for thought. Those iterative players that will only step in on the second tier after the innovator has proven their case, how is there any level of fairness to give them the playing field? 

So when we see: “is the company using that data to give Amazon’s own products an unfair advantage?” I cannot completely disagree, yet the larger issue is that Amazon created a level of data collection that other data dogs refused to bark at. Now we all can agree that not every retail shop can wield such data and they should not get hit, yet this stage that Amazon has was in the UK going on for a long time via Dunnhumby did for Tesco and in The Netherlands it was Albert Heijn (et al) and their Air Miles. If you go after one, you need to go after all and that is not happening is it? Yet there is a size difference, but none of them came with an overlay of algorithm and made sense of it, they all wanted their own little corner, the innovation of Amazon was larger than that and everyone was in that selfish stage until they all learned (the hard way) that their way was the losing one. 

In all this Amazon is not completely innocent, yet that does not mean that they are guilty. The question we see: “But does Amazon unfairly promote its own products at the expense of third parties?” is woefully incomplete. The issue (just like with Google) is not on what is offered, but what EXACTLY did the searcher ask for? It is a huge part in all this and it is left on the sidelines, optionally intentionally and that hurts, because in all this the central side is not the sellers, or the implied sellers, what did the buyer exactly ask for and that matters, especially in the case of Amazon. The buyer did not ask for “A western where we see Talulah Riley naked with loads of added violence in the highest resolution”, they asked for “Westworld season 2 bluray”, and those two searches are not the same. We can come up with a lot more examples, but I hope that the point comes across. We forget that the largest issue is what the buyer seeks and the bulk want the latest products, they want the ones that ship immediately and can we honestly say that the founding setting of the product sought has all the elements in place (like shipping and overnight shipping options) are these elements properly set to those other sellers? You see, the backwash on what is optionally possible is one thing, the fact that these shops set up the parameters of what can be done in comparison of what is done are two different universes. 

For example, I cannot get to ‘there’ from ‘here’ in Google maps. These two locations are not defined, so when someone is looking at the Sombrero galaxy, it does not mean that there is a path getting there. 

It is the innuendo and the missing elements that make some strike out, optionally murdering innovation. Whilst we see: “The general defence is that there are plenty of companies that act as both a shop and supplier. Tesco and Sainsbury’s both sell their own labelled products in their stores, for example.” a setting duplicated in NEARLY EVERY OTHER country. Pretty much every supermarket chain has that setting, and it is ignored, because they are ‘too small’. I believe that the stage is different, as I stated, the others refused to adhere to the needs of the seeker, the consumer. As such they are out of the online game and that part is surprisingly overlooked. It is not the business of Amazon (or Google for that matter) to fill in the blanks, if Bing does that, perhaps it might have a future to some. 

It is our task to protect innovation, there is too little of it (not what a marketing manager claims is innovation, but actual innovation) if we do not, we merely end up fuelling the EU gravy train and those people need to focus on actual issues, not their gravy train. In this I am not stating that Amazon is completely innocent, I am merely stating that there are a few sides that some people left in the dark. To illustrate this I entered “buy arkham knight ps4”, the results in Bing and Google are very different, bing seems to be all about ebay, that same search in Google and Amazon give a much better result, they gave me what I was looking for. I personally was not looking for ebay options, yet was that part of the equation given? 

The buyer is the larger part in all this and most screamers forgot about that part.

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Middle of the seesaw

To be honest, I am not sure where to stand, even now, as we see ‘Google starts appeal against £2bn shopping fine‘ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51462397), I am personally still in the mindset that there is something wrong here. 

We can give the critique that my view is too much towards Google, and that is fine, I would accept that. Yet the part where we see 

  • In 2017, €2.4bn over shopping results.
  • In 2018, €4.3bn fine over claims it used Android software to unfairly promote its own apps.
  • In 2019, €1.5bn fine for blocking adverts from rival search engines.

Feels like it is part of a much bigger problem. I believe that some people are trying to stage the setting that some things are forced upon companies and I do not mean in the view of sharing. I personally do not believe that it is as simple as Anti-Trust. It feels like a more ‘social mindset’ that some things must be shared, but why?

The BBC also gives us: “Margrethe Vestager, who has taken a tough stance on the Silicon Valley tech firms and what she sees as their monopolistic grip on the digital landscape” this might feel like the truth, yet I personally feel that this was in the making for a long time, Adobe was on that page from the start. I believe that as the digital landscape was slowly pushed into a behemoth by Macromedia, who also acquired Coldfusion a change came to exist, for reference, at that time Microsoft remained a bungling starter holding onto Frontpage, an optional solution for amateurs, but there was already a strong view that this was a professional field. that stage was clearly shown by Adobe as it grew its company by 400% in revenue over a decade, its share value rose by almost 1,000% and its workforce tripled. There was a clear digital landscape, and one where Google was able to axe a niche into, the others were flaccid and remained of the existing state of mind that others must provide. Yet in all this Social media was ignored for far too long and the value of social media was often ignored until it was a decade too late. 

For example, I offered the idea that it would be great to be in the middle of serviced websites where we had the marketing in hands, my bosses basically called me crazy, that it had no functioning foundation, that it was not part of the mission statement and that I had to get back to work, I still have the email somewhere. This was 4 years before Facebook!

I admit that my idea was nothing as grandiose as Facebook, it was considered on other foundations an I saw the missing parts, but no one bit and now that I know better on the level of bullet point managers I am confronted with and their lack of marketing I now know better and my 5G solutions are closed to all but Huawei and Google, innovation is what drives my value and only those two deliver.

But I digress, the Digital Landscape was coming to be, and as we realise that this includes “websites, email, social networks, mobile devices (tablets, iphones, smartphones), videos (YouTube), etc. These tools help businesses sell their products or services” we can clearly see that Microsoft, Amazon and others stayed asleep at the wheel.
some might have thought that it was a joke when Larry Page and Sergey Brin offered the email service on April 1st 2004, yet i believe that they were ahead of many (including me) on how far the digital landscape would go, I reckon that not even Apple saw the massive growth, perhaps that Jobs fellow did, but he was only around until 2011 when it really kicked off. IBM, Microsoft and others stayed asleep thinking that they could barge in at a later stage, as I see it, IBM chose AI and quantum computing thinking that they can have the other niche no one was ready for. 

When we consider that we saw ‘Google faces antitrust investigation by 50 US states and territories‘ 6 months ago and not 5 years ago we see part of the bigger picture, of course they could have left it all to China, was that the idea? When we get “Regulators are growing more concerned about company’s impact on smaller companies striving to compete in Google’s markets” we will see the ignoring stage, when it mattered smaller places would not act, as Google acted it became much larger than anyone thought, even merely two years ago we were al confronted with ‘companies’ letting Google technology do all the work and they get all the credit and coin, why should Google comply? Striving to compete with Google is no longer a real option and anyone thinking that is nuts beyond belief. The only places that can hold a candle are the ones with innovative ideas and in an US economy founded on the principle of iteration no one keeps alive, but they are all of the mind that franchising and iteration is the path to wealth, it is not, only the innovative survive and that is being seen in larger ways by both Google and Huawei. Those who come into the field without innovation is out of options, it is basically the vagrant going to the cook demanding part of the pie the cook made as they are hungry, yet the vagrant has no rights to demand anything. 

And as we are given (read: fed) the excuse of “Alphabet, has a market value of more than $820bn and controls so many facets of the internet that it’s fairly impossible to surf the web for long without running into at least one of its services. Google’s dominance in online search and advertising enables it to target millions of consumers for their personal data” we can give others the state where Microsoft did its acts to take out Netscape, how did that end? It ended in United States v. Microsoft Corp.. In all,  we see that in the end (no matter how they got there) that the DOJ announced on September 6, 2001 that it was no longer seeking to break up Microsoft and would instead seek a lesser antitrust penalty.

As such, in the end Microsoft did not have to break up hardware and software, they merely had to adopt non-Microsoft solutions, yet how did that end? How many data failures and zero day breaches did its consumer base face? According to R. Cringely (a group of journalists and writers with a column in InfoWorld) we get “the settlement gave Microsoft “a special antitrust immunity to license Windows and other ‘platform software’ under contractual terms that destroy freedom of competition.”” (source: Webcitation.org). 

Yet all this is merely a stage setting, it seems that as governments realised the importance of data and the eagerness of people giving it away to corporations started to sting, you see corporations can be anywhere, even in US hostile lands and China too. That is the larger stage and Google as it deals in data is free of all attachments, as governments cannot oversee this they buckle and the larger stage is set. 

From my point of view, Google stepped in places where no one was willing to go, it was for some too much effort and as that landscape shaped only google remains, so why should they hand over what they have built? 

It is Reuters that give is the first part of it all (at ) here we see: “EU regulators said this penalty was for Google’s favoring its own price comparison shopping service to the disadvantage of smaller European rivals“, yet what it does not give us is that its ‘smaller rivals’ are all using Google services in the first place, and Google has the patent for 30 years, so why share? This is a party for innovators, non-innovators are not welcome!

Then we get “Google’s search service acts as a de-facto kingmaker. If you are not found, the rest cannot follow“, which is optionally strange, because anyone can join Google, anyone can set up camp and anyone can advertise themselves. I am not stupid, I know whatthey mean, but whe it mattered they could not be bothered, no they lack the data, exaytes of data and they cannot compete, they limited their own actions and they all want to be head honcho right now, no actual investment required.

In addition when it comes to Browsers, Wired gives us “I spent the summer and beyond using Bing instead of Google for search. It’s a whole new world, but not always for the better“, I personally cannot stand Bing, I found it to have issues (not going into that at present), so as we are ‘not found’ we consider the Page rank that Stanford created for Google (or google bought it), when we consider when that happened, when was it reengineered and by whom? And when we got to the second part “Google began selling advertisements associated with search keywords“, that was TWO DECADES AGO! As such, who was innovative enough to try and improve it with their own system? As I see it no one, so as no one was interested, why does there need to be an antitrust case? As such we see the Google strategy of buying companies and acquiring knowledge, places like Microsoft and IBM no longer mattered, they went their own way, even (optionally) better, Microsoft decided to Surf-Ace to the finish, I merely think, let them be them.

We are so eager to finalise the needs for competition law and antitrust law, but has anyone considered the stupidity of the iteration impact? If not, consider why 5G is in hands of Huawei, they became the innovators and whilst we are given the stage of court case after court case on the acts of Huawei, consider why they are so advanced in 5G, is it because they were smarter, or because the others became flaccid and lazy? I believe that both are at play here and in this, all the anti-Google sentiment is merely stopping innovators whilst iterators merely want to be rich whilst not doing their part, why should we accommodate for that?

so when we see (source: Vox) “United States antitrust officials have ordered the country’s top tech companies to hand over a decade’s worth of information on their acquisitions of competitor firms, in a move aimed at determining how giants like Amazon and Facebook have used acquisitions to become so dominant” who does it actually serve? is it really about ‘how giants like Amazon and Facebook have used acquisitions to become so dominant‘, or is it about the denial of innovation? Is it about adding to the surface of a larger entity that governments do not even comprehend, let alone understand? They have figured out that IP and data are the currency of the future, they merely need to be included, the old nightmare where corporations are in charge and politicians are not is optionally coming to fruition and they are actually becoming scared of that, the nerd the minimised at school as they were nerds is setting the tone of the future, the Dominant Arrogant player beng it sales person or politician is being outwitted by the nerd and service minded person, times are changing and these people claim that they want to comprehend, but in earnest, I believe that they are merely considering that the gig is up, iteration always leads there, their seeming ignorance is evidence of that.

Yet in all that, this is basically still emotional and not evidence driven, so let’s get on with that. The foundation of all Common Law Competition Law is set to “The Competition and Consumer Act prohibits two persons, acting in concert, from hindering or preventing a third person trading with a fourth person, where the purpose or likely effect of the conduct is to cause a substantial lessening of competition in any market in which the fourth person is involved“, yet in this, I personally am stating that it hinders innovation, the situation never took into proper account of the state of innovators versus iterators, the iterator needs the innovator to slow down and the foundation of Competition Law allows for this, when we see ‘preventing a third person trading with a fourth person‘, in this the iterator merely brings his or her arrogance and (optional) lack of comprehension to the table and claims that they are being stopped from competing, whilst their evidence of equality is seemingly lacking (as I personally see it). 

In this the Columbia Law School is (at least partially) on my side as I found “Scholars and policymakers have long thought that concentrated market power and monopolies produce more innovation than competition. Consider that patent law—which is the primary body of law aimed at creating incentives for innovation—was traditionally thought to conflict with antitrust law. Known as the “the patent-antitrust paradox,” it was often said that antitrust is designed to prevent monopolies and other exclusionary practices while the patent system does the opposite, granting exclusionary rights and market power in the form of patents. Given this framework, it makes sense that scholars, courts, and government agencies have only recently considered antitrust and patent laws to be complementary policies for encouraging innovation.” it gives the foundation and when you consider that iterators are the foundation of hindrance to innovators, you see how competition law aids them. In the old days (my earlier example) Microsoft and Netscape that was a stage where both parties were on the same technology and comprehension level. Microsoft merely had the edge of bundling its browser with the OS and got the advantage there, Netscape did not have that edge, but was an equal in every other way. 

Another name is Gregory Day, who gives us: “a greater number of antitrust lawsuits filed by private parties—which are the most common type of antitrust action—impedes innovation. Second, the different types of antitrust actions initiated by the government tend to affect innovation in profoundly different ways. Merger challenges (under the Clayton Act) promote innovation while restraint of trade and monopolization claims (under sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act) suppress innovative markets. Even more interesting, these effects become stronger after the antitrust agencies explicitly made promoting innovation a part of their joint policies” yet I believe that iterators have a lot more to gain by driving that part and I see that there is actually a lack of people looking into that matter, who are the people behind the antitrust cases? Most people in government tend to remain unaware until much later in the process, so someone ‘alerts’ them to what I personally see as a  ‘a fictive danger’. In this I wonder who the needed partner in prosecution was and what their needs were. I believe that iterators are a larger problem than anyone ever considered.

In the case of Google, Amazon and Facebook, we see innovators driving technology and the others have absolutely nothing to offer, they are bound to try and slow these three down as they are trying to catch up. 

Ian Murray wrote in 2018 (CEI.ORG), “Yet there is no such thing as a dominant market position unless it is guaranteed by government. AOL, Borders, Blockbuster, Sears, Kodak, and many other firms once considered dominant in their markets have fallen as the result of competition, without any antitrust action” and that is a truth, yet it does not give that the iterators merely want innovators to slow down, so that they can catch up and the law allows for this, more importantly, as the lack of innovations were not driven over the last decade, South Korea became a PC behemoth, and China now rules in 5G Telecom land. All are clear stages of iterators being the problem and not a solution, even worse they are hindring actual innovation to take shape, real innovation, not what is marketed as such.

As such, governments are trying to get some social setting in place by balancing the seesaw whilst standing at the axial point, it is a first signal that this is a place where innovators are lost and in that are you even surprised that a lot of engineers will only take calls from Google or Huawei (Elon Musk being an optional third in the carbon neutral drive)? 

It gets to be even worse (soon enough), now that Google is taking the cookie out of the equation, we get to see ‘Move marks a watershed moment for the digital ad industry to reinvent itself‘, this is basically the other side of the privacy coin, even as google complied, others will complain and as Google innovates the internet to find another way to seek cookie technology, we will suddenly see every advertisement goof with no knowledge of systems cry ‘foul!’ and as we are given “Criteo, which built a retargeting empire around cookies, saw its stock tumble following Google’s announcement. Others such as LiveRamp and Oracle-owned businesses BlueKai and Datalogix, as well as nearly all data management platforms, now face the challenge of rethinking their business” (source: AdAge) we will see more players hurdling themselves over Competition Law and optionallytowards antitrust cases because these players used someones technology to get a few coins (which is not a bad thing, but to all good things come an end).

And I am not against these changes, the issue is not how it will be reinvented, it is how some will seek the option to slow the actual innovators down because they had no original idea (as I personally see it). Yet we must also establish that Google did not make it any easier and they have their own case ORACLE AMERICA, INC. v. GOOGLE INC. to thank for.

That verdict was set to “With respect to Google’s cross-appeal, we affirm the district court’s decisions: (1) granting Oracle’s motion for JMOL as to the eight decompiled Java files that Google copied into Android; and (2) denying Google’s motion for JMOL with respect to the rangeCheck function. Accordingly, we affirm-in-part, reverse-in-part, and remand for further proceedings.” in this situation, for me “The jury found that Google infringed Oracle’s  copyrights in the 37 Java packages and a specific computer routine called “rangeCheck,” but returned a noninfringement verdict as to eight decompiled security files. The jury  deadlocked on Google’s fair use defense.“, as I see it in that situation Oracle had been the innovator and for its use Google was merely an iterator (if it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it).

Basically one man’s innovator is another man’s iterator, which tends to hold up in almost any technology field. Yet this time around, the price is a hell of a lot higher, close to half a dozen iterators ended up giving an almost complete technology surge to China (5G), which is as I personally see it. They were asleep at the wheel and now the US administration is trying to find a way around it, like they will just like ORACLE AMERICA, INC. v. GOOGLE INC.  more likely than not come up short.

And one of these days, governments will figure out that the middle of the seesaw is not the safe place to be, it might be the least safe place to be. As the population on each end changes, the slow reaction in the middle merely ends up having the opposite and accelerating effect, a few governments will learn that lesson the hard way. I believe that picking two players on one (or either side) side is the safest course of action, the question for me remains will they bite?

 

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And the news is where?

Well there was the news this morning ‘World leaders return to ‘Davos in desert’ a year after Khashoggi boycott‘, but I dealt with that 4 days ago during ‘When we say ‘Ney’ to an event‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/10/24/when-we-say-ney-to-an-event/), complete with the summit time frame, seems like such an interesting delay. Perhaps the entire Nikkei setting is rather more interesting than that. Nikkei review giving us “Mizuho and SMBC among 15 names planned for historic listing“, whilst also giving us “The roster of underwriters could change depending on where Saudi Aramco goes public“, that part will get more visibility in the stage where ‘Aramco proposes two-stage IPO, shunning London and Hong Kong‘, that partially made sense, especially as HSBC took a flounder in the last year, by itself it is not a explanation, yet the events that overlap Jamal Khashoggi and certain times events in that light have not been considered ‘fair play’ by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in that light the events shunning London would make sense. And this is the direct consequence of certain tasks made by certain elements who thought that jerking off the market because the going was good some kind of thing. Well, yes, that is exactly how I would phrase it, especially over the year when we saw Saudi Arabia being hunted and nagged in three different ways; I think it is fair to call it that. I see no reason to call it any other way. Now that the initial plans for a petrochemical location in China is ready to be mapped out at $10 billion, China will have new options whilst Saudi Arabia is opening a new vat of tactics, the US is now up in arms to sooth their longtime partner and they better pucker up. The US made sure that the Khashoggi matter got light and then the lost track of their novelty, they were not prepared for the windfall others made of it and now we are given: “The crown prince denies involvement, but told US TV last month that he took “full responsibility as a leader in Saudi Arabia”” an issue that was out in the media, but did you not consider the cost involved? Did you think that this comes for free? Even as we were given “it triggered Saudi Arabia’s biggest diplomatic crisis since the 9/11 attacks as world leaders and business executives sought to distance themselves from Riyadh“, it does come at a cost and Aramco is the first to exact the cost of doing business, it is the first of several steps, the deals with India and China are too soon, too visible and it shows a Kingdom who was sick and tired of two faced options in oil, now that we see that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has options, now that the west is about to learn that you cannot play certain games, now they will all be about the ‘miscommunication’, they will be all about the freedom of the press even as we see that the freedom of the press is some convoluted story, some story that we tended to warn scholars about, like we see in Umberto Eco, the name of the Rose (post-glad infringed upon for this event) ““Until then I had thought each preacher spoke of the events, human or economical, that lie outside books not told of. Now I realized that not infrequently books speak of white papers: it is as if they spoke among themselves. In the light of this reflection, the gathering seemed all the more disturbing to me. It was then the place of a long, annual murmuring upon an imperceptible dialogue between one vision debated on and another ones paper, a living thing, a receptacle of powers not to be ruled by any human mind, but the cistern of wealth merely a treasure of ill spoken events emanated by many minds, surviving the death of those who had produced them or had been their conveyors.”

I recently had to revisit an abbey in northern Italy so it made sense as well and the years are actually in several ways applicable. The Divine Comedy (Dante Aliegieri) finishes at this stage, the era was founded by double entry bookkeeping, the Italian bankers who designed it had no idea what impact it would have on accountancy or that the practice would survive until today. Yet, Umberto Eco placed his novella in an interesting time, Yet that time 680 years later we see that the question of wealth is very much at the heart of the matter, yet not in hands of the Christian church, it is there that we see the actions of certain members of coinage to be handled from. Feel free to disagree with me, but when you place the events as they were played over the last year and who exactly started these accusations, with the preemptive part of evidence that cannot have any further meaning, including the UN Essay by A. Callamard, can we answer in any other way that something is apparently wrong?

We merely need to look at the impeachment of a Trump card, a mere clown in the entire financial orchestra, when we see the steps allocated by intelligence and civic groups, whilst a Crown Prince was indited on paper with no resulting evidence, do you really think that it is merely a farce? Now that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has met with two events, it is stronger than ever to settle Aramco, to settle oil disputes and America might not care, but now that their own surpluses and their own economic value is now under attack, its 21 trillion dollar noose will become more than just the chain around a junkyard dog seeking a larger yard to bark in. And now it is only just that I include the bank that was around in the beginning of Umberto Eco’s tale, in 1327, from brothers financing governments the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS) would grow and from its acquisitions in 2008, the hidden losses and the bailout in 2013 it never stopped being the BMPS, J.P. Morgan, Mediobanca, Banco Santander, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs had signed a pre-underwriting agreement with BMPS in July, with all kinds of assurances, several of them all now shunned in the Aramco deal.

There is part of it that I cannot prove, I am not stating that I found certain links that are personally as shallow as it gets, yet certain people made transfers to other avenues, and in those positions they would if that deal went through made huge waves, if nothing happened, then they would be in an interesting place, so we cannot go on anything that flimsy (I don’t work for the UN after all), but the time line is weirdly skewed in certain visibility graphs, one would consider that certain acts would have been ‘concidental’ top a fault if it would have happened and it would have been the savior of what would be the “the industrial plan of the bank was approved, which the bank would be re-capitalized for €8.1 billion, but only €3.9 billion would be underwritten by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (excluding additional shares that would be buyback from retail bondholders by the government), with the rest were the “bail-in” of bondholders, mandatorily converted the bond of the bank to shares” Some would ask questions on the grounds of Margrethe Vestager, yet they would be wrong, I believe that certain matters had been in the frying pan a lot longer than that. And the entire Saudi Arabia matter does not stop there, where it stops is up in the air, because both Wall Street and a wealth banker that is above all this would prefer it this way, so when some are stumping their chest giving you the goods on some deal, just be thankful that it is not your coinage that is depending on this deal.

That is the underlying sound of more than just an Aramco deal, it is all over the place and even if my view is not to be seen as the correct one, consider what evidence you are going from, I never told you the little evidence that I have based this on, for the mere reason that two or three memos could be seen as mere typo’s, but how could my story exist?

Consider that I gave visibility to certain parts weeks ago, and that I was ahead of the curve for some time, after which my interest merely grew in other directions, I had finished the puzzle, I had no real reason to watch it unfold until completion, it was merely an exercise at that moment and like all other people, I hate exercises.

Yet I left two parts out, it is not important, but it gives a larger play towards the entirety, consider Davos in the Desert 2015, who was there and who absconded, consider that this was BEFORE Khashoggi and who came out of the woodwork? That is one part; I let you figure out the second hint. Now consider what options the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has left when the table is spread the way it is, I wonder if you can see the irrefutable acts of discrimination.

 

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Trusting Anti-trust cases?

Today will be about Jennifer Rankin and her article ‘Google fined £3.8bn by EU over Android antitrust violations’. First off, it is a good article, she did absolutely nothing wrong (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jul/18/google-faces-record-multibillion-fine-from-eu-over-android). We get the goods (not all mind you) but a clear picture and that is what I like, a clear picture to work with.

Right off the bat we start with “Google has been hit with a landmark €4.34bn (£3.8bn) fine by the European Union over “serious illegal behaviour” to secure the dominance of its search engine on mobile phones“. Interesting setting as there are Android based phones and IOS (Apple brand X phones). The android systems ALL have full access to Google. As for the search engine, there are two elements. The first the engine for searching itself, which is in android, giving us an open source setting and (at https://searchcode.com/), you can take a look yourself, now you will still need the skills to program, but that is a discussion for another day. The second part is to find stuff, which requires the PageRank. Now we have an issue, because (as the Americans say): ‘that shit is patented!‘ plain and simple. Whilst Microsoft and IBM were belittling Google in 1999 (heard it myself in the UK) Google was working and growing in what is now defined as ‘the development of the Android mobile operating system, the Google Chrome web browser, and Chrome OS, a lightweight operating system based on the Chrome browser‘, it took 5 years for them to get serious traction and whilst they grew, the other two were marketing their BS on every level whilst trusting in VP and players who actually did not know any of their shit, people relying on PowerPoint presentations, bullet points and hype expressions. Now we get the first part that matters: “The European commission imposed the record penalty after finding that the US tech firm required smartphone manufacturers to pre-install Google’s search and browser apps on devices using its Android operating system, which is used on 80% of all phones“. This is the first part. You see, there is a merely a partial truth and it is largely incomplete. Any mobile smartphone needs an OS. So we have Apple with IOS, there is or was) Blackberry, Microsoft and Google with Android. The rest was either not willing or eager to play on any serious level. They all had this: ‘it is much better going for larger systems‘. Even the larger players ignored the power of Mobile and Smartphones for too long. That evidence is seen with NBC where we see “In a farewell post on LinkedIn, Microsoft’s former head of Windows, Terry Myerson, explained why Microsoft failed in the smartphone business“, (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/29/why-microsoft-failed-in-phones.html). The quote: “It comes down to two problems: Underestimating Android’s business model, and building on an older technical platform that wasn’t quite ready for the job“. So in two mere dimensions we see the acknowledgment of large corporations set in a place of short sighted expectations whilst using a narrow minded business model. That is apart from the issues that Windows Mobile had, I wanted to add that list of issues, but I calculated that this section would be no less than 6000 words, with the additional issues on Windows 10 mobile adding a serious amount of words to the 6000 words required. Blackberry did not survive the times either. It had a good platform, but ultimately too expensive for most businesses. It is still going on, but not in the same way it was. Blackberry was not flawed, it focused on specific groups and those groups, those who choose Blackberry will love it forever, it merely could not hold up the settings there were, I reckon that the 2008 crash wiped well over 35% of their customer base instantly, a setting that many corporations tend to see as a fatal blow, Blackberry was no exception. So 50% of the ‘larger’ players are already gone, none of it had anything to do with Google, or with the patented parts. So I would love to scrutinise the Danish Margrethe Vestager (without resorting to Denmark and Hamlet). It starts with: “Google has used its Android mobile phone operating system “to cement its dominance as a search engine”, preventing rivals from innovating and competing “and this is illegal under EU antitrust rules”” No! They did not! We see the clear admission from Terry Myerson giving us ‘building on an older technical platform that wasn’t quite ready for the job‘, knowing that already sets one of the two outside of the consideration. I have given the audience evidence again and again on how stupidity rules at Microsoft. The Surface and Xbox platforms are two distinctive places where this is visible. Both have a narrow minded setting, both are short sighted and even the business approach to grow the customer base failed to do its job. Reuters gave us that last year with ‘Microsoft Surface devices fail on reliability: Consumer Reports‘, an overpriced system that cannot even get close to 80% of what Apple could do with its very first iPad in 2011. In addition Reuters gives us: “The non-profit publication surveyed 90,000 tablet and laptop owners and found that an estimated 25 percent of those with Microsoft Surface devices would be presented with “problems by the end of the second year of ownership,” according to a study published on Thursday“, how can any device with a 25% failure issue be in the market in the first place, and it is very connected, as this is the mobile industry, the mobile industry is more than merely a mobile phone, all connected devices that rely on mobile technology (Wi-Fi or cellular) are part of that failure. The Reuters article (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-microsoft-surface-idUSKBN1AQ1EP) we also get “According to the Consumer Reports survey responses, the Microsoft devices were found to freeze, unexpectedly shut down or have issues with their touchscreens, Beilinson said. Altogether, the reliability issues made Microsoft a statistical outlier compared with other brands. Apple Inc. had the most reliable devices, Beilinson said“, so how many corporations should be considered when they are the outlier in a negative way? #JustAsking

It is time to look at article 101 (antitrust) (at https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:12008E101&from=EN). Here we see:

  1. The following shall be prohibited as incompatible with the internal market: all agreements between undertakings, decisions by associations of undertakings and concerted practices which may affect trade between Member States and which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the internal market, and in particular those which:
    (a) directly or indirectly fix purchase or selling prices or any other trading conditions; (not charging for a service is a right anyone has)
    (b) limit or control production, markets, technical development, or investment; (impeding your own technical development, intentional or not is merely your own visionary stupidity)
    (c) share markets or sources of supply;
    (d) apply dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties, thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage; (nope, the non-patented part of android is open to anyone)
    (e) make the conclusion of contracts subject to acceptance by the other parties of supplementary obligations which, by their nature or according to commercial usage, have no connection with the subject of such contracts.

The first issue is that the Page rank which is part of this is patented, so there is already a setting of exclusion. The fact that the others are 10 year late to the party is equally evidence that there is a wrongful conviction here. The setting that they are all scared with the coming of 5G, whilst Apple and Google are the ONLY ONES who will be decently ready, both ending up with a massive market share. We see at this point the third failure of Microsoft. You see, it was not merely the two that Terry Myerson stated at CNBC, the ‘Underestimating Android’s business model‘, as well as the ‘an older technical platform that wasn’t ready for the job‘, it is to some extent the ‘25 percent of those with Microsoft Surface devices‘ failing, they are all connected to overlapping user groups making the damage even larger. The Xbox debacle that showed a bullying setting of ‘always online’ as well as storage shortage issues (a killer in the mobile devices), their bullying setting of pushing people online is equally part of the failure. It was the fourth part that truly took Microsoft out of the race. Google (as I personally see it) looked at roughly 1.7 million university students and looked at where the future was pointing. They saw where the future was heading and they build on that long term view. Just look at the Gmail storage, the YouTube facilitation, and to openness of their business suite apps, just a few examples. Over 3 years I have only two parts where I missed Microsoft Office a little, over 3 years that is nothing. That in a setting where Microsoft went into the ‘greed’ setting it becomes a lot more funny, especially when we see students having to get by a few dollars a day, yet Microsoft has a $199 version for these students, yes it will be cloud, secure (so they say) and update cost free, a subscription service. Google merely states $0, on the cloud. You tell me what students want! The issues are linked, because Microsoft had been actively growing the anti-Microsoft feelings for almost a decade. I understand that Microsoft has a business model and ‘free software’ is an issue for them, they have a right to be like hat. Google understood that the poor students who hardly can keep a budget now, are going to be the executives of tomorrow, those people then are executives now and they all embrace Google (well, most of them anyway). There was no force, there was no (how did that Danish lady put it?) ‘Restriction or distortion of competition within the internal market‘, many went to iPhone and IOS and Google is fine with that. No, the issue is that the other players are confronted with the stupidity of the previous post holders and that is an issue now, it links together.

By not realising the future 15 years ago, the present is close to unobtainable for them. I watched how I saw again and again how some of them went by ‘We are now working on the new technology surpassing the others‘ again and again (and not delivering). You merely need to find the history of ‘SPSS Data entry for Windows‘ and realise that this was an excellent way to lose 6000 businesses, and close to 35,000 users (relabeling it ‘form design software’ was never a solution). Microsoft went in that same direction and now they are close to side lined from the next technology by their own stupidity. No resources, no ‘know-how’ and no vision, yet Google is the big bad wolf here!

This is the underlying story that links it all and some companies are merely indicative, but they overall went the same direction. So where we see ‘preventing rivals from innovating and competing‘, I see that this was not the case, they merely went a greed driven path (OK, I admit, I should say ‘revenue driven path’), whilst actual new technology is all about innovation and never about iteration. Microsoft, after IBM the larger player feeling left out has shown us on several fields that innovation is merely marketing, not actively pursuing issues and with a ‘25% failure issue’ setting in the Surface department, I believe that their flaws are clearly shown. It becomes more of a farce when we see “Vestager added: “The vast majority of users simply take what comes with their device and don’t download competing apps.”“, users want what works; we are not interesting in a $199 fee for apps that they we get for free, ask any student. There are apparently 207 million higher education students globally, ask them! In addition, that mere setting where we see the onus of the user, to not look for more is punishing a company because the users are lazy? Since when can we convict Google for not installing in the second degree, because the user was lazy?

In many situations there are no competing apps, not of any quality that is and when you look in the Google play, we see that the users are allowed to set the tone. I will be the first to agree, that there are issues and that there might have been a case to some extent. Microsoft faced that years ago when it was still in the delusional setting that they had the better browser. Now we see a different picture. Now we are faced with IBM that put everything on Watson (not sure if that was a good idea), but it can facilitate to the larger degree in every direction, including the third parties banking on 5G, IBM is eager to oblige. Microsoft has nowhere to go, they burned down their options and as they screwed up again and again, it has nothing left but to sulk like a little child. Just consider the upcoming Microsoft Surface Go, for people with budgets. Now consider the News we are given: “With a starting price of $469, the Apple iPad (with Wi-Fi connectivity only) is the winner on affordability”, “The consumer/education version is priced at $599 and will run Windows 10 Home in S mode – which only allows apps that are available in the Windows store”, all this, for a system not out yet, and the Australian Financial Review (at https://www.afr.com/technology/mobiles-and-tablets/will-the-surface-go-boldly-where-other-tablets-cannot-20180713-h12n71) gives us: “Why has Microsoft just released a tablet at a time when almost everyone is buying smartphones and almost no one is buying tablets? Sales of tablets such as Apple’s iPad have been in steep decline since 2015, a decline that shows no signs of reversing in the next four or five years, analysts say”, so in that setting another optional failure is introduced. That whilst I saw it coming, just as the short sighted failures that are part what now with giggles is called the ‘most powerful console on the market’ (The Xbox One X), that is the company that is connected to all this.

That part can be found in a few places. In this case I give you the New York Post where (at https://nypost.com/2015/04/15/microsoft-the-big-winner-in-google-antitrust-lawsuit/) we see “While Google CEO Larry Page took his lumps with the suit, Microsoft, very quietly, came out the big winner, sources said. “Microsoft complained a lot,” said a source with direct knowledge of the situation. “Microsoft definitely counselled the [EC], suggesting it made sense to send Google a statement of objections so Google would be forced to produce documents” showing its search-result recipe, another source said”, this was a joke 3 years in the making. I hope that I can turn that joke on these losers as they have diminished consumer trust in their narrow minded way (not to mention short sighted ways).

Even when we turn this in another direction through the Register two month ago (at https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/05/21/antitrust_google_us_government/), where we see ‘On 20th anniversary of Microsoft antitrust, US Treasury Sec calls for Google monopoly probe‘, I am not arguing how right or wrong it is. I am merely pointing out that Google went in a direction that was long term, whilst all the others went into the short term path that was demanded from their board of directors, who for the most could not read a spreadsheet properly because the bullet points were missing (their optional opposition to the NRA perhaps?). That was the setting and those with vision are dumbfounded and they got hurt through the inadequacy of stupid people.

So the Danish party was already active then. What is an issue is Jeremy Stoppelman, he had vision with Yelp, even as he did not understand certain markets (miscalculated is a better word), he had faith in his product, which I applaud. it worked for a while, yet I see that bad choices (unfortunate choices is a better setting) impacted it all, so even as Yelp failed to meet expectations, if it survives and gets 5G traction, it will be ahead of others a decent amount, it turned down Google who wanted them when the going was good and he would have had a strong place if he had taken that part, but it was his decision and I applaud him for it. Yelp and Turnstyle Analytics would have an optional strong 5G setting if it had kept international operations and grow the data the way they had, it will not be easy now for them, but I digress. With: “Mnuchin’s comments on Google came after a special 60 Minutes episode that focused in part on the company and its effective search monopoly. That segment was notable for the inclusion of two people: EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager and Yelp founder Jeremy Stoppelman“, yet all parties have their ‘its effective search monopoly‘, what they are not telling us is that they had a vision that everyone would come with a future need and they got Stanford University to create the algorithm that got patented. All the other players remained dumb to the future. And then we get the one gem I expected: “Also, the EU announced it was launching a probe of Google’s Android operating system to see if its agreements with cellular phone makers was hurting rivals. While Microsoft likely does not care much about search preference, “the investigation throws sand in the gears of Google’s innovation,” the former FTC official said“, so there it is ‘agreements with cellular phone makers was hurting rivals‘, phone makers had options, Apple had its own system and there are NO non-Apple IOS phones. Interesting that this does not make that cut is it? An open system was offered and the alternative Microsoft (rejected because it was not up to the job), Blackberry (is only after the collapse that it became an option to others), we see that Google has an open option, yet they are the boogeymen. So we get two elements, a partially failed entrepreneur (only in part) and a limelight seeking politician. The power of the google Appeal is found in a simple statement: “Her staff ran through over a billion Google searches and found that Google was knowingly manipulating its search algorithms to promote its own products and push competitors far down the ranking“, that evidence must be shown in court and get scrutinised! You see, the timeline for a billion searches can only partially be automated and those results can be used by Google as evidence against Margrethe Vestager as well. The evidence of ‘manipulating its search algorithms‘ will be equally a discussion point putting EVERY intern and assistant of Margrethe Vestager in the witness box, no exception. A setting that I personally see as the EC has close to no chance of winning. Even as I saw the algorithm in my University classes for an assignment, I am decently certain that I did not see the whole 100% of all elements of the algorithm, one element out of place and that is as I (again: personally) see it the crushing of the EC case, the appeal will be won by Google.

The fact that Microsoft was part of this in several ways from 2015 onwards and likely before that is more than enough for me to consider the premise that trusting antitrust is not always a good thing. I do agree that antitrust should exist, yet it should be clear that this is not a handle for the narrow minded, the short sighted, the greedy and the stupid to use because they could not get their shit together. They should reread Chapter 11 of their favourite pornographic work, whether that text comes in 50 shades of mixing several combinations of white and black. A colourless equation in a setting where colour was the only part that the global users demanded, listening to them would have been a first requirement. It is the setting, which gets me to the final image.

An interesting to set the stage, because if Microsoft was a marketing firm, they would be reduced to merely being a spammer, look at the first screen of your Xbox One (X optional) for that part, also all the parts people have to go through in Windows 10 (https://www.windowscentral.com/how-remove-advertising-windows-10), so in the end, the advisors have their own games to play (quite literally at some point). The Independent was kind enough to give us this with: “In the meantime, we probably ought to do our bit to help her by making a little more use of Google’s rivals, such as Microsoft’s Bing, which is a perfectly serviceable search engine“, it is seen at (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/google-eu-fine-margrethe-vestager-android-search-microsoft-bing-silicon-valley-mobile-phones-a8453486.html)

Just ‘Bing’ “UK Law firms”, to get a UK law firm and immediately I see 10 law firms (page top view), 50% Australian ones (3 of those advertised), so if Bing cannot give me what I am looking for, why should I even consider them? With the term “Dutch Lawyers” I get 25% fulfilling the search. I can go on for a while, but I think the case of the doubt regarding ‘a perfectly serviceable search engine’ and the case on how it isn’t one has been made. I did not need to go far. Oh, and if you do have a sense of humour, try “Microsoft guilty” (with brackets), to see Bing give you “We didn’t find any results for “Microsoft guilty””, whilst Chrome giving us an immediate 8 results, with the quotes on these links. So when it comes to censoring (or is that just their flawed algorithm), we can soon see that there is an optional setting where Margrethe Vestager could be seen as a tool for Microsoft (as they might have been ‘searching’ for optional solutions), it might not be a fair setting, yet the entirety of the Antitrust case is seen by me in that way. Microsoft and a few others need time to catch up, being stupid merely gets you at the back of the line (which is where all future opportunities are lost), they need time and they are using the EC to try to catch up. My sense of giggling will be found the moment the appeal is won by Google; we are likely to see a tsunami of ‘carefully phrased denials from European political players trying to avoid the limelight’.

Oh, and whilst we are at it, when we see ‘placing them at a competitive disadvantage‘, that in light of Huawei surpassing Apple (source: the Verge). With: “Huawei has surpassed Apple as the world’s second largest smartphone brand. Sales have overtaken Apple for the first time”, Margrethe Vestager will call it ‘proving her point’, yet the truth is that Huawei went for the affordable option, a side Apple has not considered in decades, whilst in addition, the decline of Samsung and the growth of Huawei reinforces that it was about affordability for the longest of times, those losing market shares are their own worst enemy, because the wrong people are setting the price, I added enough evidence of that for the longest of times. This all in a setting where we see that even as Huawei realises that Europe is the key, the others are isolating themselves even more. Soon enough it will no longer be about Google and Android, it will become on non-American mobile players gaining the upper hand  over all the others, I wonder what anti-trust case will be filed at that point.

#PriceDiscriminationAnyone?

 

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Ronald McDonald died!

Today’s event is not from the papers, not from some newscast and not from some special operations guide. This is just me, having a few dollars in my pocket and at some point I was hungry as hell. I needed some food, desperately. So, as I was passing by McDonald’s I made the bad call to enter that place, I had passed Hungry Jacks for the simple reason that the queue looked way too long there, it was lunchtime after all. Now, Macca’s was never the cheapest of places and when we take a look at their website we see that it is all about ‘the message’, it has always been about the ‘message’, but how should we react when we see their quote: ‘Quality ingredients for quality food’. The ingredients do not mention bacon, perhaps there are no quality requirements for bacon?

When looking at their menu, the triple cheeseburgers is not even mentioned, so again, perhaps there are no quality requirements for that ‘food option’?

What brought this about? Well, as the images show, I ordered a triple cheeseburger and as I like a cheeseburger to have some bacon, I decided to add bacon to that order, added $1. Seemed a little large, but, I was hungry, so as the receipt shows, my lunch $6.50.  FoodReceipt
My lunch got served, here we have the kicker, look at the size of that….Whatever that was. Take a look, I used my middle finger, just to show how the burger is barely a finger long (honestly!) and we have to be fair and take the longest finger. So, even though it is called a triple cheeseburger with bacon, it looks like finger food, one finger squared, just one piece of finger food at $6.50.  Fingerfood

Now let’s take a look at the reality with the last part.

Take a look at that lovely bacon, a little less than $12 a Kilogram. Yes, all that bacon, whilst the piece shown in the previous picture is likely to be no more than 25 grams, so McDonald’s has a 400% margin (roughly) on bacon (likely more as they get a much better price deal then consumers do).  OinkyBacon

Now, for the most I have no issue with shops having margins, but consider that lately, we see an army of non-McDonald’s people make claims in many places (like the Huffington post) ‘Commenting in the New York Times Kyle Smith says that those opposing the idea of the McDouble’s nutritional worth, are ignoring the fact that it is great value-for-money for customers‘ (a 2013 article). Now for some cold logic, when a company offers an addition with a margin of over 400%, the idea ‘value for money‘ is something we can ignore from day one. In addition, when se see (at http://www.forbes.com/companies/mcdonalds/), stated to have a 92 billion market cap, with the ‘achievement’ #124 in Profit, we can again throw ‘value for money‘ into the wind. You see, value for money requires something to be well under 400% profitable to be allowed that title. I have nothing against Macca’s making money, for the most I never spend money there, so if others want to buy that food, than that is just fine with me. Value for money means a sizeable (or really cheap) portion. KFC with their deals lately (last month fries for $1 and this month 24 nuggets for $10), now that is actual ‘value’, not too nutritious, but still value. A burger the size of one finger squared is not good value, that is food at a higher price than the average tapas place would offer it (I consider Tapas to be actual finger food of decent quality) which is at times at least genuinely nutritious (as far as tapas can be nutritious).

You see, these ‘junk food vendors’ are now moving into another direction. Now we see a very dangerous development when papers, not just the Huffington post, where this quote came from (at http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/07/30/mdonalds-mcdouble-cheapest-nutritious-food-in-history_n_3675128.html) state: “Junk food costs as little as $1.76 per 1,000 calories, whereas fresh veggies and the like cost more than 10 times as much, found a 2007 University of Washington survey for the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. A 2,000-calorie day of meals would, if you stuck strictly to the good-for-you stuff, cost $36.32, said the study’s lead author, Adam Drewnowski” You see, obesity and other problems tend to be caused by junk food, not by vegetables.

Professor Adam Drenowski knows this, hence it is my personal opinion that he has been misquoted in a massively unacceptable way. In his article ‘Obesity, diets, and social inequalities’ (attached at the end) we see “As incomes drop, energy-dense foods that are nutrient poor become the best way to provide daily calories at an affordable cost. By contrast, nutrient-rich foods and high-quality diets not only cost more but are consumed by more affluent groups“, in addition there is “given economic constraints, especially among lower income groups, not all consumers have the same degree of choice when it comes to purchasing healthful fresh produce, fruit, lean meats, and fish. For many, the choice was removed long ago by economic and employment policies“, which is what is at the heart of this (source: Wiley Online Library: Drewnowski, A. (2009), Obesity, diets, and social inequalities. Nutrition Reviews, 67: S36–S39. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00157.x).

You see News Corp (at http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/mcdonalds-sending-profits-to-singapore-to-dodge-497-million-in-tax-according-to-report/story-fnkgdftz-1227361248667) stated that ‘McDonald’s sending profits to Singapore to dodge $497 million in tax, according to report‘, the quote “McDonald’s uses its franchising model to generate most of its revenue through royalty payments which are then siphoned off into offshore tax subsidiaries, the majority of which it does not disclose in its annual reports” should not be a surprise, yet is McDonalds to blame? In the end business is business and if the population is unwilling to pass Maccas by, do we have a right to complain? The additional quote “McDonald’s “operates an extensive network of subsidiaries in tax havens, the majority of which it does not disclose, and is not required to disclose under SEC rules, in its annual report”“, is all about the ’emotion’ but the reality is that McDonald’s is not breaking any laws! Politicians have again and again refused to close some of these loopholes. These are acts not achieved on both sides of the political aisle, which means that none of them get to sling any mud!

Which gets us to: ““There is no excuse for governments to cut public services like health and education when they let companies like McDonald’s shift billions of dollars in taxes offshore,” Public Service International general secretary Rosa Pavanelli said in a statement“, yet Miss Pavanelli seems to skate around the issue that until GOVERNMENTS close the taxation loopholes they have, large corporations can continue their ‘business as usual’. That is the part many players have remained silent on. Australian SBS ‘the Backburner’ (Australian version of the Onion) gave us the reality in another way. They stated “International fast food chain McDonald’s has defended its poor taxation record saying that it should be exempt as it does a public good of slowly killing the population” (at http://www.sbs.com.au/comedy/article/2015/05/20/mcdonalds-ceo-we-may-not-pay-tax-least-were-killing-you). This could be truer than we bargained for, especially when we consider the paper by Professor Adam Drewnowski. Still, McDonalds has not done anything wrong, or have they? OK, they did not break any laws (at present), as far as I can tell. Yet, questions need to be asked and it is time that certain issues are dealt with. You see, as I personally see it, our time is wasted by both politicians and the press. The article from last May in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/05/mcdonalds-tax-avoidance-investigation-europe) gives us the quote “The European Union competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said on Tuesday that she was examining claims, made by trade unions, that McDonald’s paid just €16m of tax on royalties worth €3.7bn between 2009 and 2013“, and only now this is investigated? In addition we see “Heidi Barker, a spokeswoman for McDonald’s, which on Monday promised to transform itself into a more modern, progressive and transparent burger company, said: “We will decline to comment on your inquiry.”“, invoking emotion against McDonald’s, yet nowhere do we see the statement: “The European Union is investigating required changes to the European tax system so that EEC governments will receive taxation due“. That part is missing in equal measure from most of the Commonwealth nations, which beckons the question ‘Who is serving who in the end?’ and why has it taken so long and so many administrations for any government to truly address it? Questions the press at large does not seem to be asking either, just hands us ‘emotional’ editorial on how evil a food place could be.

In addition, we should address one final part. It is the statement involving former CEO Jim Skinner (2004 – 2012) “However McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner defended Ronald McDonald by saying that he is an ambassador for good and “it’s all about choice”“, so if it is about choice and the choice of McDonald’s has become exploiting maximised profit (which is not a crime), can we accept that the ‘original’ Ronald McDonald is truly dead and will the next McDonald’s clown we see be spotted wearing a Gieves & Hawkes suit?

I’ll let you decide!

Drewnowski-2009-Nutrition_Reviews

 

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