Lacey's Paper Round: Best of 1998

Since ZDNet launched Paper Round in May 1998 we have published over two hundred snippets from the IT press. Whittling them down to the Top Ten of the year was not easy.

Since ZDNet launched Paper Round in May 1998 we have published over two hundred snippets from the IT press. Whittling them down to the Top Ten of the year was not easy. However good the Web has become, it is clear that there is still some excellent IT coverage in print, and one or two journals are essential reading. The Lacey's Paper Round medals for best IT coverage of the year go to:

  • Gold Financial Times

  • Silver Business Week

  • Bronze Wall Street Journal

The Top Ten best snippets of the year are:

'Info-Vikings' threaten firms ignorant of the "true value of their brain power"

Skandia is Sweden's biggest financial services group. Leif Edvinsson is its Director of Intellectual Capital and argues that "just as the long boat carried Vikings across seas and up rivers -- allowing them to sack unsuspecting villages -- the Internet is bringing dangerous new invaders into formerly secure markets". The Economist, June 6, 1998

Motorola failed "to spot the potential of digital technology," says chairman

In a frank admission, Motorola chairman Robert Galvin, said the firm's two key mistakes were failure to "expand capacity to produce semiconductors, and to fail to spot the potential of digital technology to change the market for mobile telephones". Arch rivals Ericsson and Nokia did not make the same mistakes and with hindsight Motorola were "just plain lacking in judgement" he told an academic audience, adding that the Motorola case was "a significant lesson which you people can teach". Financial Times, June 17, 1998

Getting digital TV? - you may have no choice

As the two main rivals for digital television tool up for an Autumn launch, the Daily Telegraph points out that staying analogue may not be an option. "But even if you are not convinced (by digital TV) it is likely that an "analogue switch off date" will be set within the next few years when the analogue signals which every television now receives stop being beamed out. The Government will then sell off these frequencies." The Daily Telegraph, July 29, 1998

Dial-a-choc - another Scandinavian mobile telephony coup

As Nokia and Ericsson go from strength to strength, Scandinavia adds another first to its significant achievements in mobile telephony -- the chocolate bar vending machine you can call on your cellphone. "At Finnish railway stations, vending machines sell chocolate bars displaying their own mobile number. You dial the bar you want, the cost is billed to your phone and a signal is sent to release the chocolate." The Times, Inter//face//telecoms extra, August 5, 1998

Figure out how to profit from the the Net

Michael Moritz made a cool $1.3 billion from a $2 million investment in Yahoo! So when he speaks on the subject of making money people tend to listen. Last week he told Business Week "If anybody's between you and your customers, you had better be shaking in your boots. Figure out how to profit from the Net, or it will drain the juice out of your marrow". Business Week, August 24-31, 1998

Internet forcing high street closures

Startling evidence of the Internet changing the landscape of the average British high street emerged this week with the announcement of hundreds of store closures. The Victoria Wine and Thresher merger is to result in the closure of 300 stores whilst "both companies will be focusing on their Internet and home shopping services... Road recovery firm, AA, has gone further by planning the closure of all its 142 high street shops. 'Normal retail is no longer the best way to sell many products' said an AA spokesperson." The European, August 24-30, 1998

IT staff need to talk "business lingo" to make it on to the board

If they want to get to the top IT staff need to "stop reveling in the mystique that surrounds technology and start communicating in real business terms. So, it's out with technospeak and in with business lingo... The 'bits and bytes' guys are literally dinosaurs". These are the words of Rae Sedel, head of global technology practice at search consultants Rusell Reynolds. Sunday Telegraph, September 13, 1998

Firms that outsource IT risk giving away part of their brain

Business schools have long taught the importance of core competency, a discipline that teaches managers to appreciate where the real value is in an organisation. Now the whole notion of core competence is under challenge. In a series of articles on Digital Business, the Financial Times Tony Jackson writes: "Applying [core competency] has never been easy. In the digital age, it is harder still. This leads Philip Evans of the Boston Consulting Group to query the whole concept of core competency." However, in the same article Jackson goes on to warn that "By entrusting its IT function to others, a company risks outsourcing part of its brain." Financial Times, October 22, 1998

Stars can become "individual record labels"

The FT's Lex Column is positive about IBM and the music industry's Madison Project. "If the Madison Project takes off, its main victims will be retail chains like HMV, Virgin and Tower Records... In the longer term, there is no reason why successful artists, in their turn, should not use the Internet to bypass the music industry... stars could in effect become individual record labels." Financial Times, Lex Column, November 26, 1998

The race to build digital TV-based "portals"

The Wall Street Journal reports on a lack of progress at Microsoft's WebTV. "Mr. Mundie predicted WebTV would have one million subscribers by the end of 1998. Going into the Christmas season, the company has only half that many"... With companies such as Yahoo! Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. commanding hefty stock market valuations because of their leading positions as "portals" on the Web, the race is on to establish similar portals in living rooms." Wall Street Journal, 4-5 December, 1998

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