Unwired and The Big Sleep

Unwired and The Big Sleep

Summary: This morning's announcement of a hookup between Internet search supremo Google and wireless carrier Unwired reminded me of an early scene from the 1946 classic The Big Sleep. "You're not very tall are you?

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TOPICS: Google, Telcos
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This morning's announcement of a hookup between Internet search supremo Google and wireless carrier Unwired reminded me of an early scene from the 1946 classic The Big Sleep.

"You're not very tall are you?" Carmen Sternwood asks detective Philip Marlowe in this cinematic version of a Raymond Chandler novel.

"Well, I, uh try to be," replies Marlowe, played by Humphrey Bogart.

Replace Marlowe with Unwired and Sternwood with the average Australian small investor and you'll get the picture.

Unwired had appeared to be banking that any announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange involving the word "Google" would boost the carrier's share price.

But the cynic in me feels prompted to point out that what Unwired CEO David Spence touts as "an additional revenue stream" for Unwired will undoubtedly turn out to be miniscule.

Most Unwired customers are unlikely to notice the added Google functionality on Unwired's Web site and even if they do, they probably won't use it.

Plus Unwired only has around 42,000 customers. I can't imagine Google -- with its global audience -- is really jumping for joy at how much money it's going to make partnering with the carrier.

And I'm not the only one with this point of view, apparently.

"They're putting a Google search bar on their customers home page -- whoop de do. I can't believe they issued an ASX announcement for this," wrote one interested party this morning in a long-running Whirlpool forum thread on Unwired's share price.

The thread is typically frequented by shareholders of the wireless carrier.

"Unwired provides *Internet* access -- anybody who has said access can access Google!" the post continued. "So what makes this announcement so newsworthy? And why do they think their customers are going to visit their 'homepage' instead of just going to Google? What a joke. They're scraping at the bottom of the barrel."

"What a worthless announcement," a post from a second party said.

Personally, in future I'd like to see more substantial announcements from Unwired. The company is clearly doing well with its technology in its Sydney stronghold and probably has better stories up its sleeve. It's not healthy for anyone to worry too much about trying to grab short-term leaps in their share price. Much better to be focusing on long-term growth.

As Marlow eventually told Sternwood's butler in The Big Sleep: "You ought to wean her. She's old enough."

Topics: Google, Telcos

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