The IT press likes nothing more than chewing over the bones of mega-mergers and discussing how this will shape the data-converged landscape of the next century. BT's alliance with AT&T and battle lines being drawn in interactive TV provided the bones this week. But the bad news just won't go away, with the closure of the Siemens DRAM plant in Newcastle, and the resulting loss of 1100 jobs.
Network companines get mobile telephony in their sites - Financial Times
Commenting on Ericsson's share price slide, despite good recent profits, The FT's Lex Column observed that "Equipping telecoms operators with kit to integrate voice and data should be the software heart of the company" And "If the management does not improve things, it will find rivals such as Cisco Systems on its turf". The Financial Times, Lex Column, July 28, 1998.
Size may not matter that much in telecoms - The Economist
Just when Godzilla convinced everyone that size does matter, The Economist admits to a large dose of scepticism as far as the telecoms market is concerned. "telecoms is littered with couter-examples suggesting that size means loss of agility"..."The old style telecoms firms were more comfortable with a traditional wired world in which regulation was more important than competition. The newer upstarts are creating what amounts to an entirely new business: fibre optics not copper, the Internet not normal telephony, dealing with customers not regulators". The Economist, August 1, 1998.
Getting digital TV? - you may have no choice - The Daily Telegraph
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 wich every television now receives stop being beamed out. The Government will then sell off these frequencies." The Daily Telegraph, July 29, 1998.
Government online, not just yet - The Guardian
The Guardian's Jack Schofield set out to find out why "after all the talk about 'electronic government'...there are only a few pilot projects to which very few pople have access". The answer is that the change needed "in IT terms, it involves a conceptual change from mainframes and terminals - referred to in trade jargon as 'masters' and 'slaves' - to the new Web based orthodoxy of 'clients' and 'servers'". Don't expect online government any time soon though - it may require the bedding in of interactive TV and "Tackling the huge technical and stuctural problems that this will create for government departments is another story". Jack Scofield in Online, The Guardian, July 30, 1998.
"On Digital's business plan... return to the drawing board" - Financal Times
The FT's Lex Column approved of aggressive moves by BSkyB lst week as the launch plans for digital television in the UK become clearer. BSkyB are planning to install the dishes for free, and has said it "will broaden its range to include a cheap and cheerful package. Since that was the backbone of On Digital's business plan, it must be time for it to return to the drawing-board". Financial Times, Lex Column, July 31, 1998.
Korea and IMF blamed for closure of Siemens plant - The Guardian
The International Monetary Fund is being accused of aiding the dumping of chips on the world economy, exacerbating the already perilous state of the world semi-conductor market. Speaking at the closure of the Siemens plant on Tyneside, the company's Ulrich Schumacher noted that Korean manufacturers had taken 40% of the market and said "The IMF is pumping money into (South) Korea. We can only assume a great deal is finding its way to the (semi-conductor) manufacturers". The Guardian, August 1, 1998.