Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Blowing in the Canadian political wind is an NDP-Liberal merger. Who in both parties has the will to really explore this idea?

Brian Topp: the current NDP president may run for the Leadership

The party president who wants to run for the NDP leadership. 

by Tom Thorne
In the next few weeks after a reasonable mourning time for Jack Layton, the New Democratic Party (NDP) in addition to mounting the Opposition in parliament, will have to start the process to find their next permanent leader. 
Who will it be? How much energy will be diverted from the upcoming  parliamentary session internal issues of their party's leadership? It will be a fine balance and test of their skills and discipline and how they function with all the change they face in the new parliament combined with the change they face inside the NDP picking a new leader.
Who is Brian Topp?
The current party president Brian Topp is not at all shy about his ambitions. On the day of Jack Layton's state funeral he said he would have to resign as NDP party president, a job he has had only since 18 June 2011, if and when he decides to run for the leadership.
Topp, in his early 50s has no seat in parliament but that is no impediment because neither did Jack Layton when he became NDP leader. He was  born in Montreal and is fluently bilingual and he is a McGill University graduate.
Topp is quoted as saying that the NDP "is laying the groundwork for becoming the government in 2015."  Of course Jack Layton's death may have truncated those plans somewhat, and if Brian Topp enters the leadership ring then a new party president will have to be found. It's sort of like playing musical chairs at NDP headquarters. 
Topp has a long background as an NDP back room operative. In the 1990's he served Saskatchewan Premier Roy Romanov as a senior staffer. This time in Saskatchewan gave Topp real  experience of an NDP government in power. Even earlier he had spent time in Ottawa as a MP assistant. 
Topp has the back room NDP credentials to know how to run elections like the one we just experienced and he knows how the NDP party works. His Quebec origins will  in this transition period, help to keep the 59 NDP members of parliament from that province on side and on task. 
He may be ready to take on the job of NDP leader. he is not too old, seasoned by years of political activity with the NDP both at the provincial and federal levels. In addition, Brian Topp has union credentials always useful for NDP leaders. He served as Executive Director and CEO of ACTRA the broadcast performers union.
A good profile, the right age and the right experience. Topp looks like a headliner. Whether he could take the party forward from the charisma of Jack Layton is anyone's guess. 
Leadership races for both Liberals and NDP need to deal with the potential of the two parties merging. But will that happen?
In this morning's Globe and Mail running off the front page was a story about potential NDP-Liberal mergers. Denis Coderre a Liberal MP and possible Liberal leadership hopeful stated: "We have to hold a serious debate on the future of progressive forces in Canada." That's code for a merger of the NDP and the Liberals.
How do Brian Topp and other potential NDP leadership candidates feel about this kind of comment from a Liberal Party leadership hopeful? Coderre sees clearly that there is a need for a new Liberal Democratic party or at least a coalition to counter the Harper Conservatives.
In the same Globe piece former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff talked of "shared values" of the NDP and the Liberals. Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae after the last election talked about a merger but these days is silenced by his current job and his mandate which is  "to rebuild the Liberal party".
Justin Trudeau, also a Liberal MP from Montreal, left the door open to a merger by saying for now he is against it "but he could change his mind." Even grand old men of both parties, former NDP leader Ed Broadbent and former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien have ruminated about a merger.
Former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin at the Jack Layton funeral waxed on about the common aspects of the NDP and Liberals when interviewed after by CBC TV News. He was taken by Stephen Lewis' "manifesto" speech but also how the country came together celebrated Jack Layton's political contributions to Canada and how there was a need to make things work in this country.
The merger of the NDP and Liberals remains in the Canadian political wind and it is undeniable and must be dealt with by both the Liberal and NDP leadership hopefuls. Hopefully that happens. Canada need that debate and that political orientation to make a strong counterpoint to the positions of the right wing now the government in Ottawa.
© Copyright 2011, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

What political change can we expect after Jack Layton?

Stephen Lewis: Jack Layton's last letter as a "manifesto"

Jack Layton's State Funeral

by Tom Thorne
Jack Layton's public lying in state and funeral were very moving this week. The public outpouring of affection for Jack Layton is in many ways unprecedented for a Canadian politician. The respectful lying in state at the House of Commons in Ottawa and later at Toronto City Hall demonstrated that Jack Layton touched Canadians of all political stripes.
Jack Layton died too early at 61 and part of the tragedy of this event remains that we will never see him in the role of Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. I was looking forward to that experience and now it will never be. Nycole Turmel will have the job as the New Democratic Party (NDP) looks for a new leader.
Then on Saturday we had the funeral. The body was moved through the streets from Toronto City Hall to Roy Thomson Hall for the funeral. The Layton family and his wife Olivia Chow walked behind the hearst. Again a moving experience as the public got to show their respects.
Then we got to Roy Thomson Hall and the celebration of Jack Layton's life and accomplishments began. Speakers related his time of on Toronto City Council, his work with public housing, gay rights and HIV-AIDS and finally as a member of federal parliament and Leader of the NDP.  A sterling record of public service by any standard and all interspersed by excellent choices of music. Very fitting for the man.
Stephen Lewis and the "manifesto"
The highlight of the celebration was a speech by Stephen Lewis, an old NDP stalwart and Canada's former UN ambassador and later special UN ambassador for HIV-AIDS in Africa.
Lewis is probably the best public platform speaker in this country at the moment and we were treated to vintage Lewis as he put the English language to work not only in Jack Layton's behalf but also for social democracy and the work of the NDP.
Lewis called Jack Layton's last letter to Canadians and the New Democratic party faithful as " a manifesto" which made the Conservatives in the room squirm, I am sure, since Prime Minister Stephen Harper had agreed to a state funeral for Jack Layton not fully realizing perhaps that that meant a lot of airtime on all TV channels for the NDP to shine in public. Jack Layton would have loved this irony.
This may seem hard but Jack Layton's death has raised the awareness of the NDP in the public mind. First during the last federal election Jack was the incarnation of the NDP. His charm and charisma made an otherwise dull election into a useful event. The NDP moved to Official Opposition status, rolled up the Bloc Quebecois with 59 NDP seats in Quebec and in the process built the NDP in the public mind across Canada.
Jack Layton's death and subsequent very public funeral has as Stephen Lewis said candidly provided a stage for Jack Layton's last letter to be considered a manifesto for political change in Canada. 
Prime Minister Harper still has an advantage
Prime Minister Stephen Harper now faces two main federal political parties without permanent leaders. Perhaps he thinks that by agreeing to a state funeral with all the air time that gives to his NDP opposition it is balanced out by the NDP's need to get a new permanent leader capable of capitalizing on Jack Layton's considerable popularity and charting their way to government.
Layton's death also provides the Liberal Party with an opportunity during the current four year mandate of the Conservatives, to fully ready themselves with a new leader and policy book that can appeal to Canadians. But this remains very much an uphill battle for the Liberals. They seem to be in the doldrums.
We are in a state of political transition because of Jack Layton's unfortunate death. That transition may now begin a process of polarization of central left and left parties in this country to counter the right wing agenda of the Harper Conservatives.
The Liberals and the NDP still need to think about  a merger. It is now possible because of the situation created by Jack Layton's death opens an opportunity. If both the Liberals and the NDP go their separate ways, then we are destined in Canada to continue having majority Conservative governments elected by less than 40 percent of voters.
Perhaps that is what Stephen Lewis was appealing to at Jack Layton's state funeral when he referred to Jack Layton's death bed letter as a "manifesto". It was clear to me that it will take more than the NDP alone to bring about what Jack Layton asks Canadians to do in his letter.
© Copyright 2011, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved
For the text of Jack Layton's last letter go to this CBC website:

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Big change at Apple? It's more like rock on.

Steve Jobs: How to go out at the top of your game.

Steve Jobs leaves Apple daily operations in good hands. Apple innovation is not only Steve Jobs. There are hundreds of motivated iJobbers at Apple.

by Tom Thorne
No one is irreplaceable. Steve Jobs in the minds of Apple customers and enthusiasts, has a persona bordering on icon status. Admittedly he is very much the Apple ethos and way. He is their front man the human face of Apple and he will be missed. 
However, Steve Jobs is also all too human. His bouts with pancreatic cancer and his later his need for a liver transplant demonstrates that even icons are mortal.
He stays on as Chairman of Apple's board.  Tim Cook takes on the CEO role, a job he has had de facto for the last two or so years. Cook has taken Apple into high profitability and grown the company. When Cook joined Apple in the late 1990's Apple posted a loss. Now Apple is cash rich.
Cook also has a good solid background before he came to Apple. So even without Steve Jobs in the CEO chair the company is in good hands. Those who argue that Steve Jobs is the heart and soul of Apple innovations need to rethink their position. 
Apple left Steve Job's parent's garage a long time ago. 
There is a well oiled management team at Apple that has taken Apple from a manufacturer of personal computers through to a multi-faceted company selling iPods, iPhones, iPads, iMacs of all sorts, plus iTunes the most successful seller of music and other content on the web. 
They are now moving into Cloud computing and rumour has it they are about to launch their version of Apple branded television receivers. Apple TV will no doubt merge the computer, Cloud, and iTunes into one package.
In my view they are also working on artificial intelligence interfaces for a future operating system that I dubbed "OS11" sometime ago. There will also be Cloud applications that will sell you a virtual machine for your own e-publishing activities controlled from your iMac, iPad or iPhone.
Apple is not only Steve Jobs. Apple is innovation and that will continue. Jobs is their founder and he has been around long enough to leave an indelible stamp on how things are done at Apple. Everyone who works at Apple thinks and breathes like Steve Jobs.
Impressive company and a management model for our times.
So as an Apple customer I simply don't see any reason to panic or look at defecting to the Dark Side because of this change in management.  Apple in my view is one of the most important American companies. It is a model for how business should be done in an economy of constant change.
They are an impressive company. They are now larger than EXXON and they still manage to have less bureaucracy and retain incredibly fast response times to technology and applying innovation to the marketplace.
Their products  provide instant appeal and obvious high utility. The touch and feel of an Apple product resonates back quality and usefulness. The products speak because they are so neat. Every other competing product looks like dross compared to their industrial design and product execution. They have an edge and it is very sharp.
That may because of Steve Jobs, but it is really the work of a dedicated team of product designers, engineers, and software people, who know what the boss expects for their customers. If Steve Jobs is not there every day anymore this attitude towards their products is always present.
And what about making the next big decisions? surely Steve Jobs is needed to plot the future product lines of Apple? This company is so much into anticipation and planning for the future that their products five years out are on the drawing boards today.  They are monitoring and mastering technology constantly. Apple is on top of the changes and trends occurring in the labs of others and themselves.
In many ways Apple drives the innovation of large scale integrated electronics manufacturers by anticipating new products and making demands on their suppliers to provide the ways to achieve their objectives. 

Making smaller enclosures for their lap books is an example. They pushed milled aluminum bodies until they achieved the thinest lightest lap book on the market.
They just brought out Mini Mac 3.6cm high and 19.7cm square with a 500 Gbyte hard drive. The Macbook Air is the thinest laptop ever made. At its thinest point it is a mere.3cm to its thickest point where it is 1.7cm (not even an inch). This product has no hard drive but instead uses flash memory like the iPad.
These are just a few of the innovations Apple has brought to market as Steve Jobs resigns as CEO. This level of innovation will continue as Apple pushes and pulls its competition to stand up and be counted.
© Copyright 2011, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Libyan civil war closure: Find Gadhafi. That's the least of Libyan worries.

Little Richard says it best: "Slippin' and a-slidin' peepin' and a-hidin'"

Where is Gadhafi?  Benghazi businessman puts up $1.5 million bounty for Gadhafi dead or alive. But what happens when the civil war is won by the rebels?

by Tom Thorne
There is little doubt now that Libya currently is a wild west.  A  Benghazi businessman has put up $1.5 US for Muammar Gadhafi dead or alive. This generous bounty was endorsed by the rebel government in waiting. The reward encourages anyone close to Gadhafi to bring him in no questions asked.
Other language such as "fleeing dictator and his entourage" are now prominent in the media world wide. First, at this time there is no knowledge of Gadhafi's whereabouts and no one really knows whether he is "fleeing" or not. 
Again we are treated to speculation on TV and in print and now instantly on websites of major newspapers using these loaded words. The truth is at this moment as I write Muammar Gadhafi could be dead, he could be alive, he could be in Libya or he could be in a safe haven outside the country.
No one really knows where he is. It is a similar story to the fate of Saddam Hussein in Iraq who also simply disappeared to be found many months later alive in a hole in the ground. A wretched tired and beaten Saddam was brought to trial and hanged in Baghdad.
Gadhafi is passé..but his influence will live on as bad habits.
Really the fate of Gadhafi is a moot point. His 42 year dictatorship is for all intents and purposes, over. His control of Libya is gone. So now Libyans are faced with picking up the pieces of a broken country that has no tradition of democracy and is always scarred by tribal and clan interests. 
Now Libyans are faced with a transitionary government that may be barely able to keep the lid on the country. It will be hard because the rebels are fighting together now but those forces are made up of many Libyan factions and so it can be tough to step down the enthusiasm of these well armed bands. The blood of the battle field is a strong bond.
The Egyptian revolutionary experience was very different.
In Egypt most of the arms and ammunition were in the hands of a disciplined professional army. In this case the arms are in the hands of the people. As this ragtag force got to Tripoli it built up its morale and camaraderie that made me think of old films of the armed revolutionaries of Fidel Castro entering Havana. The future could be much different than we think once the civil war in Libya is won.
In the Egyptian revolution the people were not armed. Although the revolt was popular it was largely peaceful. The Egyptian Army controlled the streets. At this time there is discontent in Egypt over the controls and lack of elections and so there may be conflict with their transitionary government which seems to be tightening its grip rather than providing democratic opportunities. Tensions are rising again in Egypt.
In Libya the people or groups of people or perhaps even tribes and clans armed themselves and began a violent civil war to oust Muammar Gadhafi. When you win with a gun in your hand your power base is much different than the Egyptian peaceful model.
I predict that factions will emerge in Libya who will want to retain their arms and will not fully trust the participants in the transitionary government. The transition from 42 years of dictatorship to a democracy may not be easily realizable or even in the cards. The intelligentsia of Libya will have its hands full making the peace work. 
Gadhafi ruled Libya for a long time by playing off one faction against another. Many people vying for power now have ties to the 42 year Gadhafi rule and its old habits. Old habits die hard.
© Copyright 2011, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Non-event coverage of the Libyan rebellion fills the airwaves.

It's a tough life being a dictator who no one likes.

The Information Age: Covering the Libyan rebellion on television is mostly form without substance to this point in time.

by Tom Thorne
The coverage of breaking stories on TV is intimate and detailed. It's the nature of this Information Age medium.  In a 24/7 information environment TV news is inundated by information offered to us in visual form with what passes for authoritative voice over comment from TV news hosts, expert studio guests and correspondents in the field. The problem is none of these people actually know what is happening.
This situation is really absurd. Think of it. We are watching film of Libyan rebels attacking Gadhafi compound in Tripoli. The Aljazeera host safe in the studio in Doha, Qatar says: "looks like everyone is pinned down by fire from Gadhafi loyalists."
There is no way that TV news program host sitting in Doha can know who is in that compound but we watch in real time as young men with AK47s and jeep mounted heavy machine guns pour fire towards the alleged Gadhafi compound's walls. We are not certain if the Gadhafi compound is really a Gadhafi compound. 
TV coverage is often theatre...
The correspondent on the ground is theatrically swathed in bullet proof vest and helmet with PRESS on the front and back opines about what is happening. "We are pinned down here by Gadhafi loyalist fire...but it looks like the rebels are about to move and attack the Gadhafi compound."
Well nothing happens and and the Doha anchor and the correspondent on the scene exchange opinions for the next half hour. No one can answer the hard questions. Who is in the compound? Is Gadhafi himself inside? Why are those young rebels wasting so much ammunition firing at an unknown enemy?
This kind of ongoing coverage is typical of our times. It's great that CNN and Aljazeera have correspondents on the ground but the days when they actually reported facts has long gone. They report an actuality. It is a kind of  reality program where even the hours of boredom associated with warfare are broadcast for your consumption. 
Marshall McLuhan was right, TV is an "involving medium" where the medium seems more important than its content. Point a camera at a bunch of people firing AK47s at hidden targets is enough to rivet an audience to their big screen TVs thousands of miles away.
Gadhafi compound empty and looted by rebels...
After the battle the correspondents enter the compound to find that Gadhafi is not there and the alleged Gadhafi loyalists have faded away. The young heavily armed rebels begin to loot the alleged Gadhafi compound. In Doha, the anchor asks what's happening. "Looting and a lot of confusion is happening at the moment."  That was the most accurate report for this entire event.
My point is that if you have a technique to quickly upload TV signals to satellites that is very portable then you cover more and more mundane events where nothing is happening except waiting for the battle to happen or the confusing aftermath that Gadhafi was no where to be found.
Most warfare is really boring. Combatants wait for targets. Or they wait to find out who is sniping at them before proceeding. Then there is an advance or sorts. The rebel soldiers find out that a few Gadhafi hardliners have pined them down on a Tripoli street while in a square a few streets away rebels are firing an AK47 feu de joie into the air celebrating Gadhafi's alleged downfall.
Capturing Gadhafi's two sons...a non-event
The biggest non story this week was the alleged capture by Libyan rebels of two of Gadhafi's sons. CNN and Aljeezera both reported that they had been captured and held by rebel forces.
Imagine the chagrin of both these networks when 24 hours later Saif al-islam, one of the alleged captured Gadhafi sons appeared on the streets of Tripoli enthusiastically accepting the good wishes  of his followers. Rumours of his capture had been greatly exaggerated. Saif Gadhafi was clearly free.
As the Gadhafi regime ends, and it will end sometime soon,  the reporting of this complex armed rebellion has been inexact, confusing and without facts that can be checked. How will we know when Gadhafi and his sons have been removed from power? When they are arrested and are before the World Court in the Hague charged with crimes against humanity.
© Copyright 2011, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved

Monday, 22 August 2011

Jack Layton dies of cancer. Ottawa will be more drab for his passing.

Jack Layton: always a thumbs up for Canada.

Jack Layton 1950-2011: Canada grieves.
by Tom Thorne
The news of Jack Layton's death this morning from an undisclosed cancer was  announced in all Canadian media. News channels went immediately to special programming. Facebook and Twitter lit up and the NDP website was swamped with  condolences and memories of this great Canadian. A few weeks ago when Jack announced his turnover of the New Democratic Party (NDP) leadership temporarily to Nycole Turmel we all wished him well in his new battle with cancer. 
It was obvious at that news conference that it would be a tough battle. Jack's gaunt face and weak voice were an immediate shock that went unspoken by many commentators. What a difference from the energized Jack on the federal election campaign trail. Everyone wanted Jack to recover. Everyone of all political stripes wished him well and no one would say what was obvious. Jack Layton is a fighter, a tenacious fighter. We all hoped against hope.
Jack Layton's political career has been one continual fight from the start. From Toronto City Council, to two failed attempts to become the mayor of Toronto,
to two failed attempts to get a federal seat in parliament so it was a major surprise to see the seatless Layton win the NDP federal  leadership on the first ballot. The endorsement of former NDP leader Ed Broadbent at that convention was the right decision for the NDP
Jack went on to build the NDP's from third party status to finally in the last election to the Official Opposition with 103 seats. Sadly, Jack will never get to serve as the Leader of the Opposition or in the future make a serious bid against the Harper government to become Prime Minister of Canada. That would have been an interesting encounter.
His legacy however is strong. For years the NDP really could only hope for power. Jack has placed them on the cusp.  Strangely, the death of Jack Layton may serve to galvanize the more progressive politics of this country into a major force to battle the right wing agenda of the Harper conservatives. 
Will the merger of the Liberals and NDP emerge from this sad event? It is too early to say,  but Jack's memory would be better served if there was a much more powerful centre-left party in the country that could form a government. Jack Layton was clearly for families, working people and the homeless.
His feisty campaigning style won the hearts of Canadians who hold liberal and left viewpoints but he also managed to get the respect of many people who are on the right of centre. His charisma rolled up Quebec in the last election. His career is cut short but his memory in the politics of this country will run much deeper because his commitment to ordinary Canadians was his legacy to us all.
Lastly my condolences to Jack's wife Olivia Chan and all the Layton family. Jack will be missed.
© Copyright, 2011, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Escaping old economic ideas is the real challenge not the debt that the US and the Europeans have built up.

It's time for Global realization not Globalization.

How to get a new economy rolling when US and European politicians try to pay for the old one.

by Tom Thorne
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Andrea Merkel met yesterday in Paris to discuss what they can do about the European debt crisis. One notion they came up with was getting European member states to pass legislation to balance their budgets.
Naturally this idea went over like a lead balloon with most ECU members. Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland gulped at the prospects of a balanced budgets anytime soon. For these countries balanced budgets are fleeting at best and highly unlikely in the near future short of gutting social services and governments removing themselves completely from governing anything. It was all really public relations at the Paris meeting.
France and Germany with Great Britain are the biggest economies in continental Europe and they will have to face funding a lot of guarantees for the other debt ridden members of the ECU. However, their own economies are not in very good shape either and so whatever they do may be more window dressing than real.
What these European leaders need to do is first get away from the European focused approach to their problems and realize that they are part of a Global economy that will eventually right itself but with new economic imperatives. That will ultimately mean changing how people and politicians actually think about economics and how to generate opportunity. 
Just like their American political counterparts they need to swallow their Eurocentrism and realize that along with the US that they create an annual Gross International Product (GIP) of just about $30 trillion US dollars.
Debt ridden rich people...create opportunity for the world's poor.
They need to see that they are debt ridden rich people and get a much more strategic view of the effects of Globalization and the opportunities this concept can present in the future. Besides high technologies there are some golden opportunities for much lower technology applications to create economic growth. High technologies come in phase two.
For example the world is plagued by the excesses of Africa. Millions of people on this continent need very basic services to simply survive.  They need food, they need housing, they need sewage systems, they need safe water, and they need drugs to stem disease. The people need education of all kinds, they need jobs, family planning and they need safety from exploitation from thugs and criminals who claim to be their rulers. They need economic opportunity and they need to escape from ignorance.
They need to have freedom from the importations of weapons most of which come from China, the Russian Bloc and sadly also from the West. They need governments that can escape tribalism and clan affiliations. Africa in their own context has to escape old ideas and so does Europe and North America except in Africa these old ideas kill people. Africa needs to jump directly into the information-knowledge age. The West, China, India can help them do that and create positive economic activity that is mutually beneficial.
The direction is clear...seeing past old ideas is the problem.
Besides  Africa there is an opportunity to provide higher quality lives to millions in China and India. China and India are growing economic powers but before they join Globalization fully they need to look after their own populations much better. China could maintain its current growth rate by domestic production alone and by eliminating domestic poverty. It should reinvest its wealth into its own population. The same is true for India.
This is the first time in history that we can really take a world view. Globalization from an economic standpoint is a natural outcome of seeing the world as one unit. A blue marble hanging in space. A finite planet that has limited resources and humans with very basic needs to be met.
Why does the current economic model operated by the most sophisticated high technologies this planet has ever seen, seem unable to grasp that the world's inequities and turn them into major economic opportunities? The new economy, in my view, is not one of accruing wealth. It is an information-knowledge economy of ecology where social good is seen as profit because it creates more opportunity. It is a complete change and an economy were wealth is reinvested for the common good. The true meaning of Globalization is a global realization of human interdependency.
Global realization comes from content connectivity and an information base that tells us what we are doing and how we are doing it now has a finite end. If it continues it will bankrupt us all. At the moment the connectivity is still processing the old forms of the have and have not worlds. It is still not escaping the old ideas of economic domination of markets and politics. There is a new idea. Dominating markets is an old idea. Serving them  is our new conceptual ideas of  redefining profit.
© Copyright 2011, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Google changes direction. All that cash just has to find a place to go.

Moving from what they are good at to hardware and new markets.

Google buys Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion cash. That's a lot of money to pay to make a point and go head to head with Apple.

by Tom Thorne
The important fact that emerges from this purchase yesterday is Google is now into the hardware business. They have left the world of search, software, and mail and advertising services to attach and embrace a hardware company. In addition, they have now pushed along Android as their operating system for mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. They think they have laid down a gauntlet to Apple.
After spending a big buck...$12.5 billion...they are attempting to capture elements for the mobility market. This probably means that to get any kind of vertical approach to the smart phone and tablet markets Microsoft will now have to look at acquiring a hardware firm too. That in my eyes looks like Research in Motion (RIM). You heard it here first. They are already in bed with Microsoft's phone software.
The bad news is Google is not integrating any management functions with Motorola on an operating day to day level. Apparently both firms will stay as they are and be run independently.  This is a mistake when compared to the fully integrated Apple Inc. They have their hardware software act together in a symbiotic way that all these buyouts cannot duplicate. 
RIM and Microsoft?
All the competitors of Apple Inc. are scrambling to get the software hardware act together. Strangely, RIM has this in place but for some reason they have faltered and stumbled for the moment. That is why they are easy pickings for Microsoft who's has a corporate history of acquiring talent that is akin to a vulture. They feed off the skills and innovation of others. They have a corporate culture of following not leading that goes back a long way.
These deals that will make being too trashy with each other quite difficult. This is mainly due to the interdependent nature of the patents they all co-own after picking at the dying body of Nortel. This means that there will be a certain amount of civility in the mobile market concerning standards and protocols of how smart phones actually work. That cannot be messed with.
Apple is about to launch iPhone 5 which will keep their ascendency in this market at the front of the pack and may help to restore their OS to first place against Android.  Apple's innovation abilities will enable them to set the pace for this market. They will be strengthened in this as the others scramble to buy out each other and somehow merge corporate styles and cultures while simultaneously providing useful product to this already fragmented marketplace.
That will be a shakeout process of this Google decision. However, Apple will remain the leader in the business but also the most daring and innovative leader. Watch now for a hostile takeover of RIM by Microsoft. I predict that if this happens the stock of both companies will drop in anticipation of a hard deal. This takeover if it happens will not be friendly.
RIM will try and stay independent from Microsoft and that will sap a lot of energy from their management at a time when that energy needs to be going into product development and marketing. The other player in this market is Nokia and they have the technical skills to remain in the game but perhaps not the savvy to play games with the likes of Google, Microsoft and Apple. 
The other observation I have is we are seeing the cash reserves of these companies being used to create economic vitality in the marketplace. This kind of private sector activity is a whole lot better than governments bailing out bankers after rounds of  dubious decisions that created very little but the economic stress we are all trying to escape.
© Copyright 2011, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved.