Archive for the ‘Business’ Category
Yas Waterworld, just next to Ferrari World, in Abu Dhabi
Those countries in the Middle East that have been spared political upheaval find themselves enmeshed in a different sort of battle of late. As Qatar, the UAE and Jordan split what’s left of the region’s tourists, each is fighting to pull in the lion’s share. Their weapon of choice? Theme parks.
Currently, Abu Dhabi and its scrappier sibling, Al Ain, are duking it out with Doha for the rights to build the region’s first Angry Birds theme park.
Not surprisingly, the Middle Eastern version of Angry Bird Land (there are already outlets in Finland, Singapore and the UK) would also be the world’s largest.
“[The competition] is getting quiet fierce,” says Nigel Cann, director of operations and development at Gebal Group, the local agents for Lappset, who first developed the brand’s entertainment complex.
“They all want to find a space for it, and to do it as soon as they can. They all want to be first.”
As one of the most downloaded apps of all times (the game has amassed 1.7 billion downloads since launching in 2010), Angry Birds’ name recognition is almost unbeatable.
Though it is a global phenomenon, it’s proved particularly popular in the region. Over a fifth of all downloads come from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Rovio Entertainment, the developers of the game, are even toying with the idea of creating a localized version of the game…
Just a reminder that often portions of the world with too much money, little or no democracy, even less good taste, will spend enormous sums of money to impress the neighbors and visitors. Sound like someplace in your neck of the prairie?
There are only so many companies left that can build a decent mobile network. Banning Huawei from the U.S. seriously skews the competitive balance in an already off-kilter industry.
Huawei has taken quite a political beating lately. Not only are U.S. lawmakers calling for sanctions against the Asian infrastructure maker due to its ties to the Chinese government, but Sprint and Softbank just brokered a deal with the federal government that could ban Huawei’s gear from their current and future U.S. networks.
Recently a frustrated Huawei EVP and co-CEO Eric Xu took a rather flip position on the matter, saying his company was no longer interested in the U.S. market and had essentially stopped paying attention to the controversy surrounding it here. Xu was obviously posturing. No global equipment maker would just simply ignore the world’s largest telecommunications market.
But there is a bit of truth to his words. Huawei has done quite well for itself without landing a single major U.S. infrastructure deal. Domestic operators may have resisted Huawei’s allure, but carriers in Canada, Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa certainly haven’t. By some measurements, Huawei has already surpassed Ericsson as the largest telecom vendor in the world.
…If Huawei gets banned, then one of the key industry forces keeping equipment prices low suddenly disappears. That’s not a situation U.S. mobile industry wants to see.
There has been a lot of consolidation in the telecom equipment market in the last several years. In many ways, Huawei was directly responsible for that consolidation, driving smaller players out of the market or into mergers through its aggressive pricing. A decade ago there were about a dozen companies that could sell you a cellular base station. Today there are really only three or four dominant mobile players, and Huawei is one of them.
…The dwindling competitive landscape is particularly evident in the U.S. where historical reliance on CDMA technologies has led two companies to dominate: Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent. No U.S. operator relies solely on a single network maker, so AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint all use both vendors as primary suppliers.
But Alcatel-Lucent is suffering, and it might not be long before Alcatel-Lucent finds itself broken up and sold for parts. If that happens, there will be a big vacuum, and there aren’t that many companies capable of filling it. There’s Nokia Siemens Networks and Huawei, and that’s pretty much it. Smaller network players like Samsung have been asserting themselves of late, but they’re still small fish in an ever-shrinking pond…
All of the major U.S. operators have already named their LTE suppliers, so there won’t be much opportunity to disrupt the market for years to come. And when that time does come it will take a lot to pry those carriers away from their current suppliers. But the presence of Huawei would at least gives those operators leverage.
Look at this way: AT&T loves Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent. It probably will never leave them. But if I’m AT&T, I want Huawei around to keep those two vendors honest. And if Alcatel-Lucent suddenly goes belly up, I’d rather have more than one choice to replace them than NSN.
From the coverage I’ve seen on biz TV shows, from what I’ve read here from Fritchard and Kevin Tofel, all I see is the same corrupt congressional politicians who babble about competitiveness in American capitalism – then turn their back on that standard to protect the corporate thugs who pick up the tab for their political careers.
The trend of Chinese conglomerates snapping up venture capital-backed cleantech startups on the cheap continues. This week a subsidiary of Chinese LED and solar manufacturing company San’an Optoelectronics announced that it has acquired LED startup: Luminus Devices. According to LED News (hat tip Greentech Media) the deal was done for $22 million…
All in all it wasn’t the biggest loss investors have seen during this trend of Chinese companies buying up struggling cleantech assets. Solar startup Miasole was sold to Chinese clean power company Hanergy for $30 million, after having raised between $400 million and $500 million over its lifetime. Chinese auto tech giant Wanxiang bought up battery maker A123 Systems out of its bankruptcy, made a barebones offer for electric car company Fisker Automotive, and has made equity investments in other cleantech startups as well.
Chinese companies flush with cash have enough capital to continue to invest in some of these infrastructure-heavy innovations that are requiring longer timelines and more money than the venture capital community expected. At the same time, the Chinese government has been creating markets for energy efficient and clean power technologies through strong incentives — it’s done this with LEDs, electric cars and solar technology.
Other cleantech startups are finding sunnier opportunities partnering with Chinese companies on manufacturing. Five-year-old EcoMotors, which is backed by Bill Gates and Khosla Ventures, is finally commercializing its efficient engine technology with a $200 million plant being built by Chinese auto giant Zhongding Power.
If all you know about China’s economy comes from Cold Warriors, if all you know about global economics is “Us versus Them” – you may as well skip this little news article from Katie Fehrenbacher and GigaOm.
If you have an interest in nations and enterprises experimenting in commercial partnerships – especially when our government is cowed by conservatives prating about the Red Peril of the East – then you should read on. In fact, click the link at the top of the original and wander through more of Katie’s journalism. It’s all focused on the nitty-gritty of getting Clean and Green Technology off the ground and into reality.
Casinos in several states are forbidding gamblers from wearing Google Glass, the tiny eyeglasses-mounted device capable of shooting photos, filming video and surfing the Internet.
Regulators say the gadgets could be used to cheat at card games.
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement issued a directive on Monday ordering Atlantic City’s 12 casinos to bar casino patrons from using the device…
Similar bans are in place at casinos in Las Vegas, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Connecticut, among other places.
…It would be difficult to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the glasses were actually being used to cheat, David Rebuck wrote. For that and other reasons, he decided to ban the glasses on the casino floor and anywhere else gambling is taking place.
‘‘Even if the glasses had not been used for cheating … their presence at a gaming table would lead to the perception that something untoward could be occurring, thereby undermining public confidence in the integrity of gaming,’’ he wrote in the directive.
Perish the thought someone doesn’t trust the Lords of Chance.
In Las Vegas, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts have directed their security workers to ask patrons to remove the devices before beginning to gamble…
The edict will also be applied at casinos in Cincinnati and Cleveland.
In Pennsylvania, state regulators plan to advise its 11 casinos that an existing regulation prohibiting gamblers from using electronic devices at a table game also applies to the Google Glass…
Mohegan Sun in Connecticut also bans the devices on the casino floor.
Presented as a public service to geeks who think they just came up with a new way to rake in tons of money at casinos. Too late!
Represent.us is a group supporting the American Anti-Corruption Act, to overhaul campaign finance laws, impose strict lobbying and conflict of interest laws, and end secret money…The group highlights the phrase, “Represent Us, Not The Money.”
Some folks think this is too edgy. I think it’s a little too kind.
Garment workers from textile company Envoy Group demonstrate climbing a makeshift ladder, which serves as a fire exit to the building, during a protest in Dhaka, the capitol of Bangladesh.
You might wish to enquire of the stores where you buy clothing – if this is the level of care and concern for working conditions and safety required by the corporations making that clothing?
North Sea cod stocks are on the road to sustainability, according to Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) research.
The body, which certifies whether fish are caught through good practice, says it is too soon to tell exactly when the North Sea fishery will meet its mark.
But a spokesman said on current trends, it would be ready for certification within years rather than decades.
Stocks would still be in recovery then, James Simpson said, but they would have passed an acceptable level.
MSC certification is determined by the state of the stocks, the environmental impact of the fishery, and if there is a management system in place to maintain sustainability if circumstances change.
The latter two were already in place, Mr Simpson said…
The recovery was thanks to strict catch limits aided by a massive public campaign for sustainable fish, he said.
Barrie Deas, the chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, which represents fisherman in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, told Radio 4′s Today programme it was a “dramatic turnaround”.
“I think a major part of it is there are fewer vessels out there. There have been big decommissioning schemes.
“There’s also been a change in the mindset in the industry. We work very closely with the scientists now.”
The article adds in some blather of worries about overfishing alternative species. Any journalist who just discovered that possibility knows nothing about fishing – or consumers. Dealing with that additional problem was always pretty much inevitable.
When government officials came to Silicon Valley to demand easier ways for the world’s largest Internet companies to turn over user data as part of a secret surveillance program, the companies bristled. In the end, though, many cooperated at least a bit.
Twitter declined to make it easier for the government. But other companies were more compliant, according to people briefed on the negotiations. They opened discussions with national security officials about developing technical methods to more efficiently and securely share the personal data of foreign users in response to lawful government requests. And in some cases, they changed their computer systems to do so.
The negotiations shed a light on how Internet companies, increasingly at the center of people’s personal lives, interact with the spy agencies that look to their vast trove of information — e-mails, videos, online chats, photos and search queries — for intelligence. They illustrate how intricately the government and tech companies work together, and the depth of their behind-the-scenes transactions.
And, legally, they haven’t a choice. Courtesy of a chickenshit Congress and a cavalier Constitutional lawyer for president.