FryUp: iPhone saddoes live!

iPhone fanatics online, new Telecom CEO has big job, TelstraClear strangely sedate about losing mobile customers

Friday FryUp

By Juha Saarinen

Top Stories

- iPhone saddoes live!

- Long haul for tall Paul

- Who needs 30,000 customers? Not us.

iPhone saddoes live!

You can chat with them while they wait to be further inducted into the Cult of the iJobs.

Long haul for tall Paul

The Man from Uncle BT, Dr Paul Reynolds, is arriving in September to huge expectations. He will be expected to sort out a large number of problems accumulated during the Gattung era such as the bottomless money-sink that is Telecom’s business, and a government turned hostile after years of provocation and Telecom pretending to be interested in the government’s social targets and going along with them, but not really doing so.

Furthermore, Reynolds will need to think about Telecom’s mobile network transition from CDMA to GSM. How can this be done without customers jumping ship to Vodafone, or one its MVNOs, while the new network is being rolled out and the old one decommissioned? It would be interesting to see an analysis of the 027 network actually, as I hear customer acquisition costs were high, and as a result, the market share threshold at which Telecom would start to hurt is around 40%.

Telecom has also booted its wholesale partners in the head numerous times over the years, and they have nothing but suspicion and cynicism in store for the incumbent.

The incumbent itself is best described as having some very good people on board who are held back by sclerotic management structures that hamper innovation and progress. Where is the NGN, ADSL2+, IPTV, VoIP, you-name-it products that were promised over the years? It’s not regulation holding them back, but management.

Having accepted such a poisoned chalice, it’s only fair that Reynolds should get an extra $600,000 a year over and above Gattung’s remuneration. The question is, will Reynolds be able to achieve anything without a total overhaul of Telecom?

One surprise in Thursday’s announcement was COO Simon Moutter side-lining CFO Marko Bogoievski. That could herald his departure: I hear Marko goes under the “Buggeroffski” moniker at Telecom already.

Anyway, good luck with the new job Paul. Here’s hoping you’ll be able to sort things out and get telecommunications off the social agenda, where it should never have been in the first place.

Who needs 30,000 customers? Not us.

It’s the end of June and what does that mean? Well, among other things, it’s the expiry of the mobile phone deal between TelstraClear and Vodafone.

Unless something drastic happens, from July, some 30,000 TelstraClear customers on 029 will become Vodafone ones. What’s odd is that TelstraClear doesn’t seem to care. Naive old me thinking this is a significant number of customers to lose — I’ve asked the Smales Farm numerous times for comment, but had no response at all.

If you are an 029 customer, I’d be keen to hear from you. Has TelstraClear been in touch with you over the transition? What’s the explanation for not wanting to have you as a customer anymore? Is Vodafone saying anything?

With apologies to the Who

Cartoon from

Robert X Cringely

Is Microsoft ready for people?

“People-ready business.” That's Microsoft's latest slogan from hell, and it probably would have passed quietly into the dustbin of marketing history had it not been for a recent blowup in the blogosphere.

In an effort to inject this phrase into popular usage (and no doubt raise its Google page rank), Microsoft asked a passel of A List Bloggers* to excrete blurbs on what this meaningless phrase means to them. Michael Arrington, Om Malik, Fred Wilson, Richard MacManus and a handful of others happily agreed to churn out some mush for Microsoft which it later used in banner ads. But what it really meant to these guys was income. Redmond paid the bloggers for every user who clicked through to the PRB microsite. And that caused other bloggers, lead by Gawker chief Nick Denton, to rightfully question their ethics. A spitball war has been raging ever since. I'm not going to get into all the issues (PC World's Harry McCracken provides a fine summary of them here). But a big part of the problem is that “people-ready business” is such a lame slogan. (The full version - “Dynamic IT for the people-ready business” - is even worse.) Simply using it in a sentence makes you sound like an idiot. Not that this is anything out of the ordinary. Ever since “Where do you want to go today?” Microsoft has been extruding some of the most tortured taglines known to marketingkind. Remember "Your potential inspires us to create software that helps you reach it. Your potential, our passion"? Or “Welcome to the social”? Or “The WOW starts now”? Why not simply say “Clueless corporate clones struggling desperately to look hip”? That would at least have the benefit of accuracy.

Maybe this is why they can't seem to do anything right. Maybe a good slogan would fix all of Microsoft's woes.

Of course, Microsoft isn't paying me squat, so I'll be damned before I fix their problems for free. But surely some Good Samaritan out there will take pity on the $44 billion behemoth and come up with something worth blogging about. *Another phrase that should be flushed down the virtual oubliette.

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