A Three Horse Race

Reuters:

Nokia and Microsoft teamed up on Friday to build an iPhone killer in a desperate attempt to take on Google and Apple in the fast-growing smartphone market.

“It is now a three-horse race,” said Elop, who was drafted in from Microsoft last September to turn Nokia around.

“This is a partnership born out of both parties’ fear of marginalization at the hands of Apple and Google but there is no silver bullet,” said analyst Geoff Blaber from CCS Insight.

USA Today, AP:

Elop, a Canadian national, joined Nokia from a senior executive position at Microsoft last year. The first non-Finn to lead Nokia, he is under intense pressure to reverse the company’s market share losses to North American and Asian competitors.

“Nokia is at a critical juncture, where significant change is necessary and inevitable in our journey forward,” Elop said. He added the company was aiming at “regaining our smart phone leadership, reinforcing our mobile device platform and realizing our investments in the future.”

Speaking later to analysts in London, he declined to say when Nokia would introduce a new device running on Windows Phone. But he said Nokia won’t bury its own Symbian operating system or the new Meego platform that it is currently developing.

“We need to, and we will, collaborate closely on development … so we can really align and drive the future revolution of the mobile phone,” he said.

CNNMoney.com Fortune:

Of course, Nokia isn’t the top dog it used to be. But despite a weak presence in the United States, declining market share worldwide and a lack of hit products, the company still sold more phones than any other manufacturer in 2010. Last year, Nokia shipped about 100 million handsets (more than twice as many as Apple sold), according to market research firm IDC. No other partner could give Microsoft that same kind of global reach and scale.

In a way, with Google, it would’ve been just another Android handset maker. The details of its deal with Microsoft likely mean it will be first among equals, a premier partner in the Redmond company’s mobile business. It will also likely benefit, according to some reports, from many millions of dollars in development support from Microsoft, as it makes the transition to their OS. So will Windows Phone get the job done? Not unless Nokia shows some real — and real fast — innovation on the hardware side as well.

Blog at Forbes:

INQ Chief Executive Frank Meehan told me today that the Nokia-Microsoft strategic partnership, in which Windows Phone 7 will be the primary operating system for Nokia was “good for both parties.”

Microsoft’s mobile operating system is well-regarded, but it has just 8.5% market share in the U.S., so piggybacking onto Nokia’s huge distribution channels and the billion or so people who use its phones today could provide a new advantage against Google Android and Apple’s iPhone. Working together on a Windows Phone 7 ecosystem would also keep both parties incentivized to make the software a success.

Blog at The Telegraph:

Where two established giants of very different corporate culture, structure and nationality come together to try and play catch up in a business characterised by a new generation of faster moving reptiles, the result is highly unlikely to be productive. I’m willing to bet big money that the partnership will not last more than five years and will fail to produce the cutting edge technology aspired to.

“There is intense heat coming from our competitors, more rapidly than we ever expected. While competitors poured flames on our market share, what happened at Nokia? We fell behind, we missed big trends, and we lost time.”

A dime to a dozen, he’ll lose even more attempting to make his joint venture with Microsoft work.

Bare Minimum Wage

When adjusted for inflation, a person making minimum wage in 1968 had more spending authority than a person making minimum wage now.

A sobering graph:

A recession hurts those who can least afford it. Production is up while earnings are down. At least things aren’t as bad as they were in 2006, right? Right?

False Appetizing

Alphaila recently performed a photographic experiment starring food you can buy at 4 in the morning. Fast, that is.

The results are disturbing. Dario D, the blogger/scientist behind the experiment, purchased items from McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, and Jack in the Box. He juxtaposed a stock image of the item with an image of his own, purchased item, taking care to recreate the lighting and setting of the original picture.

As you can see, at least one fast-food chain failed to recreate the splendor of their advertised gloss.

Dario D made explicit his intention to display the food in the most flattering way possible, though he admitted he did not buy multiples of the same item to garner the best possible rendition of the same product.

It is my contention that this false advertising should be illegal. For one, those Jack in the Box tacos on the left actually look healthy – fresh, full of vegetables, somehow able to stand upright on their narrow spines without toppling over. What you really get is a soggy cardboard nacho failure. Two, false advertising allows companies to up their fast-food prices (why are shitty Whoppers $4?) – if you’re gonna spend 8 bucks on a fast-food meal, well then Jesus, why didn’t you just  go someplace nicer.

I understand the convenience aspect of fast food and myself am partial to Taco Bell burritos in a time/energy crunch. However, food is more sacred than the atrocity pictured above, and we shouldn’t fuddle “convenience” and “quality” together in food advertising. The illusion will only serve to keep another generation poor, starving for health, and paradoxically, overfed.

CHOCOLATE SHORTAGE

Annoyed/disgusted with the fact that you just can’t stop eating your leftover funsize Snickers from Halloween? Don’t be. Popsci reports the most disturbing news of our generation: we’re going to run out of chocolate in the next 20 years:

Chocolate consumption is increasing faster than cocoa production, according to the Cocoa Research Association, and that means prohibitively expensive chocolate is in our future.

John Mason, executive director and founder of the Ghana-based Nature Conservation Research Council, says in 20 years, chocolate will be like caviar: “It will become so rare and so expensive that the average Joe just won’t be able to afford it.”

Never in my life have I wanted to surpass the level of “average Joe,” but boy, I do now. What am I going to eat while chatting on my iphone 16? What other food constitutes a viable replacement for sex? Am I going to have to start taking real anti-depressants instead of just buying a box of Russel-Stover and calling it a night? Can’t wait to bake my grandchildren a revolting batch of carob-chip cookies.

Well, along with fuel, fresh air, clean water, and cassette tapes, add chocolate to the list of commodities that will soon be enjoyed as occasional treats.

 

adios, delicious

Relaxation Brownies

As voters in California prepare to vote on Prop 19 this Tuesday, lovers/entrepreneurs of ganja elsewhere than the West Coast are approaching legalization a little differently. Terry Harris, of Cordova, TN, has just filed a registered trademark for the World’s First Relaxation Brownies.

Being a Tennessee resident myself, I first saw these brownies in a liquor store/head shop mash-up (we do things all at once down here). I’m not sure how far they’ve made it outside of TN, but in Nashville they cost $2.99 each and were just thrown about with other drug-related paraphernalia.

Here is how they were advertised:

You can visit bakedworld.com for more information. There are even opportunities to become a “distributor.” I wasn’t able to find an ingredient list, but expect a documented experiment to surface here soon.

Neanderthal be Proud

 

 

The most amazing one? Crayons, which comes from the fat. I do wonder what the pig and chicken diagram look like. I will think twice before frivolously using laboratory research materials derived from cow’s blood.

(via GOOD)

More Oil!

Is it possible for massive natural disasters to help the American economy?

I don’t get it, but David Brancaccio does. Short interview by the NYT.