Hello! And welcome to our Friday column, Worst of the Week. There’s a lot of nutty stuff that goes on in this industry, so this column is a chance for us at RCRWireless.com to rant and rave about whatever rubs us the wrong way. We hope you enjoy it!
And without further ado:
This week saw a couple of events that makes the conspiracy theorist in me go a bit bonkers, or at least a bit more bonkers than usual in what is the last year of our earthly existence. (Thanks for the heads up, Mayans.)
First, LightSquared named a new CFO that has a history of merger and acquisitions activity, and by history I mean he has spent much of his adult life working on M&A activities for a number of big-name companies.( I can only guess he also dabbled in the M&A space in his childhood, but that is only an assumption.)
Now, LightSquared could have named this person to the new position because he is the most qualified for that position and was impressive in his interview process. Or – and this is where I put on my tin-foil hat – he was appointed to a very senior level position because LightSquared is looking to position itself in the M&A space.
Now, I know this is probably not a huge surprise or stretch of the imagination as LightSquared’s “issues” have been played out in a very public forum, but the hiring does leave some to speculate on just where LightSquared might be a couple of months from now. With my hat firmly screwed on, I would say that the LightSquared of July 2012 will not look much different than the LightSquared of July 2010: a company with nothing to show for a lot of talk.
The other bit of news that had me re-foiling my hat was the announcement that Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam had cancelled his scheduled appearance at a keynote event during next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Word on the street was that the cancellation was due to a scheduling conflict, but this was apparently not strong enough to penetrate well designed helmet units.
Many noted that it seemed odd that a man whose schedule is likely planned out months, if not years in advance, would just days before a scheduled appearance find that he had scheduled a haircut at the same time. D’oh!
The crazy in me definitely wants to think that McAdam’s last-minute cancellation is due to some hijinks being perpetrated by Verizon in an attempt to either screw the CES show, or to keep McAdam from having to answer any questions related to recent snafus from Verizon Wireless. (Cough, cough … network down. Cough, cough … online payment fees.)
But, once I remove my silver Energy Dome, I think that maybe, just maybe, if I had the millions that McAdam surely has, I too would live life a bit on the edge. Wanna make a run to Monte Carlo for a few days? No need to plan months in advance when you have a company plane/yacht/jet pack at your disposal.
Or better yet, if I were McAdam I would still be in Las Vegas for the event, but would instead wear a disguise and slink around the show floor incognito. Isn’t that what rich people with power do?
Or maybe McAdam figures there is less than 12 months to live and why would he want to spend any of time in front of a bunch of us nut jobs. Hard to argue that point.
OK, enough of that.
Thanks for checking out this week’s Worst of the Week column. And now for some extras:
–Speaking of CES, the beginning of a new year is always a bitter sweet time for me. On one hand, I tend to get caught up in all the sentimental nonsense that seems to infest people when December is about to end despite my attempts to downplay such emotion. On the other hand I know that once I put up my new Star Wars themed calendar that one of the greatest burdens of my life is just around the corner: CES.
Now, you would think that a person like myself that works covering a technical and device heavy industry like the wireless telecommunications space would get all geeked-up for what is the tech, device and geekiest event of the year. And truthfully, I do get a bit geeked-up for about 1.72 seconds before the memories of CES past come rushing back, bringing with them a sense of dread and foreboding.
That dread is mostly due to the fact that for the past several weeks I have spent most of my days scheduling appointments and penciling in press conferences into my schedule for the event, only to know in the back of my head that the chances of me actually making it to these appointments on time is less than me correctly picking the right table in which to lose all my money.
I would like to blame this scenario on the difficulty in actually trying to navigate both the packed house that will be the Las Vegas Convention Center as well as the packed house that will be Las Vegas, but I know deep inside the biggest issue will be trying to not get lost in the soul-sucking practice of staring deeply into the 100-plus inch television screens that are a dime-a-dozen at CES.
Maybe this year I will take a tip from our friends from the Far East and at least come prepared to handle the crowds:
As for my own issues with getting lost in TV land? Well, there is no cure for that. To all of those that I have appointments scheduled for during the show, I apologize now for being late.
–Finally, Verizon Wireless managed to sell nearly 11 million iPhones in 2011, a number that was just short of the carrier’s expectations. Putting aside that it missed its target, it’s amazing that in less than 12 months, just about one-tenth of Verizon Wireless customers made the leap to Apple’s device. This despite the carrier promoting the heck out of its LTE-enabled devices that during the fourth quarter sold in half the numbers as did the iPhone.
I know at times I might give too much credit to the draw of the iPhone, but information like this does nothing to quiet my rantings.