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Worst of the Week: Dance off!

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 to rant and rave about whatever rubs us the wrong way. We hope you enjoy it!

And without further ado:

I am not currently a Dish Networks subscriber, but after what that company did this week, I may become a satellite convert.

This action of what I speak was Dish’s ballsy attempt to usurp Sprint Nextel’s moving-along-swimmingly acquisition attempt of Clearwire by throwing out a superior financial bid. This was not only awesome because anytime there is a bidding war for anything, it’s pretty much awesome. But, it’s also awesome because Dish came through and answered a plea I offered up several weeks ago.

You see, when Sprint Nextel was first rumored to be looking at picking up the remaining interest in Clearwire that it did not already own, I begged Clearwire to snub the offer. Not because I did not think it was financially prudent as I am in no position to ever judge anything financially prudent, but because it might bring to an end the Clearwire soap opera that has provided years of entertainment to all, or at least to me.

Plus, more money is more money … right?

Many have noted that Clearwire’s current convoluted ownership structure, which is dominated by Sprint Nextel, make it highly unlikely that anyone outside of Sprint Nextel has a real chance of gaining control of Clearwire’s operations. But, just like a honey badger, Dish don’t care.

And neither do I, because now we have a dance off!

That’s right. Dish has scrounged up the courage to find Sprint Nextel in the middle of the dance floor and thrown down the challenge. Dynomite!

Sprint Nextel has already tried to pull the batteries out of the boom box by stating that the Dish offer is “inferior” to its offer for various reasons that would require an abacas to verify (mines at the shop), as well as the fact that Sprint Nextel’s majority ownership position would require it to waive its rights to Clearwire for the Dish deal to happen. Details, details.

This stance could mean that Sprint Nextel has no interest is taking Dish’s offer to dance, and that would be a shame. Sure, Sprint Nextel probably has been too busy trying to right its ship to have been keeping up on its moves, but Dan Hesse has to have some muscle memory in his body somewhere.

All we can hope for is that Dish does not back down; that Clearwire’s “special committee” takes the bait and proclaims the Dish offer indeed superior to that of Sprint Nextel’s; and that Hesse is in mountaintop lair practicing his dance moves.

Let’s get it on!

OK, enough of that.
Thanks for checking out this week’s Worst of the Week column. And now for some extras:

–For the first time in many years I managed to weasel my way out of attending the annual Consumer Electronics Show. And in doing so, I have also realized for the first time in many-a-January that the current selection of consumer electronics equipment in my home are sufficient … for the moment.

–While I did not attend this year’s CES event and thus have no right in providing a “best of” award, I think I am safe in giving my version of that award to Samsung’s UN110S9000. For those that don’t speak Bocce, let me C-3PO that for you: It’s a 110-inch television.

Sure, as with most of what comes out of CES, there is a great chance that this device will never be available and if it does it will probably cost more than the structure it will be housed in. But, just knowing that something like this could exist is enough for me. Long live big TVs!

–AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless put the buzz kill on their competitors this week, with both carriers releasing just a snippet of what they expect to announce in regards to fourth quarter results later this month, but just enough to indicate that they likely to again dominated the market during the all-important holiday season.

Verizon Wireless was the first out of the gate, with Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam reporting that the carrier posted 2.1 million postpaid net additions during the quarter. That was a company record and would seem to leave mere scraps of the postpaid market for rivals. Sure, some operators might post strong prepaid or machine-to-machine growth, but postpaid customers are still where the big profits are coming from, and from what I hear, people like profits.

AT&T Mobility, apparently not wanting to be left out in stomping on the hopes and dreams of smaller rivals, said it sold a company record 10 million smartphones during the fourth quarter. 10 million! That’s something like 100,000 smartphones sold each and every day during the fourth quarter. That sort of sales volume would seem to indicate that the carrier managed to attract a lot of new customers or that it did not lose a lot of its current customer base. Either way, that would appear to be bad news for smaller rivals.

I welcome your comments. Please send me an email at [email protected].

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