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Siemens: Fixing the German dynamo

LONG-LIVED companies can change radically over time. Nokia, for example, began in 1865 as a pulp mill; recently it sold its mobile-phone business to Microsoft (see article) and now it mainly makes networking equipment.

Schumpeter: Unplugged and unproductive

AT FIRST glance it would appear that China has gone online, and gone digital, with great gusto. The spectacular rise of internet stars such as Alibaba, Tencent and JD would certainly suggest so.

Online privacy and law enforcement: Unwarranted

LAWYERS for Microsoft and the American government are due to face each other in a court in New York on July 31st.

Microsoft: Cloud lifting

As Nietzsche once said... NO ONE could mistake Satya Nadella for Steve Ballmer, his predecessor as Microsoft’s boss.

Herbalife: Shake, rattle ‘n’ roll

THE “death blow” that Bill Ackman promised to land on Herbalife this week raised expectations of a dramatic ending to one of the most remarkable battles in the history of Wall Street.

German beer: Pure, cheap and a bit dull

Quality, quantity but not much variety THE dirndl-clad waitress bringing huge mugs to Lederhosen-wearing revellers at Oktoberfest is an image that, like none other, shows how central beer is to German culture.

Weapons-makers: The case for defence

THE star of the show was missing from the skies above the Farnborough air show, Europe’s biggest aerospace get-together, which began on July 14th.

Tobacco: An irresistible urge to merge

IN 1911 the United States Supreme Court ruled that the American Tobacco Company was “an attempt to monopolise” trade and ordered its break-up.

The film industry: Rated “P” for persistent

RUPERT MURDOCH is a man who does not mind walking in his own footsteps. In the 1980s he tried and failed to gain control of the parent company of the Warner Bros.

Shell, Exxon and carbon: The elephant in the atmosphere

Keep on drilling IN SEPTEMBER 2013 a group of institutional investors with $3 trillion of assets under management asked the 45 biggest quoted oil firms how climate change might affect their business and, in particular, whether any of their oil reserves might become “stranded assets”—unusable if laws to curb emissions of carbon dioxide became really tight.

Schumpeter: Little things that mean a lot

JUDGING from the condemnation, Facebook just “friended” Satan. The company has been pilloried for academic research it published, showing that by adjusting its users’ news feeds so that a greater proportion of positive or negative items appeared, it could nudge people to post slightly sunnier or gloomier items themselves.

Japanese arms firms: Late starters

JAPAN’S parliament decided in 1967 that, in keeping with the country’s pacifist post-war constitution, it should restrict exports of military equipment.

Drugmakers: A new home for orphans

IT HAS been a hectic year for drug companies. They did deals worth $230 billion in the first half of 2014, according to Dealogic, a research firm, up 65% from the same period last year.


Correction: in our piece on Philips last week (“Lights out”), we failed to mention that it has reached agreement to sell its remaining home-entertainment business to Gibson of America.

Corporate computing: Big Blue Apple

Wish they’d hurry up and invent the iPad WHEN he was the boss of Apple, Steve Jobs made little secret of his contempt for selling to big businesses.

Telecoms in Mexico: Slimming down

TOUGH new anti-monopoly legislation in Mexico got off to a strong start on July 8th when América Móvil, the telecoms empire owned by the country’s most powerful businessman, Carlos Slim, unexpectedly said it would sell part of its business.

Startup nations: The biggest internet companies

Audio and Video content on requires a browser that can handle iFrames. Even Luddites know that the largest internet firms are in America.

Smartphone apps: The antisocial networks

Hurry up and vacate that parking spot! PARKING can stir intense passions, especially in San Francisco, where demand for public spaces often exceeds supply.

Schumpeter: German lessons

GERMANY’S midsized manufacturers, collectively known as the Mittelstand, are often praised as a group for providing the backbone of the world’s fourth-largest economy.

Philips: Lights out

ALTHOUGH Philips seems to have become a model for Japanese rivals because of its readiness to quit unprofitable businesses, the company’s restructurings seem to be as endless as the staircases and waterfalls in the works of Escher, another famous Dutch name.