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European telecoms: Going mobile again


BRITISH TELECOM will not be coming back to ask for a re-merger. That was what Sir Christopher Bland, BT’s then chairman, promised after shareholders had approved plans to spin off the firm’s mobile-telephony unit in 2001.

Technology firms: Frothy.com


IN DECEMBER 15 years ago the dotcom crash was a few weeks away. Veterans of that fiasco may notice some familiar warning signs this festive season.

Schumpeter: Sailing through a scandal


IT MUST all seem like a distant nightmare now. After the revelations of phone-hacking at the News of the World emerged in 2011, Rupert Murdoch was hauled before Parliament, calling it “the most humble day of my life”.

Baidu: Searching for the next big thing

IT IS that rarest of things, an internet-search firm that does not have to worry much about Google. Baidu’s dominance of the market for search-related advertising in China has remained unchallenged since its American counterpart quit the country a few years ago, rather than put up with official censorship.

Lawyers’ pay: Bonus babies


Hmm, what colour Porsche should I buy? NEARLY eight years have passed since young lawyers at large American firms last got significant pay rises.

Schumpeter: The scale-up nation


ISRAEL is rightly proud of its status as a startup nation. It boasts the world’s highest concentration of high-tech startups per head.

Corporate transparency: The openness revolution


HOWARD SCHULTZ, the head of Starbucks, said last year that “the currency of leadership is transparency.” If so, bosses should be feeling ever more qualified to command their troops.

Foreign firms in Argentina: Waiting for Cristina to go


Your dollars belong to us ARGENTINA has never been a simple place for foreign companies to operate in.

Corporate cyber-security: Horror movie


It wasn’t me CRITICS who don’t like a film usually pen scathing reviews of it. But “The Interview”, a comedy from Sony Pictures Entertainment that includes a scene depicting the assassination of Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader, has provoked a far more damaging response from one particular bunch of detractors.

Treating autism: In development


Slowly does it THE Centre for Autism and the Developing Brain sits on a pastoral campus north of New York city.

Car emissions: Fuel’s paradise


THAT Americans drive brash gas-guzzling cars whereas Europeans putter around in fuel-sipping runabouts is as enduring a stereotype as any.

Telecoms in America: On the airwaves


TIMES are getting tougher for America’s mobile operators as they battle one another for business. On December 8th Verizon, which dominates the market together with AT&T, gave warning that its profits were being squeezed as it rolls out discounts to entice customers away from rivals.

Schumpeter: Test-tube government


INCUBATORS, accelerators, garages, laboratories: the best big companies have had them for years. Whatever the moniker (The Economist once had one called “Project Red Stripe”), in most cases a select few workers are liberated from the daily grind and encouraged to invent the future.

German utilities: E.ON and E.OUT


Spot the nuclear off switch FOR many Germans, E.ON, the country’s biggest utility, is a symbol of stability.

Nuclear power in China: Promethean perils


AFICIONADOS of fission have had to wait nearly two decades for another public flotation of a firm operating nuclear power plants.

Mining and corruption: Crying foul in Guinea


“AN emblematic tragedy” is how Sir Paul Collier, an adviser to the British government, describes the situation in Guinea—referring not to the Ebola outbreak (awful though he considers that to be) but the saga of Simandou, a mining project mired in allegations of corruption, expropriation and corporate espionage.Simandou, a mountainous area in southern Guinea (pictured), has been called the El Dorado of iron ore.

Online-advertising fraud: Dial “B” for bot

A WITTY commercial for Adobe, the software firm, that aired last year showed a blissful team of executives and factory workers, who return to work when they think sales are up for their “Encyclopedia Atlantica”.

Motorbikes in India: Coming out for a Hero


Heading abroad THE Hero motorcycle plant at Gurgaon, an industrial city near New Delhi, India’s capital, is a model of order.

The spirits business: Cheers to Uncle Sam


One for the capitalist-roaders? THERE was much self-congratulation among Diageo’s bosses in July last year when the British firm, the world’s biggest maker of spirits, completed its acquisition of Shui Jing Fang, a maker of baijiu, a liquor generally made of rice.

Estate agents: At home with technology


...and not by agent STEP into an estate agency in small-town America and it is as if the internet had never been invented.


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