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Beyond the Fold

November 2011
Volume 6
No. 11



Trust is Diminished or Gone Yet Positives in Tech Drive Us On


 New and Trendy at the University of Michigan


RIM Blackout - Enough to Switch to iPhone?    


World IT Spending is on the Rise






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trustTrust is Diminished or Gone Yet Positives in Tech Drive Us On   


There is a huge deficit of trust that continues to be covered by major business media.  It has to do with banks and the lax adherence to prudent judgment in accepting mortgage applications over the past 3-4 years.


But it also has to do with a the less-widely-reported resurgence of Silicon Valley as once more a major factor in what's going on in America with technology.


First, the diminution of trust.


As Jesse Eisinger reported in the October 13 Times piece "For Banks, a Deficit of Trust:" Morgan Stanley is fine and dandy and a safe investment by any measure except one: "The amount of trust people have in the whole financial and political system.  It's just about zero."  No one trusts anyone these past 10 years since we had the decay of Arthur Anderson, the CFO then CEO issues and the priests' issue.  We have all lost trust with each other. 


 Trust is gone, hopefully just dormant but for now, gone.  That's why bank shares, despite good financial reports, are down 42 percent so far this year.  That's why we want the political ins to become outs.  Why we do not necessarily trust the outs to become ins.


Don't believe it? Survey any group to participate in and see who trusts whom.  Just ask you business colleagues, neighbors, church acquaintances, schoolmates, customers, clients and bankers.  Ask anyone and you will get maybe 10 percent of respondents who trust something based on hope for better things.  But 90 percent who do not trust anyone or anything.  Lying, cheating and stealing have become  norms in our society.


It's massively ugly folks.  And just who is leading the pack to resurge against this massive display of no trust?


Second, as Tom Friedman quoted in his "One Country, Two Resolutions" column in the October 23 Times piece:


"While Wall Street is being rattled by social revolution, Silicon Valley is being transformed by another technology revolution - one that is taking the world from connect to hyper-connected and individuals from empowered to super-empowered.    It is the biggest leap forward in the IT revolution since desktops and the Web replaced the mainframe computer. ... The latest phase in the IT revolution is being driven by the convergence of social media - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Groupon, Zynga - with the proliferation of cheap wireless connectivity and Web-enabled smartphones and 'the cloud'  those enormous server farms that hold and constantly update thousands of software applications, which are then downloaded (as if from a cloud) by users on their smartphones making them into incredibly powerful devices that can perform myriad tasks."


It is just like the timesharing days 30 years ago when people began to realize they did not have to buy hugely expensive mainframes, but could rent them on an as-needed basis and pay for only the time they used. We are in the age of skinnier - do more with less.  Cut out the outmoded technologies that are no longer cost-effective.  Streamline the ways you run your business.  Sublet.  Use independent partners.  Do joint ventures. "This is speeding up everything - innovation, product cycles and competition," explains Friedman through Alan  Cohen, a VP in Nicira, a new networking company in Silicon Valley.


-Larry Eiler



newNew and Trendy at the University of Michigan


Taking place on campus at the University of Michigan as well as other universities and on the web, Rent The Runway (RTR) is a relatively new service designed to provide high fashion to people who otherwise could not afford it.  Their model is such that you pay a certain value for a dress that could be 6 times less than the market price and rent it for four to eight days.  For added security, an additional size comes free of charge to ensure costumer satisfaction.  They address hygiene concerns and guarantee that all of their dresses are dry-cleaned by RTR before getting shipped.  Ladies love being able to afford couture dresses for a fraction of the price and do not worry about being compelled to wear it more than once. They also offer accessories for rent to match their dresses.  For those who are nervous about potential consequences from ruining the dresses, they require insurance, which is only an additional five dollars per dress.  Inspired by chic New York socialites, these same fashions can now be worn by anyone.


-Ashley Ferremi


RIM Blackout - Enough to Switch to iPhone?

Throughout the past month, there have been scattered breaks in service for Blackberry users, not just throughout the entire nation, but globally. These blackouts began with a failed server in Britain, which should have been immediately solved by backup systems, however these systems failed as well. This failure caused a service blackout throughout the Middle East, Africa and India.  Since Blackberry is seen as such a very reliable brand, the majority of users assumed that the service would quickly return to normal, and continued using their devices. However, because users attempted to send so many emails while their service was down, the backup caused for breaks in American and Asian service as well. After the domino effect of lost service had ended, the final count of affected Blackberry users was calculated to be about 70 million users.


Not only did these service outings negatively affect Blackberry's credibility with its consumers, it also came at terrible timing. As Blackberry users were experiencing the outages, the media was publicizing the release of the newest Apple product, the iPhone 4s. The largest reason consumers choose the Blackberry over other cell phones is the access to email and the quick messaging that Blackberry provides. However, the iPhone 4s provides email access as well as messaging that is comparable to the Blackberry, and therefore Blackberry needed to begin intense damage control regarding their breaks in service.


On October 13th, though it took a while, the company founder Mike Lazaridi issued a video apology which created a more personal touch to the public assuring them that services were "returning to normal", and the company was "taking immediate and aggressive steps to help prevent something like this from happening again". Along with apologizing, the company has issued condolences directed at the different demographics that use their services. Geared toward the younger demographic, Blackberry is now offering free premium apps from October 19th through the 31st for those that experienced the outages, while business users are going to be provided one month of free technical support.


Though these efforts are attempting to restore confidence in the company and gain back their reliability, it could be too little too late. The iPhone 4s has been highly publicized and the user satisfaction speaks for itself. America loves the newest and best technology, and with this recent global blackout, Blackberry just might have secured a backseat to the Apple empire.


- Kathleen Gannon



worldWorld IT Spending is on the Rise


Gartner, the world's leading information technology research and advisory company, forecasts IT spending will continue to increase in 2012, despite recent downturns in the global economy.


Gartner's latest outlook projects total IT spending will reach $2.7 trillion in 2012, a 3.9 percent increase from the $2.6 trillion expected in 2011, and a 12.5 percent increase from the $2.4 trillion spent in 2010.


Changes in IT spending can be attributed to the rapid development of applications in the cloud, social computing, data warehousing and mobility areas. Gartner believes these areas will continue to influence IT spending as they predict a 5.3 percent annual average growth in IT spending through 2015.


-Becca Zajac



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