Reporters covering this election deserve nothing but contempt from the public. It is their job to highlight the issues that will matter to people’s lives, not to help push the agenda of corporate America.
Nokia finally managed to offload its luxury-oriented Vertu brand to private equity firm EQT-VI late last week, but the parties involved seemed content to keep quiet at the time. Not so anymore — Vertu has just issued an official statement on the matter, and shed a bit of new light on its executive structure going forward.
Sources told TechCrunch late last week that Nokia alum Anssi Vanjoki would take over Vertu’s CEO spot, but that no longer seems to be the case. Instead, he has been appointed chairman of a new, non-executive board intended to support current Vertu chief Perry Oosting as he continues to run the show.
So what’s next for the newly transferred business unit? Vertu’s statement also points to the existence of a “strong product roadmap in development,” though there was no further explanation on the matter. The company is probably best known for tricking out otherwise droll feature phones with ridiculously ostentatious trim (to their credit, they never took the easy route and blinged up commonly-available hardware), but recent hardware forays like the Constellation line have underlined a shift in the company’s understanding of the mobile market. Paying a ridiculous sum of money for a phone is one thing, but paying a ridiculous sum of money for a phone that’s technically inferior to more common devices doesn’t seem to be a philosophy Vertu will be clinging to for much longer.
To wit: recent rumblings point to Vertu’s adoption of Android for use in powering its future handsets. It’s a savvy move, if true — it’s highly customizable for one (which means that Vertu owners could soon have a gaudy smartphone UI to go with their device’s gaudy industrial design), not to mention that the shift could finally put Vertu hardware on the same level as other modern smartphones. Then again, I’m not sure how many people actually bought Vertu handsets for their functionality, so who knows how this will all play out.
A Democratic congressman who played a leading role in the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act earlier this year has taken up a new cause: shielding Google from antitrust scrutiny. In a strongly worded letter to Federal Trade Commission chairman Jon Leibowitz, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) praised Google’s contribution to the nation’s economy. He warned Leibowitz that if the FTC does choose to initiate an antitrust case against Google, Congress might react by curtailing its regulatory authority.
“At a time when the national economy continues to stagnate, it’s not clear to me why the FTC should be focusing on a product that consumers seem very happy with, search engines,” Polis wrote. “While Google is surely a big company and an important service in peoples’ lives, my constituents also use a variety of competing services.” To pursue antitrust action in this “hyper-competitive” environment, he argued, “defies all logic.”
Polis drew a parallel to the debate over SOPA. In that case, he wrote, policymakers tried to “overregulate Internet content,” but “consumers revolted” and stopped the proposal. He urged the FTC to “tread carefully.”