Scott Wilkinson & Benoit Felton:
I have been collaborating with Benoit Felton, a Yankee Group analyst based in Paris, and others on a map of FTTP (fiber to the premises) sites worldwide. For now, I’m doing most of the U.S. sites as time permits. There are still quite a few to add, since the U.S. FTTP deployments tend to be local municipal or utility networks, with the notable exception of Verizon’s successful FiOS service.
It’s pretty impressive, and is something to think about when your local telecommunications provider claims that you should be happy with your 1Mbps DSL connection.
The “video competition bill” – largely pushed by AT&T was a major miss for Wisconsin.
Greg Farrell & Henny Sender:
John Thain is giving us a tour of what is soon to become America’s most infamous office, with its $87,000 rug, $68,000 sideboard, $28,000 curtains – all part of a $1.2m redecoration scheme. This was early December, a little under two months before Thain would be fired in the same room by his new boss, Ken Lewis, chief executive of Bank of America.
For now, before a price tag had been placed on every item in his office, the 53-year-old chief executive of Merrill Lynch was in high spirits. The worst year on Wall Street in nearly a century was coming to an end, and Thain could rightfully claim to have saved his bank from ruin. Over a weekend in mid-September, as Lehman Brothers collapsed into bankruptcy, Thain pulled off a coup: he persuaded BofA, one of the few financial giants in the US that didn’t need government money to survive, to pay $29 per share for his own firm, even though Merrill was days away from following Lehman into bankruptcy.
Thain had taken over as Merrill chief executive nine months before that weekend deal. Now, he appeared to be one of the few Wall Street leaders who grasped the enormity of the credit crisis. Thanks to his analytical approach to the marketplace, it seemed, Merrill shareholders could look forward to a stake in Bank of America. “I have received thousands of e-mails saying, ‘Thank you for saving our company’,” Thain told us that day. And yet he admitted that the decision to sell Merrill Lynch – a 94-year-old institution that was always “bullish on America” – had been painful. “This was a great job. This was a great franchise. Emotionally, it was a huge responsibility.”
BUFFETT: …And, Joe, it–if you’re in a war, and we really are on an economic war, there’s a obligation to the majority to behave in ways that don’t go around inflaming the minority. If on December 8th when–maybe it’s December 7th, when Roosevelt convened Congress to have a vote on the war, he didn’t say, `I’m throwing in about 10 of my pet projects … [snip] …
JOE: Yeah, but you might–might not have fixed…
BUFFETT: But I say…
JOE: You might not–you might not have fixed global warming the day after–the day after D-Day, Warren.
BUFFETT: Absolutely. And I think that the–I think that the Republicans have an obligation to regard this as an economic war and to realize you need one leader and, in general, support of that. But I think that the–I think that the Democrats–and I voted for Obama and I strongly support him, and I think he’s the right guy–but I think they should not use this–when they’re calling for unity on a question this important, they should not use it to roll the Republicans all.
More from Shailagh Murray.