If you were surprised when a senior Microsoft executive took the stage at Apple’s latest product launch last week, you need to brace yourself for more of the same. The spread of digital platforms, the ease with which collaborative networks can form, and the willingness of employees to work across newly porous corporate borders mean there will be more pacts between old rivals — and they will bring problems as well as benefits.

Andrew Hill

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Ivan Glasenberg, co-founder and chief executive of Glencore, delights in telling his rivals in the commodities industry that they are wrong, and in trying to prove it by running his business differently. So it takes quite an upheaval to persuade Mr Glasenberg that he, and not someone else, is mistaken.

When General Electric bid for Honeywell in 2000, it was Jack Welch’s last “swing for the fences”. The GE chief executive handwrote the $43bn offer faxed to his Honeywell counterpart. He delayed his retirement to see through the takeover. He went alone in June 2001 to the last meeting in Brussels with Mario Monti, then European competition commissioner.

Li Yifei, head of Man Group in China, is said to have gone on holiday after being summoned by officials investigating the plunge in the stock market. As regulators, executives and journalists face allegations of manipulation and “rumour-mongering”, China wants others to take a break too.

Leading a team is hard. Now try leading one in hot, humid, cramped conditions, with knives, fire and blunt instruments to hand, and a daily imperative to make a perfect product to order, again and again, for impatient customers waiting next door. Now do it without losing your temper.

Explaining the unboxing of Alphabet, Google’s new parent, Larry Page, its chief executive, said appointing someone else to run the search company “frees up time for me to continue to scale our aspirations”.

After software engineering and financial engineering comes linguistic engineering. Google this week raised its market capitalisation by $25bn by shuffling around some executive jobs and changing its name to Alphabet. Who knew that swapping your tiles in a game of corporate Scrabble was worth so much?

Netflix’s new family leave policy — unlimited paid time off for parents in the first year after a child’s birth or adoption — is great. But it would be even better if the video streaming company could now ensure its founder and chief executive Reed Hastings has a child and spends 12 months out of the office caring for his newborn.

John Gapper

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe,” the villain played by Rutger Hauer reminisces at the end of the film Blade Runner after hauling Harrison Ford’s character on to a roof top and sparing his life. “People” is the operative word since Roy Batty is not a person but an android who escapes to earth from a space colony and takes revenge on the Tyrell Corporation, his creator.

The causes and consequences of the long-running inflation of profits by Toshiba reflect some uniquely Japanese cultural norms. So, inevitably, did the 2011 scandal at Olympus , where successive leaders covered up accounting manipulation.

John Gapper

Hisao Tanaka, Toshiba’s chief executive, gave a 15-second bow on Tuesday as he resigned over a $1.2bn accounting scandal. Mr Tanaka and seven other executives took responsibility for deceptions that started in 2008. Taro Aso, Japan’s finance minister, warned that this could “lose the market’s trust”.

Imagine a business with a base of middle-class customers in the richest nations, a fervent new following in the world’s fastest-growing Asian economies, loyal corporate backers, and a new global television showcase, championed by personable young stars. Are you in?

About a decade ago, Bobby Kotick, chief executive of the video games company Activision Blizzard, flew to Kyoto to visit Nintendo. He was shown to a room with a television on which was displayed an image of a pond with bubbles floating to the surface. Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s president, handed him a games controller called a wand and guided his hand to cast a virtual fishing line.

Habitual lateness, mild abuse of the corporate credit card, a little grousing by outgoing employees about low pay or overwork: the day to day dysfunctions of many large businesses. But could these be warning signals of a coming collapse in corporate culture or an imminent scandal? If so, how should companies detect and act on them?

Everywhere one ventures in cities, skyscrapers are being built or planned. Even Paris is getting one. The French capital last week backed plans for a 180-metre high triangular tower by Herzog & de Meuron of Switzerland, its first in four decades.

Within seconds of the explosion of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket on June 28, people who had been watching the live stream of the launch took to social media with a familiar line.

The Berlin Philharmonic’s choice of Kirill Petrenko as its next chief conductor, succeeding Sir Simon Rattle, is less remarkable than the fact it made a decision at all. The 124-member orchestra, one of the world’s most democratic musical ventures, failed to do so in May despite 11 hours of debate and several ballots.

John Aglionby

Peace, love and higher returns. That’s the overriding theme of Camp Alphaville 2015, the blogging team’s one-day festival of finance, fun and scorching sun.

Across five stages 80 strategists, economists, corporate financiers, futurists and mystery guests will debate China, the euro, the rise of artificial intelligence, currency wars, energy supply and much, much more.


When Deutsche Bank named John Cryan as its new chief executive three weeks ago, the commentary had an insidious subtext. He has “an enormous brain”, one friend told the FT. “Very thoughtful,” said a former colleague. Ominously for Mr Cryan, these comments echoed those made about Vikram Pandit when he unexpectedly stepped down as Citigroup’s CEO in 2012. He was “too cerebral”, said critics of the Citi boss.