Monthly Archives: July 2008

John Gapper

My fascination with global positioning devices has not abated but it seems that not everyone shares my naive enthusiasm.

Devoted readers of this blog will recall my childlike sense of wonder at renting a car in Los Angeles last year and being guided around the city with a GPS device. Of course, GPS was already old hat then for many car drivers, but there we are.

My latest experiment has been to buy a small GPS Bluetooth fob for about $50 that links with my Blackberry and the Google Maps software that I have downloaded to it. As a result, I can now see where I am: a little blue dot on the map marks the spot. Read more

John Gapper

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My column in the FT this week is about cross-border mergers and whether they are really more risky than other kinds. It starts like this: Read more

John Gapper

You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out, as they say, and the Detroit auto makers are providing an example.

They are now halting cheap leases that have enabled Americans who could not afford to buy an expensive pick-up truck or Sports Utility Vehicle to lease one instead. Banks no longer want to underwrite that business. Read more

John Gapper

So is 22 the number?

Merrill Lynch’s $6.7bn sale of a bunch of collateralised debt obligations for 22 cents on the dollar has been hailed as the long-awaited “capitulation trade” by various analysts. Read more

John Gapper

Even an irrepressible optimist sometimes get repressed. I feel a bit sad at the departure of Vern Raburn as chief executive of Eclipse, the very light jet maker that has not yet fulfilled his hopes of transforming air travel.

Mr Raburn has paid the price for the fact that it has proved much harder than he promised to built a cheap, snap-together small jet that would be used for air taxi services and bought as an alternative to small turbo-prop aircraft. Read more

John Gapper

Here is a suggestion for a statement that Apple could issue on Monday to end the speculation about Steve Jobs’ health:

There has been some concern about Steve Jobs’ state of health. Mr Jobs has had intestinal side-effects from his surgery for pancreatic cancer in 2004. Earlier this year, he had minor surgery relating to this condition and subsequently lost some weight. He is free from cancer and his condition is not life-threatening. Read more

John Gapper

So what will higher commodity prices and discontent among McDonald’s franchisees do to the Dollar Menu?

The question arose yesterday after McDonald’s disclosed its second quarter results and said it was considering changes to the Dollar Menu, which offers US customers items such as a double cheeseburger or a McChicken Sandwich for a dollar. Read more

John Gapper

I have reviewed a new book by Donald Keough, the former president of Coca-Cola, called The Ten Commandments of Business Failure in tomorrow’s FT.

Here are the first few paragraphs of the review: Read more