Daily Archives: December 15, 2008

John Gapper

Lawrence Lessig, the Stanford law professor who has become a leading expert on copyright and other matters affecting Silicon Valley companies (including, see below, net neutrality) is moving back to Harvard.

I like the sound of his new job, as director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Centre for Ethics: 

John Gapper

The Wall Street Journal has a story this morning suggesting that Google has stepped back from its support for network neutrality by suggesting to internet service providers that it puts technology at their facilities to cache its content locally.

Google has struck back by denying that this idea – which would help to speed up the rate at which internet users can access web pages and video from Google and YouTube – is either a change of its stance, or a breach of net neutrality principles. 

John Gapper

The retirement of Robert Scully from the office of the chairman at Morgan Stanley makes me wonder more broadly about how many bankers who have not been forced out by their banks may decide to hang up their hats anyway.

Look at it this way: if you have been with an investment bank for a long time, and have accumulated some wealth, it must be tempting now to step out of the door. Few people think the industry will recover quickly, and there is a decent chance that its best days – certainly in terms of bonuses – are in the past. 

John Gapper

This is not exactly news, but I note it anyway. I have just been walking through SoHo in New York at the start of what should be one of the busiest shopping weeks in the year, leading up to Christmas (and Hanukkah).

In practice, the streets were easy to walk around and I would say that fully half of the shops had Sale notices in the windows, several advertising up to 50 per cent off some goods. That does not bode well for retailers’ holiday sales. 

John Gapper

The alleged fraud of $50bn at Bernard Madoff’s investment advisory business will send a scare through the fund-of-funds that put investors’ money in hedge funds in return for a fee, but the implications for hedge funds are less obvious.

His business, although hedge fund-like, was not structured like most hedge funds, and there would have been more safeguards if it had been. It would be very hard for most hedge funds to operate Ponzi schemes, as Mr Madoff is alleged to have done.