Monthly Archives: October 2009

John Gapper

While at BMW in Munich, I received an insight into why we should not hold our breath for pure electric cars to replace those with internal combustion engines.

It came from Hans Rathgeber, a BMW executive in charge of developing fuel-efficient technology for the BMW and Mini brands. Mr Rathgeber’s latest project is a BMW concept sports car, unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show, which accelerates to 100 km per hour in 4.8 seconds but is extremely fuel efficient. Read more

John Gapper

It sounds absurd to be surprised at how automated the process of car production is these days, but that was my reaction when I toured BMW’s plant making Series 3 cars in Munich today.

It has been more than 10 years since I went round a vehicle plant, so I took the opportunity on a visit to Munich to visit the one that which stands on the site where BMW first made aircraft engines in 1917. Read more

John Gapper

I reviewed Too Big To Fail – favourably – in the FT today:

For 19 years, the curse of Barbarians at the Gate, Bryan Burrough and John Helyar’s groundbreaking book about the leveraged buy-out of RJR Nabisco, has hung over the publishing industry. Every time there is a tumultuous financial collapse or scandal, journalists scurry to write proposals for books, promising to recount it Barbarians-style. Read more

John Gapper

My FT column this week is about how to restructure banks: Read more

John Gapper

I said I would report back on my experience with using a fully-fledged version of Windows 7 on a netbook – an Asus Eee that I bought last week.

To cut a long story short, it has been good so far. The netbook does not appear to have any trouble running Windows 7 Ultimate, of which I was given a review copy last week. Given Windows’ record of demanding ever more sophisticated hardware to work, that is impressive. Read more

John Gapper

Good for the European Commission. The news that ING, the financial services group, is now breaking up its banking and insurance divisions – and being forced to sell ING Direct USA – is one of the first times that a  banking group has been properly humbled for its role in the financial crisis.

So far, national governments have largely avoided actually making banks smaller as the price for needed to be bailed out. Indeed, the trend has been in the other direction – Hank Paulson, the US Treasury secretary last year, pushed for deals such as Bank of America taking over Merrill Lynch. Read more

John Gapper

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, was characteristically upbeat at the launch of Windows 7, the new version of its operating software in New York today. Mr Ballmer had good reason since Windows 7 (whether or not is numbered correctly) looks like a good product.

Microsoft has had enough of being pilloried by Apple for the complexity and unreliability of Windows. The software not only appears to be more reliable and much easier to use than previous versions but it does things like setting up a home network and streaming video across it with impressive ease. Read more

John Gapper

My FT column this week returns to Goldman Sachs: Read more