Monthly Archives: November 2009

John Gapper

Sitting in Qingdao at the FT Chinese annual forum, I am confronting at first hand the shift in the pattern of Chinese censorship towards social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

It is easy to access media sites such as the websites of the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal. Twittering or adding an entry to Facebook is, however, much harder. Read more

John Gapper

I’ve written a piece about Rupert Murdoch’s stand-off with Google for the Weekend FT, saying he ought to stop talking about it and go ahead and charge for access to newspapers such as The Times online. You can read it and comment on it here.

John Gapper

Do not be quotable is probably a good motto for bankers, one that was ignored by Chuck Prince, the former chairman and chief executive of Citigroup. Now Lloyd Blankfein, head of Goldman Sachs, appears to have fallen into the same trap.

Mr Blankfein’s wry claim that Goldman is “doing God’s work” by financing companies and investors is among the most memorable things a Wall Street banker has said since Mr Prince told the Financial Times that “as long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance.” Read more

John Gapper

In my FT column this week, I have written about this week’s recall of 1m folding pushchairs by Maclaren, the British company – and what we can learn from how it mishandled the event. FT.com has now introduced a comment facility on all articles so please add your comments there.

Incidentally, the most confusing thing I found in researching the piece is that the US Consumer Product Safety Commission refers to all large after-market interventions – such as Maclaren’s provision of repair kits for its pushchairs – as “recalls”, even if the product is not actually called back. Read more

John Gapper

One does not need statistics to know that a lot of media companies – music labels, film studios, newspapers etc – are facing a crisis of profitability. However, the figures do bear it out.

Some new research from Deloitte has found that, while many industries suffer from intense pricing pressures and falling return on assets, the media industry is doing worst of all. In fact, the industry now has a negative return on assets of 4.4 per cent, compared with a positive 7 per cent 40 years ago. Read more

John Gapper

The recalling of up to 1m Maclaren pushchairs – or strollers, as they are called in the US – must rank as one of the most sweeping ever. It affects not just a single model but all of the umbrella-folding strollers sold by the British company in the US since 1999.

Furthermore, the product recall, which comes after 12 reports of small children having their fingers amputated by the folding mechanism, affects the main selling point of the pushchairs since they were invented in 1965 – that they are easily foldable. Read more

John Gapper

My column in the FT this week is on the Sage of Omaha: Read more

John Gapper

For what it is worth, Carly Fiorina always struck me as having more the affect of a politician than a chief executive.

Ms Fiorina, whose troubled leadership of Hewlett-Packard ended in 2005 when she was pushed out by the board, and eventually succeeded by Mark Hurd, today revealed that she plans to run as a Republican for the California Senate seat held by Barbara Boxer. Read more