Microsoft’s launch of the Surface, its belated rival to Apple’s iPad, brought an interesting declaration from Steve Ballmer, its chief executive, as reported by the FT:
“We believe that any intersection between human and machine can be made better when all aspects of the experience – hardware and software – are working together,” said Mr Ballmer.
I can’t help thinking that Jesse Boot and Charles R Walgreen Senior were destined to meet eventually. With Tuesday’s deal between the UK’s Alliance Boots and Walgreens of the US, the paths of the two pharmacy chains, each founded more than 100 years ago, finally cross. Boot – son of the original founder John – was said to have a “talent for business”; Walgreen, though he built his business more slowly initially, “instituted a level of service and personal attention unequalled by virtually any other pharmacy in Chicago”, according to the company history.
If Ian Fleming had invented a villain modelled on “Sir” Allen Stanford, even James Bond fans would have criticised him for going too far. The Antigua-based Texan ploughed the proceeds of his fraudulent investment schemes into an unlikely passion for cricket, koi carp and tailored suits. Last week, he was sentenced to 110 years in prison. I only regret the judge didn’t add a year to the jail-term: superstitious cricketers believe a score of 111 attracts bad luck.