The life and career of Ronald Coase, who died last week aged 102, spanned the century in which modern management developed. That is appropriate, because Coase contributed immeasurably to our understanding of the potential and limits of the basic management unit that is the modern company.

Andrew Hill


Ivan Seidenberg struck Verizon Wireless deal…

…with Vodafone CEO Christopher Gent in 1999

Verizon Wireless is one of those awkward corporate offshoots plenty of experts think are lucky to survive, let alone flourish into their teenage years. As I’ve written, the rough rule of thumb is that between half and two-thirds of business alliances and joint ventures fail. Yet while the 55-45 Verizon-Vodafone ownership of the US wireless group created plenty of headaches for both parents as it grew, from a management point of view it always looked pretty mature. Read more >>

John Gapper

Sarah Gordon points out that Nokia and Sony have a set of problems that undermined their capacity for innovation. But they are far from alone in being victims of Apple’s success.

In fact, the list of Apple victims is long and stretches across the media and technology. Since Steve Jobs unveiled iTunes and the iPod in 2001, starting Apple’s decade long rise to  dominance in consumer technology and electronics, his company has left many of its competitors wounded. Read more >>

John Gapper

Net neutrality was always a slippery concept, which may account for the fact that the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have such different accounts of talks between Google and Verizon over the vexed subject.

For the NYT:

Such an agreement could overthrow a once-sacred tenet of Internet policy known as net neutrality, in which no form of content is favoured over another.

Contrariwise, according to the Journal:

The two companies have been negotiating with each other for months on a compromise on the thorny issue of so-called net neutrality – the principle that Internet providers such as phone or cable companies should not deliberately slow or block Internet sites or services.

The problem, and reason Google and Verizon have been talking to each other, is that no-one can exactly define net neutrality, and it would be devilishly difficult to draw up a law to enforce it, even if that were desirable (which I don’t think it is). Read more >>