Saturday, July 17, 2010

A flurry of miscellaneous posts

1) A close look at the telecom business and more the politics that goes with it Linky

Casino Royale: The Story Of Qualcomm
How Qualcomm learnt to love the Chinese, parked its tank in Intel’s backyard and its tollbooth at the centre of India’s telecom highway
In India, however, CDMA phones — the essence of Qualcomm’s business — never took off, though CDMA’s entry into the Indian market in 2000 was one of the most disruptive events in Indian telecom history. That’s because Tata Teleservices and Reliance Communications (RCOM) used CDMA technology as a Trojan horse into Indian mobile telephony, passing it off (wrongly) as a cross between a fixed and mobile service.
The first star that heralded its new fortune was the successful completion of India’s 3G auctions. Because Qualcomm’s IP is embedded in all 3G technologies, it will make a 4-5 percent cut off every 3G phone that will now be sold in India. In one shot it stands to make money out of almost every new phone sold in India versus just CDMA phones earlier.
The second omen was on March 11, at a press conference in New Delhi’s Oberoi hotel, when Kanwalinder Singh, its India head said, “Today I’m very proud to announce that Qualcomm has invested one billion US dollars into India.” Singh did not spend that money in building offices, hiring thousands of new employees or buying local businesses. He spent it to buy 20 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum in the cities of Mumbai and New Delhi and the states of Haryana and Kerala. Qualcomm was one of the six companies that won precious spectrum to offer high speed “4G” wireless broadband to Indians. The $1 billion spent in India was its single largest bet anywhere around the world. The funny thing though is that Qualcomm is betting on deploying a technology that it didn’t think much of to begin with, a commercially unproven technology called TD-LTE originally developed by the Chinese.
The result: Operators around the world, even WiMAX ones like Clearwire in the US and Yota in Russia, decided to cast their lot with TD-LTE. Big equipment backers like Nokia and Cisco backed out too. And now with India, a market large enough to tilt the fortunes of a new standard, appearing to veer towards TD-LTE, WiMAX and Intel are in a spot of bother and Qualcomm with a fairly open field. “WiMAX is a proven technology,” says Jacobs, before mischievously adding, “Proven to be a failure!”

2) Turmeric, a recipe for trouble too? Linky

In an experiment conducted on mice, scientists found that the Salmonella bacteria (that cause typhoid and other food-borne diseases) grew three times faster when exposed to curcumin. Salmonella proliferated especially in the spleen, liver and mesenteric lymph node, said the paper authored by Sandhya Marathe, PhD student, and Dipshikha Chakravortty, Associate Professor at the Centre for Infectious Diseases Research, Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology at the IISc.

“This data urges us to rethink the indiscriminate use of curcumin especially during Salmonella outbreaks,” the author cautions. Although curcumin is known for its action against several diseases including cancer and Alzheimer's, and is even sold as tablets over the counter, it “is not a panacea” and that during Salmonella infections “the consumption of curcumin should be avoided,” says the paper.

3) Another case of corporate greed and power politics that will be the woe for any strategically interested Government Linky

Mr. Megrahi, charged with the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am flight to the United States, which crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people, was transferred from jail to his native Tripoli, Libya, in August 2009. He had served a little more than eight years of a 20-year minimum jail sentence, but was released after being diagnosed with terminal cancer and told he had three months to live. Nearly one year on from his release he is still alive.
What prompted this rare admission of guilt by the U.K. government was the revelation that a major prisoner transfer agreement with Libya was signed by the former Labour government in 2007 in the very same year that BP inked a $900 million oil exploration agreement with Libya. Further, BP admitted to lobbying the erstwhile U.K. government to get the prisoner deal signed.
Outlining some of the key concerns on the U.S. side prior to U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to Washington next week, Mr. Crowley said in a press briefing that there were questions regarding the medical advice — “who gave it, how was it considered, how did the Scottish authorities reach a judgment that on humanitarian grounds, based on an understanding that Mr. Megrahi had a relatively short time to live?” Mr. Crowley added, “And clearly, some questions have been raised about the fidelity of the medical information that entered into the Scottish authorities’ thinking… On the other hand, there are questions about BP and its contacts with the U.K. government… in an earlier timeframe regarding the negotiation of a prisoner transfer agreement between the U.K. and Libya.”

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