A needlessly sardonic view on what's been happening in the technology world over the last few days, and more importantly, who's been screwing up...


Microsoft/Nokia deal: If you were Rolf Harris would you employ Max Clifford to do your PR?

It's the question on everyone's lips this week as Microsoft completes its acquisition of Nokia in a move straight out of a playbook taught by the Yahoo school of economics - if you throw enough money at a wall, some of it will stick, even if most of it is shit.

Referring back to the analogy in the headline, what's meant is this is a hugely incomprehensible move. While Microsoft came to the mobile market far too late, and their Surface tablets continue to woefully under-perform, the fact is there is far too much of a stigma attached to both companies when it comes to innovation.

While they still remain huge companies, the glory days when they could both spend hours wallowing in the swamps of success doing nothing are long gone. As Apple, Samsung et al mounted their hoverboards to fly across the bog to financial and technological success, these guys struggled to gain momentum in their efforts to catch up. To put it another way, leaning two one-legged bears next to each other isn't going to fill anyone with confidence.

  • Here Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer can be seen shaking hands with his teenaged nephew as he shows him around the office as a gift for his 15th birthday. So cute.

The fact that this deal has been allowed to go through shows that Microsoft are forever destined to wrap themselves up in the past, when no one carried their phone chargers around because they were all the same and you could borrow anyone's, and no one exported Word documents to PDF because everyone used Word... or something like that.

For Nokia, however, it's a much smarter move, though it is a consignment, or rather admission that they're no longer a pioneer in the field of mobile technology. The effect the news had on these companies underlines this notion of who benefits most - following the announcement, Nokia Corp's shares rose 38% and Microsoft's fell by 5%.

It'll be a pretty big juggling act for Microsoft going forward too - they've been landed with 32,000 extra salaries on the payroll and a business that couldn't keep up with the pace it itself set all those years back. The only hope is that Microsoft is somehow able to reignite the early successes the brand once had - and it's not impossible, though it is improbable. The amount of coverage and interest the story has gained reeks either of desperation, or a PR success. On the one hand, some are keen to point out that the share rise for Nokia shows there's still a bit of fire in its tail, on the other, it's still 95% down on its 2000 peak.

But out of everyone, it was the BBC's Business Editor Robert Peston that summed it up the best: "Is Microsoft's $7bn purchase of Nokia's mobile phone biz a reshaping of telecoms landscape," he wrote on Twitter. "Or two drunks propping themselves up at a party?"

*Yes, yes, hoverboards couldn't travel over water, logic dictates a bog would cause the same issues.

But what about these MPs and their porn addictions. Have you seen this, have you heard about this? How many MPs does it take to access a porn site at work? Bloody all of them, right! RIGHT!

  • You could quite easily not caption this and just let the fear creep in.

No doubt you've seen this. Following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Huffington Post, the House of Commons authorities have been forced to acknowledge that users of its parliamentary servers - including MPs and their staff have continuously accessed websites classed as pornographic.

"We are not going to restrict Parliamentarians' ability to carry out research," a spokeswoman said in response to the revelation, which I believe was exactly what Chris Langham said when he downloaded indecent images, albeit of children.

Oh wait, he was only playing a politician in the Thick of It. There's me confusing fiction and reality again, because in reality accessing porn in the workplace gets you fired. Wait... this is reality... and those working on the parliamentary estate, 5000 of them, have accessed pornographic sites HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of times.

The story caused an uproar amongst commenters: "Westminster. Its very stones are steeped in the blood of the innocent. It should be demolished and trees planted in its place to purify the tainted ground. From all the broken hearts and those corrupted and erased by its evil doers. The elevators open and the blood of millions pours into its halls. Just as Stanley Kubrick tried to tell us," said fuckme69.

The figures vary wildly, however, from just 397 (just!) in June 2013 to 15,707 a month later. However, those figures pale in comparison to the 114,844 incidences in November 2012.

Clearly the question is what exactly happened in November 2012 that made everyone in parliament feel so damn sexy? It would be wholly unsurprising if this whole thing is a result of a shoddy IT estate in parliament - probably the least surprising thing in this story. If we remember rightly, November 2012 was when the North Wales child abuse scandal, the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal hit. It was also the month that Phillip Schofield handed David Cameron an internet-generated list of potential suspects in a child abuse case involving a care home during a live interview.

Considering the House of Commons gave little context to these figures - which seems ridiculous considering what was going on at the time, this could all be fairly innocent and the result of simply reading the news - something Huffington Post perhaps should have considered when reporting on the story. Either way, parliament might want to pay more attention to its own monitoring system if 1) it's throwing back numbers where the majority are innocent, and 2) if no one's actually been doing anything about it if that isn't the case. Lord knows the figures will go through the roof this month thanks to Miley's antics.

But if this isn't simple research, or a system not fit for purpose, then perhaps it does finally give credence to Cameron's opt-in porn bill. If only to keep his own staff under control.

By Andy Price (Andyy_P)