September 13 Editorial

IT IS TIMES like these when I actually wish BlackBerry wasn’t a topic for discussion; very little has been positive during the past couple of years. The release of the BB10 was to have been the salvation of the struggling smartphone maker, but let’s be realistic- that was far too much to ask of any one mobile computing device. North American sales have been underwhelming and especially so in the U.S, which has only served to strengthen the critics’ notion that the company we have come to know is about to drastically change. Soon there will be a wholesale transformation, be it a competitor buyout, a sale to private inventors or the possibility of breaking off the company into various part, including a possible BBM messaging service division. All things being equal, privatization would be in the best interest of long-term success. It would immediately remove public pressure and take things behind the scenes without the constant worry about what public shareholders are saying and demanding. Make no mistake the company is still highly valuable, with a current market capitalization of about $83 billion.

THE CONSTANT BOMBARDMENT of those overplayed radio ads on stations owned by Bell and Rogers complaining about how unfair it will be if American telecoms such as Verizon communications enter the Canadian market still could be a gigantic backfire. With these media megamergers, it’s yet another example of how only a select few are controlling the broad-ranging message about what gets out to the masses. Marshall McLuhan was right –“the medium is the message”- i.e. the medium influences how the message is perceived. In some industries, this type of scenario would most assuredly be deemed a blatant conflict of interest. Do the telecom divisions pay the broadcasting divisions to air those ads? Maybe it’s on contra.

VERIZON HAS ANNOUNCED it’s not coming to Canada- for now, concentrating instead on core U.S. business after buying out Vodafone’s 45 per cent in Verizon Wireless for $130 billion. Bu the very notion of Verizon coming north of the border had immediate positive effects on consumer savings, and that’s what people care about- lower costs. Rogers, Bell and TELUS have each unveiled new data- sharing plans, which include the ability for mobile phones and tablets in the same household to share one data package. While profits from foreign- owned companies don’t remain in the country, jobs are created for Canadians and it generates millions, if not billions, in addition tax revenue for governments. How is that a bad thing?

WE’VE GOT A wide assortment of business success stories to tell you about this month, including the likes of Bochner Eye Institute; Fowler, Bauld and Mitchell architects out of Halifax, in practice since 1917; and celebrity outdoorsman Henry Waszczuk, who successfully transitioned from professional football player to high- profile TV host of several well- received international fishing programs.

Angus Gillespie