Consortium offers to buy BlackBerry for $4.7 billion

Larry Dignan, Sept 23, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I'm wondering whether this might not be the first edge of what might be a very long wedge. No, not the bit about Blackberry having financial difficulties and selling itself. We've been down that road many times. No, instead the bit about taking the company private (saving it, like Blackboard, not wiping it out like Nortel). It's incredibly difficult to develop technology and innovation when you're a publicly held company - it increases risk and defers profits in a way shareholders (who care only about immediate returns) find problematic. Disclosure requirements also make it more difficult to things in stealth mode. And perhaps most of all, publicly traded companies are almost required to be unscrupulous and mercenary; it's almost a legal requirement for them to maximize profits, even if they harm the industry or wider society as a result. Just ask Google.

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