Reaching a Settlement: The Chinese Apple Case

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by todaysbu on 02-07-2012

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In 1998 a company called Proview began work on its new product called the “iPAD” or internet Personal Access Device. The early, all in one personal computer was released in the same year as internationally renowned financial giant Apple’s iMac. This was originally seen as being nothing more than a slightly amusing if not amusingly suspicious coincidence, until the release of Apple’s iPAD range and its import and subsequent release in China. At this point things became a little more than “awkward” and a court case ensued.

It seems that Proview bought rights to the iPAD title in 2000, although Apple have insisted that they purchased the worldwide rights to the same name in 2009. In fact Proview’s Taiwanese affiliate company sold the global rights to Apple, but despite this Proview have claimed that their affiliates had no right to sell the Chinese rights to Apple and therefore they were not legal.

This legal dispute caused Apple products been removed from a variety shops across different parts of China, which has quickly become one of the world’s biggest markets for Apple products. Proview even tried to have sales of the iPAD completely banned in Shanghai but this request was denied by the court.

The long coming legal debate has finally reached a head in court and after being asked by a Guangdong court to come to some form of agreement a settlement was reached. In the settlement Apple has paid $60 Million in order to continue selling its products unhindered in China.

It has been suggested by a lawyer in a recent interview that both Apple and Proview are pleased with the result of the case. But despite this statement analysts have said that it is likely Apple only agreed to settle the dispute, in order to prevent any further disruption to the sales of their products within one of their biggest markets.

Proview had previously lodged a different case against Apple although this was over US usage and marketing. Proview had claimed that Apple deceived it into selling the rights to the name by setting up an alternatively named company entitled IP Application Development Ltd or IPADL in the UK. Despite a lengthy process this case was thrown out of court.

With a settlement now having been reached over use of the name in China, it is thought that Proview will not take any further action against the international I.T. giant.


UK Banks Interest Rates Scandal

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by todaysbu on 29-06-2012

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“How do we put some of the banker blame game behind us?” Bob Diamond, head of Barclays bank asked his select committee last year; but after his bank has recently been found guilty of lying about interest rates for four years, he may be eating his words. The bank had lied up to as recently as 2009 about the interest rate it had to pay to borrow money, as a result of instruction from Barclay’s senior management.

Unsurprisingly, Mr Diamond has since apologised and agreed to lose his annual bonus as calls came for him to lose his job. Now other banks are under the spotlight for doing exactly the same thing.

Interest Manipulation

Inside banks such as Barclays there are the ‘gambling’ side called ‘investment banking’ and the more mundane advisory and retail sides; between them is supposed to be a sacrosanct Chinese ‘wall’, but the rate setting scandal appears to have destroyed the very foundations of the wall. The repercussions of this could be huge; the interbank lending rates (which Barclays have conceded they tried to manipulate) are also used to set mortgage rates for millions of people around the world. The banks traders reached across the corridor to their colleagues who set these rates, and illegally persuaded them to push them up or down in the bank’s favour. The American watchdog CFTC said that Barclay’s top bosses (and not just lowly traders) were also involved in market manipulation.

At the heart of the scandal is LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate), this interest rate is agreed by a select number of key banks every day; despite its localised name it’s a global benchmark for contracts worth hundreds of trillions of pounds, so even the smallest deviations can cost or save a bank billions.

Other Banks Involved

Barclay’s would have paid a much bigger fine, but for the fact that other banks are being investigated Barclays were the first to claim ‘leniency’. It would seem their approach to this discovery and their team of criminal defence solicitors have managed to reduce the fine for the time being, but only time will tell if they will see further penalisation. This suggests that this is just the tip of the iceberg and there are plenty of banks including some very big British banks that are awaiting the wrath of the regulator and the judgement of the public. It has come to light that a handful of RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) traders have been dismissed for their involvement in fixing interbank rates.

It’s extremely likely that thus latest scandal involving the banks will further damage an industry whose reputation already ranks below car clampers and tax inspectors.

Airlines Struggling to Generate Profit

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by todaysbu on 21-06-2012

Major airlines are struggling to generate profit due to increasing competition and a rise in fuel bills. Low cost airlines have been earning revenue from the start by pushing sales on the smallest of souvenirs and now many well established names are being forced to do the same. Encouraging the trade of lunch deals, to teddy bears; baggage charges to on board competitions are just a few services that are being put into place.

Passengers are set to notice a rise in costs as discussions take place regarding small ways in which to earn more profit to cover the cost of running the airlines. Telecommunications for example has been notified as a prime source to generate money and therefore there is an increase in expectancy for wireless and internet-related services to be charged on board.

Companies will be looking into common requirements for passengers and the benefits they will retain if a charge is put onto these presently free customs. These changes are likely to prove extremely difficult for traditional airlines however with rivals having already established this money making scheme whilst offering no frills flights.

Budget airlines have become increasingly popular and easier to obtain through travel compare sites. Airlines who offer luxury and better travel experiences clearly target a specific market area and the question is can they afford to reduce certain aspects of a luxury service without losing valuable customers?

Social Media Sites; Altering the World Of Business

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by todaysbu on 15-06-2012

The business “world” is undoubtedly one which is eternally subject to change and evolution. Regardless of the purpose and nature of your of business, the chances that it cannot be improved or further evolved with the use of social networking or social media sites are incredibly low.

The examples of the ways in which “SM” sites can help improve the reach of businesses are as innumerable as they are varied, but this post will attempt to briefly list, and explain some examples of the basic ways in which “socials” can assist and improve different business models and styles.

One of the first and most well known of ways in which “Socials” can assist a business to expand and grow is by reaching a large cross section of potential customers or clients. Regardless of if their selling t-shirts or home insurance, by networking and advertising through the creation of a number of social media profiles any business will expand their potential customer base.

Optimising the use of a social profile is first and foremost dependant on how a business sets its profile up. It needs to be aimed towards and be interesting to, a person who is a prime example of their target market. If their profile reads like the personal profile of a companies managing director or CEO then the chances are they will only draw the attention and interest of other businesses or people who are in the same market. There is a specific language when it comes to creating a genuine business social profile, which will actually interest potential customers from their target market. In fact the language is quite simple to learn, it just takes a bit a reading and research on some already successful social profiles.

By using the different “social’s” abilities to locate the right people based on their interests and lifestyles, it is becoming increasingly easy for companies and businesses to sort the people who are worth aiming towards, from those who are not part of their target market.

One of the easiest ways to efficiently create a group of people who are within a particular target market is by looking at other similar businesses existing profiles. If a business’s main focus is on selling bespoke furniture and their biggest competitor’s social network profile on (for example) Face Book has two hundred likes, the chances are at least some of those people will be interested in the smaller companies site too, and that at least some of those people will “like” it. The more difficult aspects of using social media and networking sites come from actually gaining conversions and sales from your efforts.

Most social sites which are widely used are now very much aware that business’s can heavily benefit from using their sites and have put certain rules and regulations in place to prevent heavy marketing which does not benefit them. Face book for example can remove or punish a business’s profile at will if their marketing strategies seem to be against their terms and conditions, but they do offer paid advertising in the side bar (which is how they make their money). This can also be a highly effective marketing campaign if you can afford it, simply because the adverts are data influenced and will be aimed towards people with similar interests to the focus of the advert. The easiest way to continuously utilise social media sites for networking and marketing  is to read their terms and conditions, and work your campaigns around what is allowed and the loopholes in what isn’t.

Some of the most effective campaigns for business on social sites have come from competitions and “like” based giveaways. But when experimenting with campaigns like this it’s always beneficial to keep an eye on the terms and conditions in case you’ve broken them and are about to be penalised.

Whatever the purpose and focus of a business is they will certainly be able to increase their reach, and reinforce their reputation through the right use of social media and network sites such as Twitter, Face book and RSS. All it takes is the right research, a little time and some creative ingenuity.


Picture sourced from the very talented, Flickr: Luke Mahan

Are Recruitment Agencies Sales Machines?

Filed Under (Recruitment) by todaysbu on 14-12-2011

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Anybody who has a business will no doubt at some point or another been contacted by a recruitment agency.  These selling machines are fierce predators and will not give up until they get what they want.  Are they more trouble than they are worth or can they add real value to your recruitment process?

Let us put it into perspective recruitment agencies get all of the best candidates for new roles because they actively go out and seek these candidates.  Whilst the recruitment agencies are calling businesses looking for new job roles they are also searching the job world for fresh candidates to fill them.

The chances are that if you have a position available a recruitment agency will have somebody who can fill it quite well.  The problem most of us have is the fact that the these guys contact us out of the blue chasing new job roles and they will not give up until you at least give them your email address and agree to a call back at a later date.

If they are lucky enough to get hold of you when there is a position available then this is partially OK because at least you don’t have to come up with a million excuses as to why you don’t need their services right now.  However, this can open up a new problem.

This is the major problem of the finder’s fee.  As with everything in life this is negotiable and will usually start out at something really high.  Ignore the first second and third offer as they are after your job so don’t give in as if you don’t use this agency there will be a hundred more willing to accept your offer.  Play the game well and settle somewhere in the region of the ten percent mark as this is probably a fair commission for both parties.

Another more sensible option is to opt for a recruitment company that offers fixed fee recruitment.  This is a much better option as you will know exactly what you will pay for you new employee regardless of what salary you end up paying them.  There are lots of flat fee recruitment agencies out there but if the company who has called you isn’t one them ask them if they would consider a fixed fee deal.

If they are a reputable agency they will come to an arrangement with you, as they will be fully aware of these other agencies and will know that if they dont offer you a fixed fee deal then it would make more sense for you to use somebody else.

The long and short of it is that recruitment agencies do employ really good sales staff that will call you, and call you until you give in.  They will find you the best employees because they will want your repeat business.  Don’t be afraid to use them just play the game well.