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Tim Worstall

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Tim Worstall is an Englishman who has failed at many things. Thus his turn to writing, the last refuge of many who could make a living no other way. He is, as an example of his business and financial perspicacity, the head of the international scandium oligopoly: the only commodity which has not risen in price in the past decade.

As-a-service upstarts will KILL OFF THE CORPORATES?

Amazingly, economists have figured out a few things...even things that can help in this brave new digital world. One of these is the "marketplaces vs firm" debate. So I was surprised to find a fascinating little piece in TechCrunch singing the praises of all those "online freelance work marketplace" sites. You know the sort of …
Tim Worstall, 26 Nov 2014

It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future

IBM has coughed up $1.5bn to get Global Foundries to take its chip manufacturing arm off its hands as reported here at El Reg. There are a number of economic implications to all of this, perhaps the most important of which is why the eco-lunatic fantasy that we could reverse globalisation is simply nonsense (of course, whether …
Tim Worstall, 22 Oct 2014

Yahoo!... Our Alibaba stake's worth BILLIONS. Oh – our shares are in the toilet

So here's the little financial markets puzzler of the moment. Alibaba has launched that IPO, the stock has soared and Yahoo! has made a bundle. Jerry Yang's original investment of $1bn now looks like one of the great investment deals of all time. However, as the Alibaba stock price soared (from the $68 of the placing to some $99 …
Tim Worstall, 24 Sep 2014

HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs

The recent news of layoffs from computing giants provides proof, once again, of an old economic saw. It is not actually big businesses that create jobs, it's the small and new ones. Our problem is that we've a political class (yes, all of it) that doesn't really quite get this. They would like there to be lots of jobs, of course …
Tim Worstall, 23 Jul 2014
money_yen_dollar_pound

EU probe into Apple's taxes: It's NOT to do with double-Dutch-Irish anything sandwiches

As already reported here at El Reg, Apple is being investigated by the EU over its tax “deal” in Ireland. The interesting part of the whole story is that it has pretty much nothing at all to do with all of the things that people normally complain about concerning Apple's taxes. It isn't, for example, about the way that the …
Tim Worstall, 12 Jun 2014
Stock ticker board

No, we're not in an IT 'stockapoclyse' – boom (and bust) is exactly what tech world needs

Is this the stockapoclyse, as tech shares crater into the ground and no more money gets invested into the sector? Or is that 20 per cent fall in the largest internet-based companies – Netflix, Flicker and Twitter – that $275bn drop in collective value over the last month, just an overdue correction to recent price run ups? Well …
Tim Worstall, 09 Apr 2014
Communist hammer and sickle

Big tech firms holding wages down? Marx was right all along, I tell ya!

We should have more Marxist analysis of the tech business. So here is some, looking at the manner in which the major firms of Silicon Valley are being accused of perpetrating monopoly capitalism upon the rest of us. The full story in all its tedious detail is over at Pando Daily*, but the basic allegation (and yes, it is all …
Tim Worstall, 29 Jan 2014
closed_sign shut down under collapsed liquidation

Resellers, distributors - your countdown to oblivion starts NOW

Whither the channel when it's all in the cloud? Whence the box-shifter when no one actually buys PCs any more? The answer is, of course, that once a particular business model has no more business then that business model ends. It is, however, possible to look at this in rather more sophisticated terms. The most obvious, since …
Tim Worstall, 17 Dec 2013

A private Dell makes sense. Doesn't mean it'll work, though

So now that Dell the man has spaffed $24bn (with a little help from his friends) on buying back Dell the company, what is Michael D actually going to do with it? And why has he had to take it private in order to do it? What is there that you cannot do on a public stock exchange that you can do as a private company? The first …
Tim Worstall, 05 Dec 2013

How much should an ethical phone cost? An extra penny? Or $4bn

As the Dodd Frank regulations about conflict minerals approach the date at which people actually have to do something about them, it's worth seeing if they're really the monstrously ghastly clusterfuck I've been predicting they will be. Much to my surprise they're not: they're worse. Previous El Reg near-annual installments of …
Tim Worstall, 25 Nov 2013
grab_that_cash

Will small biz get a bite of mega UK.gov IT pie? Yes: if it can pass the bulls**t sniff test

Does the UK government have a chance of being able to push 25 per cent of IT spend onto SMEs as it has promised? The correct answer is perhaps it does, but it doesn't actually matter either way. However, the reason why it doesn't matter is what's interesting to the economists among us. The exact and detailed reasons as to why …
Tim Worstall, 06 Nov 2013
Funnel of cash. Credit: via SXC – http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Leonardini

Tech giants' offshore cash-stashing is only ever a delaying tactic

Do companies have a duty to their shareholders to dodge as much tax as possible? Are Google, Apple and Facebook simply following the law as they ought to by shovelling everything through Ireland and Bermuda? Unsurprisingly, it depends on which law you think they're supposed to follow, for the law does, in fact, vary across …
Tim Worstall, 11 Jun 2013
Parts for the Liberator 3D printed pistol

You want to put 3D gun designs on the web? You'll need a 2D printer

Much fun has been had over the Liberator, the 3D printed plastic gun. Our editor - a man who knows about such things - here at El Reg has pronounced it a piece of crap. Innumerable people have declared that it's either the end of civilisation as we know it or proof perfect that the Commie statists will never win. My own …
Tim Worstall, 14 May 2013
Adobe's Creative Cloud replaces Creative Suite

Adobe price hike: Your money or your files, frappuccino sippers

So, Adobe: can it justify shifting its Creative Suite to a contentious new licensing model? Some say it is making life more difficult and expensive for those users who'd prefer to simply purchase the software outright, while others say it's just a decent business trying to do right by everybody. I refer, of course, to the …
Tim Worstall, 13 May 2013
Dell chairman and CEO, Michael Dell

Will Michael Dell become the Marlboro man of the PC age?

The mooted Dell takeover, the one to take it private again, is now happening. The big question is why? Why come off the public markets to operate as a private company again? The obvious and logical answer here being that the people buying the company think they can make more money this way than by not doing it. Why do they think …
Tim Worstall, 06 Feb 2013
distribution_channel

Why mergers LOSE money, but are GOOD for the economy

So the distribution sector has had yet another round of consolidation. Mergers, takeovers - these are the things that make an M&A banker's heart* thumpety-thump with joy. The big question, though, is whether this actually does any good for the shareholders of the various companies - you know, the people who actually own them? …
Tim Worstall, 11 Jan 2013

Feeling poor? WHO took all your money? NOT capitalist bastards?

Lies, damned lies and statistics: we all know the saying, but you'd be surprised just how many of these “facts” manage to enter the national consciousness, emerging as Guardian headlines and stories on Radio 4's Today. Allow me to tiptoe through the process as to how this happens. Let's start with this lovely little chart: A …
Tim Worstall, 27 Dec 2012
Garbage dump (pic from US National archive)

Forget value-added broker jokes: Could YOU shift nuclear plant scrap?

Why do brokers exist? All we ever do is just sit around and talk to people, so what value do we add to the economy? Or what value do “asset managers” like the late Howard Strowman add? And will the existence of such be a permanent feature of the tech distribution landscape? Regular readers will know that I spent the 1990s …
Tim Worstall, 23 Dec 2012
euros_channel_money

How to keep your money safe if the euro implodes

This is your handy guide to surviving the coming disintegration of the euro. Umm, OK, the coming possible, maybe even likely, disintegration of the euro. The current betting from the major banks is that there's a 50 to 75 per cent chance that Greece will leave before the year end. There's at least one Nobel Laureate who thinks …
Tim Worstall, 25 May 2012
euros_channel_money

Why on Earth is Microsoft moving to Euro pricing now?

I find it quite amusing that a company would decide to have uniform pricing right across a continent in a currency that looks like it might not survive the phasing in period of the new pricing regime. But that's what Microsoft seems to be doing. As El Reg has pointed out, pricing is now to be standardised on the euro price list …
Tim Worstall, 23 May 2012
channel_teaser_money_top

IT distributors: The only people adding value to the world economy

Why distributors? More specifically, why electronics distributors? Why have these intermediaries in the markets at all? Yes, obviously, someone somewhere has to have pieces of kit on a shelf somewhere for when a customer wants to make an order. Someone has to crate it up and ship it off too: but why do we still have distributors …
Tim Worstall, 22 May 2012
channel

Disk drive crisis: Economists are terrible weathermen

Hang on a minute. This globalisation thing, isn't it supposed to have stopped nonsense like this? You know, it rains a bit and so we all run out of something? When we all lived on what could be grown or made within 5 miles a bit of flooding understandably led to shortages, but now we've the whole world to supply us why does …
Tim Worstall, 24 Oct 2011
Container Vessel at Sea

The amazing shipping container: How it changed the world

Keith Tantlinger has just died. He's someone you almost certainly haven't heard of and someone who – along with Malcolm McLean (no, not McLaren) – changed our world to the extent that it would have been almost unrecognisable to our forefathers. They also – if you want to squint at it – made the European Union redundant six …
Tim Worstall, 19 Sep 2011
For sale: £50m in used notes

Wikileaks loses briefly-open Icelandic payment channel

So WikiLeaks and Julian Assange™ have been frustrated again: on the money front that is. They're back to cash, Bitcoin and bank transfers as a method of receiving donations. There had been a hope last week that DataCell would be able to start processing donations, for it had made an agreement with the Icelandic bank Valitor to …
Tim Worstall, 11 Jul 2011
fingers pointing at man

Cloud storage survey FAIL: May have to, er, back up

The self-seeking company-commissioned survey is anathema to all right-thinking people. This is especially so when journos simply repeat its assertions without examining it for bias and agenda. However, when the research conducted by said company actually undermines the very case for the service that the company is trying to sell …
Tim Worstall, 28 Jun 2011
Withings WiFi Scales

You have to have standards – or do you?

Given that so much of the time and effort expended by you technical and computing types revolves around standards, just how important are they in the larger sense? And if they are important, who ought to be devising them, and should they be voluntary or imposed? This might sound a tad odd in this modern age, for the default …
Tim Worstall, 27 Jun 2011
chart

Kogan turns consumers into working capital

When everyone is selling the same things, made in the same Chinese factories, how can a retailer manage to gain an edge? That's the problem that Kogan Technologies had: and its solution is, to be fair, pretty cute. Kogan is already Australia's largest online retailer of consumer electronics, so it was obviously doing something …
Tim Worstall, 22 Feb 2011

Cobol cabal will take over THE WORLD Australia

The old advice was “Go west, young man”... but it seems the new one should be “Learn Cobol, youngster”. That at least is the implication of a report from Australia on the languages and environments that are heavily used. The Sydney-based Object Consulting has released a paper detailing those languages which will no longer be …
Tim Worstall, 20 Feb 2011
channel

Can Oz compete in the outsourcing market?

Could Australia become one of the next outsourcing hotspots? The country certainly has part of what people are looking for: a well-educated English-speaking (well, up to a point) workforce, technologically adept and almost certainly with more knowledge of other English-speaking cultures than any of the others have of that in Oz …
Tim Worstall, 14 Feb 2011
pyramidinvestnorthafrica

North Africa will need more revolution before it attracts IT tourists

Woo Hoo! Tens of millions of well-educated, young and above all, cheap workers for the capitalists among us to go and exploit! Quick, quick, get out the airline schedule and book that seat to Tunis, or Cairo or – coming soon no doubt – Algiers. Money money money, it's a capitalist world! pyramidinvestnorthafrica Hmm, what, …
Tim Worstall, 07 Feb 2011
DIY white iPhone 4

Grey marketing is great - if you're the importer...

Let's face it: those of us who are in the distribution channel (and that means the distribution channel for absolutely anything, not just tech goods) are in a bit of a bind when we start to discuss grey or parallel imports. For we're absolutely outraged at the idea that anyone might try to bring in cheaper versions from other …
Tim Worstall, 13 Dec 2010
George Osborne looking like he means it

Honest startups versus City bastards - the CGT conundrum

Why the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, had to propose altering capital gains tax (CGT) back in the autumn is pretty simple to explain. There was a certain amount of vociferous shouting (led by the Guardianistas, of course) that the sight of private equity barons paying less tax than their cleaners was a moral …
Tim Worstall, 28 Jan 2008

Opinion

Love

Chris Mellor

Tandberg and Sphere3D deals offer hope after 18 bad ones
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Features

No, silly... he was the fall guy for years of Finnish folly
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Frodo and the Ring
Microsoft's strategy is to make Store apps popular. Good luck with that