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Friday, 12 April 2013

Deutsche Telekom Bends to Pressure from MetroPCS Shareholders

T-Mobile's parent company, pressured by MetroPCS shareholders scheduled to vote April 12, has offered a "best and final offer."

Deutsche Telekom has made a concession to MetroPCS shareholders, ahead of their April 12 vote on whether to agree on a merger with Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile USA brand.
The shareholders are now all that stands in the way of a finalized deal. The merger between what is currently the nation's fourth- and fifth-largest carriers has alreadyreceived the approval of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Department of Justice and the Committee on Foreign Investment.
MetroPCS' largest shareholders, however, have voiced their disapproval of the deal. John Paulson, head of hedge fund Paulson and Co., has said that while the deal has its merits, its terms disproportionately benefit Deutsche Telekom.
In a Feb. 28 letter to members of MetroPCS' board of directors and the Deutsche Telekom supervisory board, Paulson expressed his displeasure that the deal would give the larger carrier a 74 percent share of the new company, to MetroPCS' 26 percent share, despite the latter's "contributing 42 percent to the pro forma company's value."

Paulson asked that the proposed interest rate be lowered from 7 percent to 4.2 percent and that the new company's debt be reduced from $15 billion to $6.6 billion.

In an April 11 statement, Deutsche Telekom said it was submitting its "best and final" offer—a lowering of the interest rate by 50 basis points and a lowering of the debt to $11.2 billion.
It also extended the "lock-up period," during which Deutsche Telekom would be prohibited from publically selling shares of the new company, from six months to 18 months, following the close of the deal.
"This improved offer underlines Deutsche Telekom's commitment to establishing a new, strong competitor in the U.S. mobile communications market that will offer customers a greater selection of attractively priced products and services on a best-in-class wireless network," the German carrier said in its statement.
It added that the new company will be able to compete more aggressively than the two companies had separately and that the new company is expected to "generate cost synergies of approximately [$6 billion to $7 billion]."
Paulson wasn't alone in objecting to the deal's terms. Hedge fund P. Schoenfeld Asset Management filed a proxy statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, urging stockholders to vote against it, and Merger Fund and GS Master Trust filed a suit against MetroPCS executives, accusing them of "acting recklessly" and in "disregard to their duties."
More than changing the terms of the deal on a gut fear that as-is it might not pass, Deutsche Telekom likely did it on good knowledge.
Bloomberg reported April 10 that MetroPCS shareholders were sending in their proxy votes in advance of the April 12 deadline, and the party in charge of counting the votes is Deutsche Telekom.
"Deutsche Telekom can monitor the results in real time, giving it an early warning if the measure is going to fail," said the report. "The German carrier is considering an option to delay the final tally if victory appears unattainable, providing a chance to improve its bid, people familiar with the matter said."
Roy Behren, who manages shareholder Merger Fund, told Bloomberg, "I don't know if I'd call it a game of chicken, but as often happens with a proxy fight, you see people wait until the last minute."
T-Mobile CEO John Legere, speaking at a T-Mobile event March 26, told reporters that the deal would definitely be approved, "despite greedy hedge funds trying to take a double dip."

iPhone App for Vision Tests Gains FDA Approval

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized use of an iPhone app to allow retinal disease patients to monitor their vision between visits to the doctor.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved use of the MyVisionTrack iPhone app from Vital Art and Science (VAS), an ophthalmic medical device company, to allow patients to monitor their vision in between visits to the doctor.
MyVisionTrack was developed for elderly patients with serious retinal diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. It incorporates a proprietary shape discrimination hyperacuity (SDH) test by the Retina Foundation of the Southwest, which developed an eye exam that's suitable for a PC or smartphone and is unaffected by factors such as user distance, Mike Bartlett, president of VAS, told eWEEK in an email.
The test consists of three circles, one of which is distorted, Bartlett said. The app instructs patients to "touch the circle that is different," he explained. "As they get it right, the distortion gets smaller; when they miss, the distortion gets bigger," he said.
Then the test moves to the user's threshold until the distorted circle is no longer visible. An algorithm determines a patient's vision threshold using statistics generated by the app.

Microsoft Readying Surface Mini With 7-Inch Screen: Report

Microsoft hopes to capitalize on the mini tablet craze amid crashing PC sales and a dim outlook for the company's Windows 8 operating system.

Microsoft is looking to cash in on the booming market for small tablets by revamping its Surface tablet portfolio. Currently, the Surface product family includes just basic two models: the ARM processor-based Surface RT and the Intel i5-powered Surface Pro.
According to The Wall Street Journal, a "mini" version of the Surface is in the works. "The software giant is developing a new lineup of its Surface tablets, including a 7-inch version expected to go into mass production later this year, said people familiar with the company's plans,"reported the news outfit.
For Microsoft, the device can't arrive too soon.
On April 10, market research firm IDC announced that during the first quarter of 2013, the PC market suffered a huge decline in shipments. In total, PC vendors shipped 76.3 million units in 1Q13, a 14 percent drop compared with the same period a year ago.

Sprint Pushing Android Update to Samsung Galaxy Victory

The Samsung Galaxy Victory, Virgin Mobile's first LTE-enabled smartphone, is being updated to Android 4.1.2.

Sprint has begun rolling out an Android update to users of the Samsung Galaxy Victory—the first Long Term Evolution (LTE) enabled phone on the Virgin Mobile network.
Virgin Mobile began selling the Victory Feb. 25, with Android 4.1, a flavor of "Jelly Bean," on board. Sprint's April 11 news of an update is to Android 4.1.2—a subtle boost up, but one that nonetheless brings with it:
—Swype, a method of typing that lets a user drag her finger or a stylus around in one single gesture, instead of lifting and tapping at letters or numbers;
—notifications now display the full text of incoming SMS messages, and recipients of MMS messages can see the whole photo in the notification;

Sara Bharwana: Meet With Atif Aslam’s Gorgeous Wife

Oh girls, are you are really heart broken today, same like me? Finally, she is the luckiest girl who remained successful to win the heart of the guy who lives in millions of hearts of girls here in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

Oh girls, are you are really heart broken today, same like me? Finally, she is the luckiest girl who remained successful to win the heart of the guy who lives in millions of hearts of girls here in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

Yes, you are thinking right, I am talking about the gorgeous Sara Bharwana who is now officially bride of Asia’s biggest music star Atif Aslam. Atif Aslam and Sara Bharwana mehendi ceremony was held on 26th of March 2013. Atif and Sara have known each other over seven years.

Atif Aslam wrote on his Facebook account to 4.8 million fans, “Dear Aadeez, U guys have always been a part of my family and have stood by me through my incredible highs and not so incredible lows. I am delighted to let all of you know that…… Har insan ka zindagi main aik na aik din WIYAAAH hona hota hayyy ,,, and my Big day has finally arrived with your prayers.”

He continued, “ALLAH has endowed me with a wonderful life partner. I would request all of you to continue praying for us as you have always being doing in the past for me. Mehndi , barat n walima pictures are on their way.”

Their Valima reception will be held on March 29, 2013 at Royal Palm club, Lahore on Friday. The gorgeous bride Sara is looking beautiful and glamorous in the recent mehndi photos. She is educated from Lahore’s Kinnaird College for Women. Ms Sara love teaching as profession.

She was elected president of sports club of the college and was also nominated as the most beautiful girl of college. So, it can be said that “Tera Hone Laga Hun” singer choosed really a beautiful girl to wed.  

Great companies benchmark differently

In a recent post in this benchmarking series, I discussed the issues I see with defining benchmarking peer groups based on industry. That led me to share the similarities I see among great companies when they benchmark.

Benchmarking roles

In our benchmarking projects, there are primarily two roles. The sponsors are the organizations wanting to learn how to improve business processes, and the partners are the organizations selected for their innovative practices. Partners are the organizations sharing their practices with the sponsoring organizations. They are selected because they perform well in the focus area for the benchmarking project.
There are organizations that are regularly recognized as partners in numerous benchmarking projects, as well. They have proven, stellar performance in many process areas, and, theoretically, when they participate in a benchmarking project, they aren’t gaining a lot. They are good after all. They share what they do and the other organizations learn how to improve.
But, when I ask those organizations what they get out of a benchmarking project, they consistently respond in a similar fashion.

What I’ve noticed about the really good companies

These are just a few of the things I’ve noticed about how really good organizations approach benchmarking.
  • They never think we are good enough and never stop learning. They always want to improve, and they are relentless about it.Improve
  • They feel we can learn something from anybody, and seldom focus on industry peers. They’ve gotten past that hang-up and understand they have to think about things differently than their industry peers. They are always trying to shed those industry filters that influence the way industry peers think and operate.
  • They don’t want to be as good as their industry peers, they want to eclipse them. They are looking for breakthrough performance, not incremental increases, and they see industry designation as just a matter of chance. They have industry peers due to the fact they are in a similar market serving similar customers or providing similar products and services. That is the sum of it; they don’t see this industry peer filter. Industry peers are just like any other organization. If they can learn from industry peers, great, but that criteria isn’t anywhere near the top of their priority list.
  • They have a very sound way of taking the things they learn from benchmarking and integrating them into their organization. They realize organizations aren’t plug-n-play, so they look for the atomic-level factors that drive performance, and they know how to get them in the hands of the right person. Their process of evaluating the appropriateness of implementing benchmarking findings allows them to focus. They can’t implement everything, and they can effectively determine what to implement and what they need to ignore.
These things seem to be embedded in their DNA, they are interesting, and they are very open in sharing. When they share, they know information flows back to them tenfold. Bottom line; everyone likes working with them.
Do you work there?

How Shipping Software Teaches You to Make Tough Choices

Several years ago, I had a job that seemed like heaven. We were a new team building a new product. We were using new technology: C# 2.0 (yes, people were once excited about major releases of C#). We were using new techniques, like scrum and test-driven development. It was greenfield development in every possible sense, except for the one where our desks would actually be situated in a green field.
I lived in this environment for a few years. I learned a lot about software development, technical leadership, and how to build big systems. Ultimately, though, I think I wasted those years. Why?  We never shipped.
Something magical happens when you ship software: your decisions suddenly have consequences. You suddenly must consider trade-offs. Hopefully, people suddenly care. If they don't, you suddenly must correct that.
What's the big deal about decisions and consequences? Any fool with a text editor can write code, but only an amazing few can code and make good choices around trade-offs. That's the most valuable skill a developer can possess: the ability to make hard decisions. (That's actually a great way to make career choices: opt for the place that'll let you make harder decisions.) Like riding a bike or juggling chainsaws, the only way to get good at making hard decisions is by doing it a lot.  Each time you make one of these decisions, gather data and iterate accordingly.
When I was working on that project that never shipped, I felt like I was making hard decisions. We had big meetings and loud arguments about things that seemed important at the time. You can bet your sweet bippy that we came to conclusions on all sorts of things. However, since we never shipped, we never got any data about any of the choices we made around things like architecture, code coverage, implementation decisions, featureset, and user interface. Without that data, we had no way of knowing if we had chosen correctly. Did we get better at making hard decisions?  Without users, how could you tell?
There was an easy solution to the problem I faced at that job: ship the dang thing. That decision wasn't up to me, so I should've done the next best thing: join a different team, one that shipped a ton of code. Even if the codebase is worse and the product is less interesting, find a role where you ship; it's the only way you get better.

An Overview of JAX-RS 2

JAX-RS 2 is one of the most significant parts of the upcoming Java EE 7 release. In a brief article, consultant, German author and celebrated Java EE advocate Adam Bien does a great job of overviewing the major changes in JAX-RS 2. He talks about asynchronous processing, EJB/CDI integration, filters/interceptors, the configuration API, the client API and more.
If the article whets your appetite to learn more about JAX-RS 2, you could download the actualproposed final draft and give it a read. For those unaware, JAX-RS 2 recently passed its public review ballot. At just above 90 pages, the actual JAX-RS 2 specification document is not that bad of a read.