Irony and Karma

It has been a summer of irony and karma.

Karma: 

Canada’s wireless carriers, infamous for awful customer service & premium prices, are running ads quoting dubious research saying some wireless rates on some data plans in some USA regions exceed those offered by Canada’s carriers. The CWTA  ads evoke laughter from folks who travel to the USA. The irony: The costly full page newspaper ads (run by the oligopoly, worried Verizon may be allowed to buy a license here) will be funded by — you! Expect the ad costs to be buried in your already-outrageous rates. Many Canucks say “COME ON IN, Verizon; show our coddled firms how to offer wireless Customer Care & Reasonable Rates!”

Karma AND Irony: 

Alanis Morrisette achieved fame with her 1996 hit ‘Ironic’ that English majors know contains stories that are sad, but not ironic. A new  lyric-rewrite version  finally provides real irony.

Irony:

Egypt hoped for democracy for decades & won it a year ago. Then a vocal urban minority – aided by social media- rejected the entire democratic process. Morsi may not have been speedy, or the best leader, in hindsight. But no one says he was vicious, or even that he fought back aggressively vs the vocal minority protesting in the streets, something that would have been likely in a non-democratic nation- eg by a ruler-for-life elsewhere in the Arab world. Perhaps Egyptians should have asked a Canadian, Brit or American who has been through a few democratic elections for a Great Truth that – aghast!- many politicians fail to keep their promises. Voters can make them pay -but after their term, unless their offence is especially vicious or egregious.

Karma:

Microsoft, which a decade ago was split into many divisions, announced a shift to just 4 Business Units, to improve integration & cooperation. No surprise: the too-fragmented MS had little internal cooperation & agreement on priorities & resource allocation. Who suffered? B2B or B2C customers, who were hoping for more integrated solutions & advice. An overdue epiphany for Ballmer, but give him credit for finally seeing it. There will now be an inevitable cull of well connected, bankable MS Seniors Exec’s & Tech Gurus. MS better tighten their exit-noncompete contracts or we’ll see ex-Exec’s flee to help competing product & service firms. Watch how long it takes for MS to accomplish the shift in mindset/ culture:

  • Samsung now launches dozens of new phones a year.
  • Android has new apps by the minute.
  • IBM, Oracle & Upstarts are way ahead of MS in Data Mining & CRM.
  • Apple is far ahead in integrating an extensive multimedia content library with its devices.

… so MS is changing gears at an awkward time.

Irony:

Apple rose to prominence with its counterculture guerilla 1984 imagery, and  perfected the image a decade ago with’ Justin Long vs Microsoft Establishment Guy’ ads. Nowadays, Apple Corp. calmly counts the daily press revelations of tax dodging (paying 0.045% of Earning isn tax!), skinny pay to artists & Foxconn labourers, getting caught colluding to raise prices on e-books….

Karma?

AntiEstablishment Apple has BECOME the Establishment; one wonders how long until the fruity icon becomes a visible badge of shame, rather than pride. Aesthetically gorgeous? Yes. Designed in California? Yes. But a brand that seems to be emulating a circa 1900 Robber Baron firm –> ruthless pursuit of profit maximization.

SL