Week in review: Jobs says adios, HP flim-flam, Facebook isn't evil

Week in review logo

August used to be the quiet season for journalists, where nothing of any great importance happened and only daft stories appeared on the scene making it the traditional 'silly season'. Someone forgot to tell Silicon Valley though, as this has been one of the most eventful Augusts that we can remember.

I'm a rocket man!

The big news of the week is that Steve Jobs is stepping down as CEO of Apple - the company he co-founded and helped save from oblivion.

Apart from the obvious ponderings on the challenges facing his successor, former Apple COO Tim Cook, we've been thinking over the coverage of Jobs' resignation by other media outlets.

Given Jobs' well-known health problems, many stories have assumed he is stepping down due to a worsening in his condition and therefore taken on almost obituary-like headlines and tones .We think it's morbidly unnecessary and lacking in compassion, consideration and sympathy which everyone deserves, whether you like them or not.

Commence waffling

Last week's big news was HP's announcement that it was shutting down its webOS hardware division and looking to spin off or sell its personal computer business, the Personal Systems Group. Paul Hunter, the head of HP's UK Personal Systems Group, issued a rather belated statement to the press almost a week later. Here are some excerpts with our own emphasis added.

"Let me be absolutely clear in saying that at no stage has HP said it is quitting the PC business. Three options are being investigated, and whether the company is spun off, sold or kept in the HP portfolio, the team in the UK remains committed to creating and supporting great products and services...

...Obviously the announcement has raised a number of questions outside those mentioned above. We are still working through some of these, but I wanted to try and address as many as I could."

I feel rather sorry for Mr. Hunter, who is a rather nice chap, since his hands must be tied by his American overlords. '...raised a number of questions' must be one of the understatements of the year and surely answers need to be forthcoming pretty sharpish when HP's share price is now almost 32 per cent lower compared to a month ago.

Especially when not even Samsung, which barely has a desktop PC business, doesn't want to buy you.

There will be no whitewash in Whitehall

In the wake of the recent riots that blighted London and other major cities which were organised in part using social networks and Blackberry Messenger, the Coalition Government considered passing laws to enable it to shut down social networks in emergencies. The plans were rightly condemned by civil liberties groups over how such powers could be abused.

Thankfully, after meeting with Facebook, Twitter and RIM representatives, the Government has decided not to pursue its initial plans. Good thing too, otherwise it would have had to ban other subversive forms of communication that could be used to spread disorder, such as talking, winking and giving someone a dirty look.