A brave New World

Waves in the Appleyard

Apple’s new restrictions on iPhone apps development tools may herald a new stage in the fierce competition for mobile apps supremacy and revenues. This battleground is a genuine 21st century development and classical history, the old rivalries of past decades, won’t help to decipher the outcomes.
This follows the announcement of the iAd advertising network, in direct competition to Google. According to the FT Apple already accounts for 40% of ads served up on AdMob, one of the biggest ad networks. Back in November 09 Google announced its acquisition of AdMob for $750 millions, a deal reportedly still being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission.
It may be uncertain how apps developers will receive the news of restrictions applied to their trade, given that part of the success of apps on the iPhone was due to the relative openness and availability of tools. Watch this space.

All gershonites unite!

Old ideologies rarely die without a fight. The neoliberal fallacy applied to public services in this country more so than most. So Sir Peter’s delusions.
Sir Peter Gershon‘s pronouncements on public sector “savings” (FT, April 9), under David Cameron’s banner, have rightly raised concerns in the IT community and the wider public sector. As usual short on specifics but high in self-satisfaction Sir Peter’s “efficiency savings” plan of £12 billions appears largely based on cutting down on jobs – perhaps up to 40,000 over 12 months – and slashing ICT projects. Pray, whose jobs and what projects?

Let’s do away with patients records (what for?), the Children’s index (who cares for Victoria and baby P?), citizen authentication (what the hell!) and information security – what’z that? shall we? Evidently the gershonites own positions are unlikely to be at risk…
Let me say first of all that while I have some sympathy for “renegotiation” of outrageously priced IT contracts and reducing the number of “consultants”, the main reason for outsourcing at whatever costs, and the prevalence of overpaid “contractors” in public services, has been the pressure exercised by successive governments of both persuations, in particular on local authorities, but also the NHS and other public bodies, since the mid 80’s, emphasised time and time again by the likes of Mrssrs Gershon and his siblings at the Treasury and the Audit Commission.
The outcome of all that competitive market, so-called – ideology, has been an increase in costs of delivery to the public, a raw deal for taxpayers, a shift from stable public sector jobs in the name of pseudo efficiencies, and their replacement by term contractors, often at twice the rate of the original public servants. Efficiencies à la Gershon are a big con: balance sheet savings from payroll cuts are more than offset by an increase in term contract agency staff and costs of service contracts to the private sector. From an ICT perspective the Socitm local authoriies ICT benchmark shows a clear advantage and genuine efficiencies in well run in-house services, as opposed to the expensive contracts often forced upon public authorities in the name of a discredited neo-liberal agenda. Still we are grateful to Sir Peter for showing his true colours, at last. But who would be really surprised?

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