Monday, September 19, 2011

Morning Brief: Embarrassed by internal leaks, Scotland Yard goes after The Guardian; Greek crisis starting to reach a boil; waiting on Apple, again

After handling the phone hacking scandal poorly, then seeing leaks appear in the press, Scotland Yard has decided that in order to clean itself up it will have to use the Official Secrets Act to try to force a journalist to reveal their source. The press is in the U.K. is howling.

The issue of forcing a media outlet to reveal its sources is always controversial, but the use of the Official Secrets Act to force The Guardian to reveal its sources is especially galling to many in light of the fact that Scotland Yard was so cozy to Murdoch's News of the World. Now the paper that has played a major role in revealing that the police did not investigate the phone hacking is itself being attacked by the same police.

Although the story has slid down the page at the NYT's website, for much of this weekend a story involving the Greek debt crisis led the paper's home page, clearly reflecting the seriousness of the situation.
Greek leaders struggled through the weekend to agree to a set of radical budget reductions that would satisfy foreign lenders’ demands even as they tried to stave off mounting resistance to those cuts at home.

Reflecting the urgency of the situation, the prime minister of Greece, George A. Papandreou, canceled a planned trip to Washington this week and held talks with his cabinet on Sunday.
The issue remains the same: what actions will the Greek government take to lessen the budget shortfall, will they implement more austerity measures, and will this satisfy the demands of other European leaders – especially Germany, France and the U.K., known now as the "troika".

"The troika thinks the recently announced property levy will not suffice to plug the budget hole and is pressing for measures on the spending side -- cuts in public sector wages and employment," an unnamed government official was quoted as saying by Reuters in the Athens News.

The uncertainty is again rattling the markets. In Europe the German DAX and French CAC 40 are down by over 2.5 percent again this morning. In the U.S., before the open Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped 138 points to 11308.

I don't go in for predictions, but here is one, nonetheless: one of big Apple rumor sites will announce this week that they have learned that Apple will hold a special event on such-and-such a date to unveil the new iPhone. My guess is that that date is the first week of October.

It appears as though iOS 5 should be available to download within two weeks or so, with the actual release of the new iPhone shortly thereafter. For the press the big story will probably be that Sprint will now carry the iPhone. As a former Sprint customer who absolutely hated the way the company treated its customers this is a big yawn. But it does mean that iPhone users in the U.S. will finally have some real choices, and possibly the big three will also have to actually compete against each other in order to get and retain customers. Or not.