New versions of the BlackBerry mobile device won’t come equipped with BrickBreaker, a simple game that for years was installed on every BlackBerry and at its peak developed a cult following among traders and Wall Street executives. Richard S. Fuld, the former Lehman Brothers chief executive, became so addicted that in 2006 he had his technology department remove the game from his device in an effort to break his habit. Nick Manning, a spokesman for BlackBerry, on Wednesday confirmed the company’s decision to remove the game from new devices. [Dealbook]
As you may have heard, over the last year or so, financial institutions have started to become more accepting of the iPhone, in some cases allowing employees the option to use one instead of the standard-issue Blackberry and in others, getting rid of the latter all together. For employers currently contemplating making the jump, however, a word to the wise: make sure your staff has gone through full iPhone-training before releasing them into the world, lest anyone suffer an unfortunate mishap that basically ruins their lives.
The unmistakably jarring sound of aniPhone marimba ring interrupted the soft and spiritual final measures of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 at the New York Philharmonic on Tuesday night. The conductor, Alan Gilbert, did something almost unheard-of in a concert hall: He stopped the performance. But the ringing kept on going, prompting increasingly angry shouts in the audience directed at the malefactor. After words from Mr. Gilbert, and what seemed like weeks, the cellphone owner finally silenced his device. After the audience cheered, the concert resumed. Internet vitriol ensued. But no one, it seems, felt worse than the culprit, who agreed to an interview on Thursday on condition that he not be identified — for obvious reasons.
Maybe you think this sounds like really not a big deal at all? Maybe you think wrong, hombre. The “culprit,” described as “a business executive between 60 and 70 who runs two companies,” is still reeling from the incident and, from the sound of it, may actually require counseling to move forward. Read more »
Citi announced a slew of cost cutting measures today, all aimed at reversing the bank’s declining revenues and getting rid of the sad trombone that plays on loop in the lobby. A ban on offsite meetings, mandatory use of both sides of the paper when printing, and the curtailment of color copies (which will be enforced by physically removing many of the building’s color copiers, because apparently you can’t be trusted*) are all on the list of behaviors that will no longer be tolerated. At first glance they come off as merely asinine rules that won’t amount to jack. This assessment could not be further from the truth. In fact, we expect that they will contribute to the exact intended outcome senior execs at Citi are hoping for.
Look, Count Vikula isn’t stupid. He’s aware of the crippling adversity faced by Citi, and has come to terms with the fact that profitability and success are just not in the cards. Rather than spend the next few years beating around the bush as the stock drops to ten (two? whatever), he’s decided to take the next few months to sink this thing and pack it in. While he could get Jimmy Cayne about things and get it over in a matter of weeks, Vikram is smarter than that and realizes that at the end of this folly, there’ll be more loot in it for Vickie if he can’t be held directly accountable for the bank’s failure. Which is why he and the brain trust came up with the initiatives above, along with “no more computers,” “no more for pay market data,” “no new Blackberries,” “no food,” “no fun,” in an effort to get all of Citi’s employees to quit (let’s be honest– they’re not in it for the prestige). Then VP will shrug his shoulders and make a face as if to say, “Well I did everything I could,” board the place up, and finally take over the role he tells friends and family he was born to play: Morgan Stanley CEO. (More on his plans for John Mack later.)
Citigroup Limits Meetings, Pares Color Photo Copies [Bloomberg]
In Trimming Expenses, Citi Holds Back on Color Copying [Dealbook]
*Not unlike “Non Client Travel.” To wit: “We previously asked that non-client travel be limited to trips which are truly essential. However, it seems that we are not consistently adhering to that policy. Going forward, all non-client travel will require pre-approval. As an alternative to non-client travel, I encourage you to make use of our audio and video conference capabilities.”