And so this is Christmas, and what have you done? If you're the Informer, you haven't done a damn thing, including your Christmas shopping. And if you're the rest of the industry, you haven't done much either, judging by the paltry news offerings that wafted the Informer's way this week, which counts among its events the last appearance of A Week in Wireless for 2007.
Nope, everybody's hunkering down for the holiday season, gradually drifting away from the office and into the bosom of their family. Or the local pub.
Meanwhile, let's remember that Christmas has a meaning. That's right, it's all about getting presents. And what will many kids want under the tree this year? You guessed it: the iPhone.
So, in a bid to marry the commercial and spiritual elements of the festive season, here's the Informer's wireless nativity story, complete with seasonal carols...
ON A DARK night, Jobseph, a lowly craftsman, was travelling to Cupertino, California, for there was a census. It was vital that Jobseph found somewhere to stay, for word was out that a product was to be born unto him and that this product would be the saviour of the User Interface.
The Virgin Mobile had wanted to come along, but Jobseph told her to bugger off.
Far away, some operators sat tending their flocks of sheep. They were having a conversation about interconnection rates, but they weren't price fixing or anything. All of a sudden in a blinding flash, an Analyst appeared...
(Carol number one - to the tune of While Shepherds Watched)
While carriers fleeced their sheep by night, With complex pricing rates, An Analyst appeared to them With news that changed their fates Yes news that changed their fates
"Soon there will be a phone of such Desirability That all your sheep will long for one Despite it being 2G Despite it being 2G
"And if you want a piece of this To Jobseph you'll be sent But he'll want something in return Perhaps forty per cent. Perhaps forty per cent".
The operators were startled by the Analyst, especially his offer of 24 hours of celestial advice at a very reasonable rate. But they were intrigued by the glad tidings he had brought them.
They weren't exactly bowled over by the prospect of forking over 40 per cent of anything to anybody, if they were completely honest. But if it was true that such a wondrous phone would be coming unto them, and stuff, they wanted to get in on the action. They resolved to travel and find this Jobseph and the phone of which the Analyst had spake.
"Ooh, what about the sheep?" one of the operators said to his fellows. "Who's going to keep an eye on them?" Fortunately, among their number was an unbeliever, called Vodafone. So Vodafone stayed behind and kept an eye on the flock, while four of the operators - AT&T, Orange, O2 and T-Mobile set off for Cupertino.
When Jobseph reached Cupertino the city was full, because of the census. There was nowhere for him to stay. Eventually, an innkeeper offered him the use of his stable, where slept the humble animals. It wasn't really to Jobseph's liking. There was no wet room, for a start, and it didn't smell too pleasant. On the upside, it had a giant plasma screen, which would be useful for the presentation that Jobseph had a feeling he was going to need to do. Jobseph settled down to await the arrival of his new phone.
At length, the phone appeared. And what a little cutie it was. For it was without buttons and was all smooth, with a lovely big touch screen. Jobseph was bursting with paternal pride and he gently laid the baby iPhone down in a manger. Even the cows were impressed, although they did look upon their clumsy hooves with a mournful expression, for never would they be able to use the iPhone.
(Carol 2 - Away in a Manger)
Away in a manger, no sign of 3G The little lord iPhone is giggling with glee The hype's been amazing, a marketing coup He chuckles to hear of the size of the queue
At this point, the operators arrived. "You Jobseph?" enquired Orange. "I am," said Jobseph. "So, where's this iPhone of yours, then?" T-Mobile said, feigning nonchalance. Jobseph simply swept one arm outward, drawing the operators' gaze to the manger and the iPhone that lay inside it, wrapped in swaddling cloth.
"Oh, that's just to protect the screen," he said, when the operators looked askance at him. "So, what do you reckon?"
"Ooh, it's very nice," said O2. "No 3G, though?" Jobseph coughed into his hand. "Ah, no we don't think it really needs it at this stage," he said.
"That just a two megapixel camera, is it?" asked AT&T. "Yes, yes it is," said Jobseph, "So there's no 3G and only a two megapixed camera?" "Look, what do you expect," snapped Jobseph. "A miracle?" Snatching the phone out of AT&T's hand, he said: "But look at this..."
Jobseph turned the phone on its side, and the display shifted from portrait to landscape. Everyone cooed, whipped out their pens and signed on Jobseph's dotted line.
As the operators were celebrating their good fortune, and Jobseph was pondering his triumph, two Oriental Kings arrived. Jobseph assumed that they were there to see him and his chosen one, so he began making some space in the manger for the gold, frankincense and myrrh that he'd been led to expect would be his gifts. He was, however, to be disappointed, as the Kings were actually there to talk to the operators.
"Aren't there supposed to be three of you?" said Jobseph, visibly miffed that the Kings were more interested in the operators than they were in him.
"No, no, just the two of us," said one of the kings, whose name was Huawei. The other one was called ZTE. In a bid to explain their presence, they sang a little song... (Carol 3 - We two Kings)
We two kings of Orient are Selling kit that's cheaper by far We're doing our best To conquer the west For ours is the rising star
Oh... Western vendors scurry in fright Slash your headcount, do what you might Match our charging, watch your margins Shrink and shrink 'til out of sight.
All present had to concede that the Western vendors hadn't had a very good time of it lately and so they joined in a short verse, commemorating the top executives who had departed their companies in the course of the year. They consoled one another with the knowledge that these people usually bag a handsome pay-off when they leave because of their company's poor performance.
(Carol 4 - God Rest Ye Merry CXOs)
God rest ye merry CXOs, your firm has hit the skids Pursue new opportunities, or spend time with your kids The shareholders have ousted you, they really flipped their lids
O Golden parachute of joy, 'chute of joy, O Golden parachute of joy
Just like a football manager you'll pop up somewhere new Or maybe you will choose to start a VC fund or two A non exec directorship must surely wait for you
O Golden parachute of joy, 'chute of joy, O Golden parachute of joy
Just then, the two Kings, the Shepherds and even Jobseph stopped their singing, in order to hearken beyond the garden walls of the stable. For the townsfolk had gathered together to witness the arrival of a great heavenly apparition. It was the big G himself, and he presented the people with a new offering, albeit with an altogether scarier name.
(Carol 5- O Little Town of Bethlehem)
O little town of Mountain View With thoughts of wireless They permeate your every move They cause carriers great stress You shaketh up the industry With might you sit on high Delivering advertisements With your all seeing eye
For iPhone is born of Steven Jobs And gathered all above While mortals sleep, the angels keep Their watch of wondering love O Android promises to give Open platforms for all And praises sing to God the King And Peace to men on earth
Just then Tiny Tim said "God bless us, every one." And Scrooge popped round with a goose, while Jimmy Stewart realised what a wonderful life it really is and Clarence got his wings and everybody lived happily ever after. Apart from the Grinch.
So it just remains to be said that everybody here wishes all of you out there a relaxing and peaceful break.