A Foolish Week of Telecom


Two weeks after Alcatel-Lucent said Ben Verwaayen was resigning as CEO, the company has announced his replacement. Michel Combes, the former CEO of Vodafone Europe, and earlier, of France Telecom, will take over the reins of the troubled telecommunications equipment maker on April 1.

Alcatel-Lucent chairman Philippe Camus touted Combes as no stranger to the world of telecom:

"His deep knowledge of the industry as well as his experience of major business and financial transformation at a worldwide level will be pivotal in helping the company pursue its aggressive transformation... ," Camus said in a company-released statement.

Alcatel-Lucent shareholders should hope that Combes also is as skilled at pulling the company out of its nose dive as the Denzel Washington character was at safely (mostly) landing the uncontrollable aircraft he piloted in the movie Flight.

Is DISH giving up?
Okay, everyone is aware of DISH Network trying to take the Clearwire deal away from Sprint Nextel . What seemed like a solid deal form Sprint has been made a bit shakier with DISH's counteroffer.

But it looks now like DISH chairman Charlie Ergen may be realizing the odds are not in DISH's favor when it comes to taking control of Clearwire. During the D: Dive Into Media conference sponsored by AllThingsD last week, he admitted, "[T]he deck is stacked against us."

And this week, during the company's fourth quarter earnings conference call, he said that "If that transaction [Sprint-Clearwire] was to happen, Sprint would be the most likely partner."

Clearwire's not enough for some people
Sprint's CEO, Dan Hesse, is acting like the "i" in Clearwire has already been dotted. Hesse told Bloomberg this week that the spectrum that would come to Sprint with the Clearwire deal would do, but only for a while.

"Clearwire would give us a strong spectrum position for a period of time," he said. "But we also have a very long-term view, and we would want to acquire more spectrum."

Other possible spectrum donors for the insatiable Sprint could be -- as Phil Marshall of Tolaga Research told Bloomberg -- U.S. Cellular, Leap Wireless, and even ... DISH.

Little Mac hack attack
's Windows operating system is usually at the center of any story about PCs getting hacked. Macs have been generally thought of as somewhat immune to attacks from the cyber-underworld.

Unfortunately for Mac owners, that's no longer the case. Apple itself has reported that some of its own staff's Mac computers have been violated.

Apple had "identified malware which infected a limited number of Mac systems through a vulnerability in the Java plug-in for browsers," it said in a statement.

Apparently, the malware entered Apple's system after some employees visited an outside website that was infected.

No. 5 is No. 1 in the 4th Q
Apple's iPhone 5 was the best selling smartphone in the world in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to Strategy Analytics. The iPhone 4S was the second best selling smartphone.

Apple sold 27.4 million units of the iPhone 5 in the quarter, to shoot well ahead of the Samsung handset, which sold 15.4 million. The iPhone 4S sold 17.4 million units.

Global market share breaks down like this: The iPhone 5 and the iPhone 4S made up 20.6% of global smartphone sales in the fourth quarter. That's a jump from their 12.9% share in the third quarter.

The Galaxy S3 share dropped from 10.4% in Q3, to 8% in Q4.

Smartphones for the senior set
France Telecom's Orange unit will start selling Fujitsu smartphones in Europe this June. There are two things notable about this.

First, this will be the first serious attempt by Fujitsu to sell its smartphones outside of Japan.

And second, the particular model handset for France Telecom-Orange, the Stylistic S01, will offer features that will make it more suitable for the demographic that has not as yet taken up smartphones en masse -- the golden oldies.

To minimize inadvertent screen swipes, the Stylistic S01 will have a touch screen that will require the same amount of pressure to use as would a physical keypad button. The phone's interface will also have a simplified layout with extra-large icons.

And, for the "I've fallen and I can't get up crowd," the handset will come with a loud personal security alarm.

Sleep texting
I wouldn't believe it, but I read it on the web ... so it must be true, right?

According to the Philadelphia CBS affilate KWY-TV's website, Villanova University nursing professor Elizabeth Dowdell has found evidence that teenagers not only text while awake, but also while asleep. According to Dowdell:

The phone will beep, they'll answer the text. They'll either respond in words or gibberish. (It) can even be inappropriate. Ex-girlfriends contacting ex-boyfriends, saying 'I miss you. I want to see you.' The thing that happens, though, is that when they wake up, there's no memory.


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The article A Foolish Week of Telecom originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Dan Radovskyhas no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and France Telecom (ADR). The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and France Telecom (ADR). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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