Friday, May 13, 2005

Seeing Bill, flogging Ericsson, decisions, decisions..

Aigars to meet Bill
It can now be said that a visit to the US West Coast by Latvian Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis, specifically to Microsoft and Bill Gates, is being planned for August. This may be the long awaited, often postponed visit of high Latvian government officials and probably an IT business delegation to Silicon Valley and Silcon Grundge, Raincloud, Fogbank or whatever they call the Seattle area :).

Ericsson comes to town

Ericsson is meeting customers and presenting its 3G platform to Latvian operators and the government (who own a good slice of Latvian Mobile Telephone). There is a bit of nervousness in the air, since China's HuaWei has been here, too, and is looking hungrily for both 3G wireless (Triatel, Ericsson customer Bite GSM on WCDMA) and wireless local loop (cdma 450 for Lattelekom) action in the region.

Lattelekom's decision matrix

These are the times when Lattelekom's top management earn their keep on behalf of the company and their vision of how it should develop. CEO Nils Melngailis is forging ahead with his vision of how the company should look in the future and he has to make it look credible to the stakeholders.
The issues are how independently can Lattelekom pursue revenue and profit in the Nordic region without stepping on one of it's half-mother's toes. A sub-issue is whether the other, slightly bigger half-mother is still on the same wavelength, same planet. Considering it's the government of Latvia, such a reality check is always in order. Under former Prime Minister Indulis Emsis, things were looking a bit extraterrestrial (though the pre-former Martian had fixed the big row with the smaller half-mother) again.
Now, the bigger half mother has a Minister of Economics indirectly responsible for Lattelekom's future who passes the Mad Magazine Alfred E. Neumann test (the funny little character whose picture was always captioned Not Insane). Krisjanis definitely passes the Alfred test and is better looking. So with at least part of the Government being on Alfred's side of the fence, there is hope..
Another issue is the relationship with Exigen, where the American-based Latvian company (in terms of who does 90 % of the brainwork, the Russian Americans in San Francisco run and sell the brand) has some differences about how the partnership signed late last year should go ahead. Lattelekom has to draw some lines here (it probably has) to fend off an "indecent" proposal by Exigen to take custody of many young ladies (and some men) in the manner in which it is accustomed. Hint: these people give the most chaste and decent phone.
Even bringing up the subject will make that part of the big half mother who isn't sure whether they can handle the Alfred test go totally batshit. This is not good for anyone. The Alfred-test borderliners are also probably not too keen on the restructuring of Lattelekom, making it a sort of holding company with small and nimble affiliates doing network operations, giving phone and BPO, delivering TV and broadband and maybe installing a phone or two.
This also threatens the smaller half-mother because this kind of Lattelekom could run off with some of her suitors. Tough times, tough decisions for the Black Rooster.

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