Google in Talks to Resolve Antitrust Issues in Europe

Google is expected to agree to changes in the way it displays search results, a move that will likely allow it to skirt an antitrust investigation in the U.S. However, things are still unresolved between Google and the European Commission.

The Guardian reports that the Federal Trade Commission is expected to announce a deal this week that will end the controversy over whether Google used its market dominance to cripple competition.

As it nears a resolution in the U.S., Google is reportedly still negotiating with European Commission antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia. The EC is apparently more concerned with Google’s position because in Europe it commands a 95 percent share of the search engine market, compared with 65 percent in the U.S.

If Google and the EC don’t strike a deal, as appears to have happened in the U.S., then Google could be compelled to tailor its search results “according to EC strictures,” writes The Guardian.


Germany Pushes Facebook to End Real-Name Policy

A data protection body in Germany has ordered Facebook to cease its policy of forcing users to register with their real names, according to the BBC.

The policy reportedly violates German laws that allow people to use pseudonyms online, according to the data protection agency in the northern Germany state of Schleswig-Holstein. The agency has demanded that Facebook allow fake names immediately, adding that the company has two weeks to challenge in German court.

Facebook, which has a policy of removing accounts with fake information, has said it would fight the decree and that its naming policy complies with European data protection rules.

Canada Anti-Piracy Forces Zero In on ISP

Users of the Canadian Internet service provider TekSavvy will be “the first unlucky targets” of a BitTorrent crackdown spearheaded by Voltage Picture.

Torrent Freak reports that the Canadian anti-piracy company Canipre has been collaborating with rights holders to monitor BitTorrent networks to determine who is sharing files illegally. Canipre is partnered with Voltage Pictures, which in 2010 launched an anti-BitTorrent campaign in the U.S. targeting those who shared the film “The Hurt Locker.” The studio is trying to duplicate that fight in Canada.

About 2,000 TekSavvy users were confirmed to have shared Voltage films. The company has asked the ISP to fork over personal details of the alleged offenders. TekSavvy initially refused, but the company has now decided not to fight the request.

Canada is engaging in some of the most ambitious anti-BitTorrent measures to date.

Iran Claims to Find New Malware

Having been the apparent target of an unprecedented malware attack earlier this year, Iran is now claiming to have discovered a new “targeted data wiping malware.”

Naked Security reports that while the malware identified by Iran does indeed wipe files from computers, it is not all that clear why Iran believes it was specifically targeted at the country. This most recent malware bears no resemblance to other sponsored attacks, including the famous Flame attack, Naked Security said.


Apple Pushes Out WiFi Fix for iOS 6

Apple on Tuesday began pushing a fix to a WiFi bug in iOS 6 that targets the iPhone 5 and iPad mini.

Apple has released very little information about the fix. Its support site simply describes the 6.0.2 update as “fixes a bug that could impact WiFi.”

This latest fix for iOS 6 is the second since the software was released in September. The first fix addressed a number of problems including the display of horizontal lines across the iPhone’s virtual keyboard, inability to perform over-the-air updates on the iPhone 5 and the removal of meetings from the calendar after the user accepts an invitation to attend.

Apple did not respond to our request to comment for this story.


No Quality Concerns

Several iPhone owners running iOS 6 reported receiving no update notice early Tuesday, though one had, so it appears the fix is being rolled out slowly. None of the iPhone owners said they’d experienced any WiFi problems with iOS 6.

Fixes like those released since the introduction of iOS 6 should be expected and aren’t necessarily signs of quality control slip-ups at Apple.

It’s not unusual for a new release of a product to need bug fixes, according to Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies.

“A major release will have some bugs, but Apple’s quality control is best-in-class, and their releases go out with minimal bug issues,” he told MacNewsWorld.

Apple releases updates only when they’re ready for market. In some cases, that may be twice a year, in others, it could be as long as eight months, he explained. “And if there are security issues, they may update it more often.”

On-The-Fly Fixing

It does appear, though, that Apple is pushing out fixes for iOS 6 at a brisk pace. “This is bug fixing on the fly,” observed Carl Howe, research director at the Yankee Group.

“As soon as they find cures for problems, they release them,” Howe told MacNewsWorld.

The latest bug fix addresses a compatibility problem with 802.11 routers that use the 5-GHz band, he explained.

Routers that comply with the 802.11 standard may support the 2.4-GHz or 5-GHz bands, or both. Routers supporting 802.11a, for example, only support 5 GHz. Those with 802.11g support only 2.4 GHz. Those with 802.11n support both.

The 2.4-GHz band is crowded, however, because it’s used by lots of devices — Bluetooth gadgets, cordless phones, baby monitors, even microwave ovens. Access to the 5-GHz band, which is less crowded, can result in cleaner reception.

Record Sales?

The problem with the standard for 5-GHz WiFi, according to Howe, is that it’s not a fully specified standard. In other words, there’s room for router makers to vary their implementation of it. Not all vendors do 5 GHz right, he asserted, but users expect their devices to work with their router, even if its maker did it wrong.

Such inconsistencies can trip up a device maker, and that appears to be what happened to Apple. “You can be connected to [5-GHz] WiFi, but all your data may not be going over that WiFi network, so you end up using some cellular data when it should be going over WiFi,” explained Michael Morgan, mobile devices analyst at ABI Research.

Between bug fixes and the Apple Maps fiasco, the iPhone 5 has received more adverse publicity than most new iPhone models, but that isn’t affecting sales, according to Morgan.

Apple will sell 40 million iPhones in the quarter ending on Dec. 31, he predicted. That would be a 48 percent increase over sales during the previous quarter, when 27 million iPhones were sold.

However, that’s less of a sales bump than occurred when the iPhone 4S was introduced in 2011. Then, quarter-to-quarter sales jumped almost 118 percent, from 17 million to 37 million units.

Nevertheless, the iPhone 5 will be a winner for Apple, Howe believes. “I think people are going to be amazed at how many iPhone 5’s will be sold. There’s every possibility that it will set a new record.”

Stallman and Ubuntu: Sticks and Stones and a Blogosphere Brawl

It was only a few weeks ago that the Linux blogosphere’s Punchy Penguin Saloon suffered its latest round of damage thanks to the recent skirmish over the GPL, but now the popular establishment of questionable repute is actually shut down for a week for repairs.

The cause this time?

Yet another blogosphere brawl, needless to say, focusing this time on Ubuntu and its newly installed “surveillance code,” as legendary Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman called it in a recent blog post.

“If we can only say, ‘free software won’t spy on you, unless it’s Ubuntu,’ that’s much less powerful than saying, ‘free software won’t spy on you,'” Stallman explained.

“It behooves us to give Canonical whatever rebuff is needed to make it stop this,” he added. “Any excuse Canonical offers is inadequate; even if it used all the money it gets from Amazon to develop free software, that can hardly overcome what free software will lose if it ceases to offer an effective way to avoid abuse of the users.”


‘Just a Bit Childish’

If you’ve spent five minutes in the Linux community you’re no doubt already aware that debate is never in short supply.

As if on cue, “FUD” was the term Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon chose to describe Stallman’s comments in a blog post of his own shortly thereafter.

“This just seems a bit childish,” Bacon added.

‘It Was Wrong of Me’

Fast-forward three days, however, and Bacon issued an apology.

“Unfortunately, sometimes I end up saying some things I wish I hadn’t, as is the case here,” Bacon wrote in a fresh post last Monday.

“Quite possibly the most significant reason why so many of us respect Richard for his lifelong body of work is due to his clarity and commitment to his view of freedom, and although there is debate about the approach in which he articulates these views at times, it was nonetheless wrong of me to describe his position as ‘childish’; he is not a child, quite the opposite,” Bacon explained.

Did Stallman’s post “somewhat over-sensationalize” the issue, as Bacon ended up putting it? Or was Bacon simply rationalizing a new commercial approach for the popular Linux distro?

That’s what the Linux blogosphere has been trying to decide.

‘They Made a Big Mistake’

“I tend to prefer Jono’s handling of the situation, but at the same time there is something profoundly wrong about what Ubuntu did here,” Google+ blogger Kevin O’Brien told Linux Girl.

“To me, it all hinges on it being opt-out instead of opt-in,” he explained. “The fact that they did it as opt-out means that by ‘the tyranny of the default,’ lots of people are going to be sending their information without intending to, or even in many cases without knowing that they are doing it.

“I want Canonical to be commercially viable, but I think they made a big mistake on this one,” O’Brien concluded.

‘It’s Mandatory to Warn the User’

Indeed, “I am very concerned about such issues,” began Google+ blogger Gonzalo Velasco C.

At the same time, however, spying was probably “not the idea behind the Unity tool,” he added. “I think they are struggling to become a nice ‘normal user’ OS, with some helping, commercial tools.”

Nevertheless, “it’s mandatory for a GNU/Linux distribution to warn the user, and easily allow them to switch on/off such a tool,” Gonzalo Velasco C. opined.

“I hope Canonical rethinks that tool — I’m sure they already respect the millions of users they want to have,” he concluded. “On the other hand, *buntu users have other sons: Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu and other second degree-derivatives. It’s neither the end of the world, nor the end of privacy in Ubuntu.”

‘He Has a Point’

Similarly, “I hate to agree with RMS, but he has a point,” consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack concurred. “I really don’t want my local searches transmitted to a third party.”

On the bright side, however, “there are other distros such as Mint that don’t do that,” Mack added.

And again: “RMS is absolutely right [to] criticize the ways of Canonical in this case,” Google+ blogger Alessandro Ebersol agreed. “The community wants a better Debian derivative, not a Windows (any version) copy cat.”

Sadly, Ubuntu “is becoming each time more like a product and less like a community distro,” Ebersol concluded. “There’s nothing wrong with making money, but one should watch what is being done to make money. Or, we enter into an ‘Ends justify the means’ mode, and that’s very dangerous.”

‘Unquestionably Spyware’

Hyperlogos blogger Martin Espinoza took a similar view.

“Yet again, RMS is right, however little tact he might package with his message,” Espinoza told Linux Girl. “Ubuntu’s Amazon integration is unquestionably spyware by definition, as the user is not informed as to what data is collected, where it is sent, or how it will be treated.”

Apparently, “Ubuntu learned nothing from Microsoft being forced to implement browser selection screens, which was the right thing to do voluntarily when presenting an integrated search tool that sends data home every time you perform a search on your local computer,” Espinoza added.

‘Now It’s Mark’s Turn’

“The only childish thing involved is Ubuntu’s unwillingness to admit its error, a typical hallmark of corporations operated by those who believe themselves to be above reproach,” Espinoza pointed out. “At least Jono realized and admitted his mistake — now it’s Mark’s turn.”

In any case, “while the functionality is not difficult to remove, it should rather have been functionality which is not difficult to enable,” Espinoza suggested.

“My current plan for my next OS reload is LMDE,” he concluded. “I could put up with much of this from Ubuntu if the quality of the software were higher, but I seem to get the same regressions popping up over and over again.”

‘I Don’t Believe It Should Be Default’

Yet again: “I agree with Stallman, if not word for word, at least in his intent,” offered Google+ blogger Linux Rants.

“I appreciate what Canonical is trying to do with Ubuntu’s dash, but I don’t like the fact that every search I type in is sent to Canonical, whether I intend to search the Internet or not,” Linux Rants explained. “This gives Canonical a great deal of information about me and my computing habits.

“At this point, I’ve seen nothing to suggest that Canonical is doing anything unscrupulous with that information, or anything at all beyond the search that it was intended to do, but believing that they’ll never attempt to use that information borders on the ludicrous,” he opined. “There are people that believe that these features are a great enhancement to their experience, and that’s fine. I just don’t believe that it should be the default.”

‘Jono Got It Right the First Time’

Not everyone saw it that way, however.

“I don’t know, I think Jono Bacon got it the right the first time around,” opined Robin Lim, a lawyer and blogger on Mobile Raptor.

“RMS is being a bit childish,” Lim said. “He seems to see an Orc hidden behind every bush.”

Canonical “needs to monetize their distribution and selected Amazon as their partner; Ubuntu gives Amazon info to improve search results,” he pointed out. “This is something rather common these days.”

Remove the ability to monetize a service, an app or an operating system, meanwhile, “and soon all you will be left with is proprietary software and some fringe software,” Lim predicted. “It’s time for the old guard to stop trying to take down the initiatives which might make Linux on the consumer desktop relevant. Leave Ubuntu (and GNOME) alone.

“There are plenty of alternatives,” he concluded. “Why force everyone to march to the beat of the same drum?”

‘The Only Way One Can Make a Living’

At the heart of the matter is the GPL and one little problematic fact, Slashdot blogger hairyfeet suggested — specifically, what he calls “the blessed 3.”

“What is the blessed 3? It’s the only way one can make a living with GPL software,” hairyfeet explained. “1. support contracts; 2. selling hardware; or 3. the tin cup begging model.”

In fact, “at the end of the day a good 90 percent of the software EVER made simply doesn’t fit in the tiny boxes of the blessed 3, as Canonical is finding out,” he added.

‘Innovation or Desperation’

Similarly, “this whole issue speaks to one of the big difficulties in reaching the consumer market with free software,” noted Chris Travers, a blogger who works on the LedgerSMB project. “There just isn’t a direct-to-consumer business model that works.

“The big players in this industry focus on servers, but Ubuntu was determined to bring Linux to the desktop,” Travers explained. “Not to say that it won’t happen at some point, but I am not sure a single company can do that.”

Essentially, “Ubuntu is trying to become an ad-supported operating system somewhere between the Android model and conventional adware models,” he noted. “The big problem is that people don’t really like adware, and the Android model has not been a huge money-maker for Google.

“I remain unconvinced that adware-supported OSes will ever be really viable,” Travers added. “One has to wonder why Ubuntu is choosing this route, and there are only two possibilities: innovation or desperation.”

‘The Beginning of the End’?

In other words, “it is possible that Ubuntu is just trying this to see if it works,” he explained. “Nobody has ever succeeded here, and maybe they think that if they do, they can corner the home PC market down the road. This is a pretty risky gamble.”

On the other hand, “the other possibility is that Ubuntu is desperately trying to find a way to monetize the userbase, and this is the best they could come up with,” Travers concluded. “If this is the case, it could well be the beginning of the end of Ubuntu.”

‘The Market Will Decide’

It all comes down to trust, blogger Robert Pogson suggested.

“Since we cannot control all the software we use, we have to choose whom to trust,” he explained. “I trust Google, Amazon and others to provide more and better services than I can provide myself and at lower cost.”

After all, “I cannot set up hundreds of thousands of servers to maintain my databases,” he added. “I cannot get websites I visit to work together to give me better services. Google and Amazon use GNU/Linux plus their own software to provide those services.”

Is there any alternative to trusting corporations?

“I doubt it,” Pogson told Linux Girl. “The market will decide whether FLOSS wins there, and so far GNU/Linux is doing exceedingly well just based on price/performance.”

The World Needs More Magical Thinking

Dell World 2012 was fascinating this year for a number of reasons. First, Bill Clinton was the big keynote and he didn’t disappoint. I think he took an interesting Libertarian view on how the U.S. government could fix the financial problem. Unfortunately, he implied that the first step would be to get rid of the politicians whose zero-sum game was pretty much assuring a really bad outcome.

In addition, we got a view into how much work Susan Dell is doing in the background to humanize Dell and to improve the world by working with folks like Clinton — and how much work Dell is doing with Ingrid Vanderveldt to build small companies like Current Motor and turn them into lifelong Dell partners.

Most notable was the interest in Windows 8, a product most of the big analyst firms said IT was going to take a pass on. Apparently most IT firms are wrong, because the big companies at this event were taking a significant interest in this OS — not so much as a replacement for Windows 7, but more as an alternative to Apple and Google.

I’ll go deeper into that and close with my product of the week: the performance version of the Current Motor Super Scooter, which I’m test driving this month. What a huge difference a little more battery life and about 15 mph additional top speed makes.


Bill Clinton’s Zero-Sum Game Speech

If you ever get a chance to listen to Bill Clinton speak, don’t pass it up. He clearly is getting toward the time when he’ll no longer be able to do this, but the power of his voice and message are something you’ll carry with you until you pass. He has a strong grasp of the basics and seems to understand why Washington and many companies can’t get stuff done.

This is called the zero-sum game, and you’d think we’d outgrow it as children. “Zero-sum” means that for me to win, the other guy has to lose — and that isn’t the way you fix big problems like the economy or global warming. This is because unless almost everyone wins, eventually almost everyone loses. That is the mess we are in now, with one party refusing to give ground unless it is clear to everyone else the other party is losing — and the other party doesn’t want to lose.

You can interchangeably place either political party in both roles, and the outcome is stagnation. Even inside the parties this game is being played, which is making them less capable of winning the bigger battles. It is just sad really, because the country has the resources to do wonderful things — but because someone has to lose, it is hog-tied and unable to do them.

Clinton shared the story of how the U.S. lost the biggest physics project in the world largely because the collider would be built in Texas, and no one outside of Texas wanted the jobs to go there. It was preferable that Europe won over Texas winning — and we actually voted for these idiots. If I could vote for Bill again, I’d do it in a cold second.

Dell’s Angels

Apparently inside Dell there are two women who are kicking significant butt. They are Michael’s wife Susan — Bill said she was his reason for being at the event and a significant help to his efforts to help the world — and Ingrid Vanderveldt, who is leading Dell’s efforts to help small businesses, mostly run by women, to be successful. The idea of an angel actually came from one of the folks Ingrid had helped, and I felt it applied to both women given how much Bill Clinton’s speech moved me.

Both of these women are doing wonders for Dell’s image, and I have to admit it warmed my heart to see Michael and Susan working together to help others through Bill Clinton’s charities. So often we focus on CEOs behaving badly and often against the best interests of their spouses, and I feel strongly that if more worked together like Michael and Susan appear to be doing, they’d both be more successful and happier — particularly after retirement, as Bill and Melinda Gates have demonstrated.

I also think more large companies should help bootstrap startups — not only because this becomes customer seed corn, but because it is a way of giving back. The end result is not only a better image but a stronger firm.

You don’t have to be evil, as some companies appear to believe, to get ahead — and it is nice to see Dell’s Angels, Susan and Ingrid, provide such a wonderful example. I do think they need a theme song and action figures, though.

Windows 8: IT’s Magic Bullet

Well we all thought that IT, the business buyers of technology, would bypass Windows 8 and instead wait for Windows 9. Apparently, they so desperately wanted a tablet alternative to the Apple and Google products out there — particularly the relatively unsecure Android offerings — they are actually excited about Windows 8.

Now, as expected, they aren’t excited about jumping from Windows 7 to Windows 8 — that call was correct. However, they are excited about being able to deploy tablets that can do what the iPad does without taking on substantial additional security risk and having a bunch of things that will fail a security or compliance audit.

I should point out that one of the other things I learned at Dell World is that there are far too many folks concerned about compliance, or looking secure, than there are about actually being secure. I think this will come back to haunt them, given the DoD and most of the security firms are expecting a digital 911, and a compliance paper will be little comfort if their firm’s systems stop running or become zombies as a result of the expected attack.

Wrapping Up

With folks like Bill, Susan and Ingrid in the world — and of course Dell’s forward-looking CEO Michael — I left Dell World feeling better about people but worse about our prospects. Granted, Windows 8 is clearly doing a lot better in business than any of expected it would do, but I wish we had more people that were more focused on making the world a better place.

It wasn’t Dell’s business or products that excited me this trip, it was its heart — and its focus on making the world better. If more of us did this, then magically, it would be. I believe that is a thought worthy of Christmas.

Vodafone places cap on upgrades until April

Vodafone has placed a cap on the number of business upgrades put through by dealers until the end of its financial year.

Between January and March 31 (Vodafone’s Q4) dealers are permitted to put through just 55 per cent of their average quarterly numbers.

Dealers have each been given a monthly upgrade limit which has been calculated based on their monthly average over the past six months.

Vodafone will not pay any commission for upgrades that exceed the monthly limit.

News of the decision broke last week (December 12) when Vodafone head of partner services Rob Mukherjee informed all dealers via email.

Mukherjee said the decision was based on the current model no longer being sustainable due to the frequency of ‘in-life’  renewals – accounts eligible for upgrade from month 12 to 18 based on customer spend.

He said the move, which will force dealers to be more selective about who they upgrade, will be an “important driver” as the firm readies its move to a revenue share model.

Mukherjee wrote: “Rather than a blanket change in our commercial model, we want to allow you to manage your own customer renewal activity within given boundaries.

“We find it is the least impactful to your business and, importantly, begins to align our partners to our new commercial model.”

However, the decision has been criticised by Vodafone partners, who have accused the operator of poor forecasting.

One Vodafone platinum partner claims his account manager said the caps had been imposed due to “overspending on acquisition and retention” in the first part of the year, leading the network to scale back costs.

Some now fear rivals connecting to other networks will target their customers as a result, with some stating they may have to churn the customer themselves rather than risk losing them to a rival.

One Vodafone partner said: “There is going to be a big backlash to this. Those I have spoken with are furious as they will be forced to let down customers expecting to upgrade. That’s not an easy conversation and we know full well others will look to pounce immediately. Not a great start to the year.”

A Vodafone platinum partner added: “They’ve sprung this on us at very short notice, telling us right at the end of Q3 that we have limits for Q4, this shouldn’t happen at
all, but the communication’s been appalling.”

Vodafone has confirmed its head of enterprise finance, Richard Schafer, has this month left the business.

Schafer joined Vodafone as head of finance in 2007 before becoming head of enterprise finance in 2010. Prior to joining Vodafone he had spent six years with Three.

He is the third major departure from Vodafone in the past month following director of small business Tim Stone, who departs next month after 17 years, and UK enterprise director Peter Kelly, who leaves in
March. Their positions will be filled by channel partners sales director Nick Birtwistle and Vodafone Ireland CEO Jeroen Hoencamp respectively.

Olive continues drive with addition of 10,000 connections

Olive Communications has continued its acquisition strategy, sealing deals with three more dealers with a fourth close to completion.

The deals will add more than 10,000 connections to Olive’s base, which stands at around 62,000 – of which 50,000 are on Vodafone.

The Vodafone platinum partner has acquired Chester-based Parkway Telecom, worth around 4,000 Vodafone connections and an ARPU of £40. Parkway will be rebranded next year. Its office and all seven staff have been retained, including group managing director Paul Maddocks, who has agreed a three-year deal with Olive as regional director.

Olive has also acquired Orpington-based Mobile Phone Centre (MPC), worth 2,500 Vodafone connections, and the Vodafone base of Yeovil silver partner Airwaves for 600 connections. MPC’s office is to
be closed.

These latest moves take the number of acquisitions by Olive in 2012 to six, it having already acquired Vodafone bases from MPC London, Connection 365 and Pioneer. All deals are for an undisclosed fee.

Olive chairman Mark Geraghty (pictured) confirmed Olive is now close to tying up a fourth deal, worth around 3,500 Vodafone connections.

Geraghty also confirmed the firm is leaving its High Wycombe HQ for a larger premises nearby to accommodate its growth.

Olive started the year with 25 staff, but now has more than 70. A further 10 will join in January.

Geraghty said: “2012 has been a big year for us and plans are in place to carry that momentum into 2013.”

Carphone Warehouse Business wins top O2 distribution award

Carphone Warehouse Business has won the O2 business distributor partner of the year award. The distributor picked up the prize at the operator’s annual partner conference, held at the Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire on November 29.

It was the second successive year the distributor had won the award, having picked up the prize as HSC last year before it was rebranded as Carphone Warehouse Business (CPWB) in June.

CPWB, which beat fellow O2 Centre of Excellence distributors Avenir Telecom, Daisy Distribution and MoCo to the award, has also won all four of the operator’s quarterly prizes this year.

The Poole-based firm said reasons it has been able to drive overall volume this year include the dedicated support for its partners and continued commitment to paying out the £40 new connection bonus to partners.

It added its provision of dedicated account management on airtime as well as initiatives to support volume growth, churn reduction, CSI scores and landline connections have also been key this year.

In addition, CPWB introduced a new marketing service that sees partners sent email templates to use when contacting customers. These detail why customers should stay with O2 and include the latest propositions, benefits and promotions.

CPWB head of partners Bob Sweetlove (pictured) said: “We have worked really hard this year with O2 and our partners to put initiatives in place that actually provide tangible benefits to assist partners in growing and resigning their O2 customers across the board.

“Part of our job as a distributor is to take the key measurable O2 want their distribution partners achieving and taking it down to partner level and providing education around why these are set, provide them tools to achieve their own targets and show the benefits in terms of increased revenue and customer base size.”

O2 head of indirect sales Anton Le Saux said: “Carphone Warehouse Business has had a storming year winning all the quarterly distributor Centre of Excellence titles in our Champions League so it is with great pleasure and no surprise when they were announced O2 Distribution Partner of the Year at our recent partner conference.

“Congratulations to Bob and the team in Poole who do an excellent job of making sure partners are
well serviced and offered industry leading initiatives to help them achieve against all metrics. In
particular their approach to CSI and dedication to growing landline have been commendable. I look
forward to another successful year in 2013.”