<% @ Language=VBScript %>Now if it was $5 billion...
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Now if it was $5 billion...

August 17, 2005

Guess who will be cool as a cucumber if SBC spits the bit on its $4 billion IPTV service?  The guy who's heading up the project, naturally.  I can definitely see where he's coming from.  It's not like there's a lot of money at stake or anything.

Yes, SBC Chief Operating Officer Randall Stephenson has won Telecom Watch's first "Open Mouth, Insert Foot Award(tm)" for the following comment made to a USA Today reporter: 

“If I bet wrong, I didn't break the future of this business. For a company of this size, $4 billion is very little money. If I bet wrong, it's not much money for us to burn.”

The article appears here: http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/money/20050817/sbcside.art.htm

This can't be the same SBC that claimed to the FCC that it was losing money hand over fist because it was required to lease its lines to competitors, thereby limiting investment in its network build out. 

Here's a rule to live by: If your company can shake off a loss of an amount of money that has a number followed by nine zeros, there ain't nothin' cutting into your profits.   

I know I should be somewhat dismayed by the statement, but, quite frankly, I'm impressed. I mean, I can't recall any time in my life where any amount of money was "very little money." 

I'm afraid to burn a CD for fear that I might scratch or break something, yet Stephenson casually discusses the possibility of throwing $4 billion out the window like it's confetti on VE-Day.

Actually, the comment that really caught my eye comes later in the article, when Stephenson discusses SBC's aggressive IPTV rollout strategy compared with Verizon's more cautious approach. 

"Necessity is the mother of invention," Stephenson said.

Ironic considering what many believe is the re-monopolozation of the telecommuncations market, which will eliminate competition, thereby eliminating the necessity to spur invention.

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