Apple has just warned investors of a pre-Christmas profits fall. Competition in the tablet market is putting pressure on Apple's gross margins. Notably, Noah Smith has an interesting post which compares Sony and Apple. I like this comparison as I can remember Sony as the Apple of its day. Like Apple, Sony's rise to prominence was with a portable music device - the Sony Walkman (for my younger readers, the Sony Walkman played these things known as cassettes). Like Apple, Sony had an iconic and visionary founder in Akio Morita. Noah Smith suggests that Sony's decline was partially due to the death of Morita in 1999. Will post-Jobs Apple go the same way?
As an undergraduate, I was taught about the failure of Herstatt Bank in 1974 and Herstatt risk. This bank was only the 35th largest bank in Germany at the time so why would anyone be interested in studying its failure? Herstatt failed because of its involvement in risky foreign exchange business. When it closed its doors on 26 June 1974, counterparty banks (mainly in New York) had not received dollars due to them because of time-zone differences - this is known as settlement risk. The cross-jurisdictional implications of its failure resulted in the Bank for International Settlements setting up the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and Herstatt's failure was a key reason for the establishment of real-time gross settlements systems, which ensures that payments between two banks are executed in real time. The Bank of England's Ben Norman has an interesting post on Herstatt over at the Bank's new blog ( Bank Underground ). As well as giving an excellent overview of