Once AT&T retired its offer, the future of Telecom Italia seems to rely upon Intesa Sanpaolo’s bid (probably the biggest italian bank). Should this scenario become true, the result would be a sort of Zaibatsu.
The interesting thing is that to avoid the monopoly, the Italian governement and the Ministry of communication, On. Gentiloni (Margherita) are creating an enormous conglomerate.
Will that helps promoting free market?
Sometimes they strike back. Italian Prime Minister on. Romano Prodi and the Ministry of communication, on. Paolo Gentiloni are talking again about the idea of “unbundle” the telephone network propriety from the service provided through the lines. It seems that the chosen model would be the UK way: a public company “owns” the wires, while the operators (including Telecom Italia) will compete on the market services.
It might have been the former mr. Prodi’s governement mistake to sell Telecom Italia the telephone network, but nevertheless it doesn’t seem that fair – now – to take the network back, thus reducing ex lege the value of a company. This “pendulum-based” approach (swinging back and forth from private to public ownership) it is not a good signal for both the market and the foreign investor who will continue staring at Italy as an unreliable country to do business with (or in.)
Truth is that Italy is paying the almost total lack – in the last 15 years – of a telecommunications political strategy. Television market has been, is and will be politicians main concern, while lasting everything else back.
Pretending that a problem doesn’t exist is not an option, because – it is just matter of time – the bill always come at the end of the dinner.
It might happens for some odd and unpredictable reason (at least from the user perspective) that the Internet Banking stops granting you access to your account (incorrect userid or password, they say.) Then you have to call customer assistance by phone, and the automated system, before allowing to talk to a human being, asks for your userid, password and one-time-password.
But that information are incorrect (in fact you have no longer access to your account), and you can’t talk to anybody to fix the problem unless you have a working userid and password (that you have not). You just need to wait, and at the end of the day some human being will answer your call.
It would be better to answer first, isnt’it?
Recently Intesa Sanpaolo (born after a merge between Banca Intesa e Istituto San Paolo) moved its Internet banking authentication system from a password-based to a one-time-password-based access.
They sell that “innovation” – ever happens in the ICT business – as a major increase in IT security and then as a benefit for the customer, but if you think for a while this is not entirely true. Or – better – this might be true from the perspective of a marketing manager. But it is not from the customer standpoint.
Continue reading “Intesa Sanpaolo: when marketing meets security”
Italy is a strange country. The State cares of public health by telling everybody that “smoke kills”, while still holds the legal monopoly in the tobacco manufacturing market.
Following the same “we care” apprach, online gambling has been labeled as THE eviliest thing, able to corrupt young generations, waste worker wages, endanger the public security. Criminal court everywhere in Italy are full of trials where the defendants are charged to having organised “illegal betting services” by opening internet points from where people was privately playing with regular British and other EU-based bookmakers.
Despite the EU Court of Justice said that Italy was wrong in discriminating legally established EU bookmakers, the Corte di cassazione – Italian Supreme Court – ruled that (online) gambling must be punished since endagers the Order of the State. But all of a sudden, these concerns disappeared.
Legge finanziaria 2007 “slightly” amends sect. 38 of Decree 223/2006 by legalising – with a few restrictions – the very same online gaming activities that up to a few weeks before were accused of being “families disgregator”. How was that possible?
Easy: just pay the Government a 3% “gambling tax” on every bet, and all the problems and concerns just disappear. At the end of the day – I can imagine the politicians’ defense – we did our job: we told you not to play. If you don’t follow our advice…the choice is yours!