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The Roundup July 25 & 26: A week of losers

Tonghua Steel Company
What this place needs is a good copy of Stephen Robbins . . . or a riot.

Chen Guojun
General manager of Jianlong Steel, about to acquire state-owned Tonghua Iron & Steel, gets some pretty hard sensitivity training by Tonghua employees for being high-handed, highly paid, and threatening to lay off everyone whose name is not Chen. Gotta work on those people skills, dude.

Christine Varney
Obama’s top antitrust official gets all aggressive on anticompetitive corporate behavior until the Obama Administration starts telling her to lay off. Nice to know that the more things change in Washington, the more they stay the same.

Citi
Andrew Hall, head of Citigroup’s highly secretive, dairy-farm energy-trading unit, Phibro LLCsays he’s owed a $100 million bonus. Of course, the Obama Administration wants Mr. Hall to see exactly ass-point-two of that bonus. Hilarity ensues.


Detroit
Chain retailers start clearing out. Leaving the field clear for entrepreneurs and independents.

English economists
Send a written apology to the Queen of England for failing to predict the timing and depth of the recession. Sure, it’s easy to say you’re sorry . . .

Everybody sick of the octuplet mom
Just when you thought the airwaves were free from the stench of the octuplet mom, Eyeworks signs a 3-year reality TV deal with Nada Suleman. Proving that reality TV is, indeed, the end of days.

Jim McNerny
CEO of Boeing gets hit with yet another delay on the Dreamliner, which inside engineers claim is about as safe as flying a bucket of piss, and after threatening last week to cancel orders on the troubled 787, says he wants McNerny’s job and would “make heads roll.” Starting, we presume, with Mr. McNerny’s.

Kindle owners
Amazon remotely deletes copies of books from Kindles all over the world even though they had been downloaded legally from Amazon. No-one who paid a whopping 400 smackers for the Amazon e-reader really wanted to know that they have signed on with both Big Brother and Uncle Creepy.

Microsoft (or Apple)
Apple calls Microsoft to complain about the ‘laptop hunters’ ad, and Microsoft edits out all mention of “Apple” and pricing from the ad. Now, either Apple blinked by making the phone call (sending Microsoft’s COO down the hallway doing cartwheels out of sheer joy) or Microsoft blinked by not keeping the pressure up. (Why anyone would pay that steep premium for an Apple, I don’t know.)

News America
The Rupert Murdoch-owned biz responsible for all those annoying TV ads in supermarket lines and garish newspaper circulars, gets hit with a $300 million anticompetitive judgment, with more on the way. And at $1bn in annual revenues, that’s some serious pound of flesh. Guess Obama wasn’t quick enough to get in there and stop it from happening.

Rich people
It’s not “if” but “when” and “what’s rich?” for the a $0.99 iPhone app that gives you the location of registered sex offenders, a surprising top ten iPhone app this week. Meaning some developer is raking in a few thousand dollars every day that passes. Type in an address and out pops a map of all the names and addresses of the sex offenders in your area. Considering that the same information is free on the Web in all 50 states, it’s the most unlikely marketing success I’ve seen in a long time.

United States Post Office
While the rest of us are worrying about big bonuses at big banks, the USPS is rapidly going out of business.

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