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2009年4月30日 星期四

筆記本電腦簡化功能降身價

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筆記本電腦簡化功能降身價
2009年04月24日09:09



濟衰退令個人電腦廠商遭受衝擊﹐但這對電腦買家來說是個好消息。

為了提振銷量﹐惠普(Hewlett-Packard Co.)和戴爾公司(Dell Inc.)等廠商將產品線轉向能吸引節儉買家的低價筆記本電腦。
隨著廠商紛紛推出價格在500美元以下的各式“上網本”﹐這種屏幕較小、處理器性能也較低的筆記本電腦迅速流行開來。最近幾個月﹐電腦公司還開始銷售價格、尺寸和性能介於上網本與傳統筆記本電腦之間的機型。

上為惠普公司推出的Pavilion dv2﹐下為戴爾公司
出品的Inspiron Mini 12
這類價格較低的新機型有其侷限。上網本的性能不足﹐無法進行視頻編輯或是玩圖像密集型的游戲。跟新推出的許多中端機型一樣﹐上網本通常也沒有光驅。

本月﹐惠普開始以699美元的價格發售一款小巧的12.
1英寸筆記本電腦﹐Pavilion dv2。此前惠普這個尺寸的筆記本電腦都是針對商業用戶﹐價格在999美元以上。新機型沒有內置光驅﹐但配有外接光驅。與此同時﹐戴爾推出了一款12英寸的上網本Inspiron Mini 12﹐大小幾乎與普通筆記本電腦無異﹐售價399美元。

亞洲電腦廠商宏碁股份有限公司(Acer Inc.)和聯想集團有限公司(Lenovo Group Ltd.)也已擴大了低端產品陣容﹐
推出了六七款新的筆記本電腦﹐售價均在800美元以下。率先推出上網本的華碩電腦有限公司(Asustek Computer Inc.)最近推出了幾款不到350美元的新機型。

比起以前的低價機型﹐
許多新推出的低端電腦擁有更大的內存和速度更快的處理器。以Toshiba America Inc.為例﹐這家公司去年年底將其售價699美元的17英寸筆記本電腦的內存擴充了兩倍。該公司負責美國市場營銷的Philip Osako說﹐東芝還計劃擴大低端筆記本電腦的標準硬盤容量。他說﹐公司將在今年晚些時候針對美國用戶推出新的低價小型電腦。

這一切意味著2009年電腦買家似乎可以大揀便宜。
據研究公司NPD Group的數據﹐2月份筆記本電腦平均售價從上年同期的864美元下降至671美元。這是可獲得的最新數據。

NPD分析師貝克(Stephen Baker)說﹐這樣的價格創下了電腦行業的最低紀錄。
他還表示﹐預計電腦廠商在提高越來越便宜的筆記本電腦性能的過程中會大打價格戰﹐並預計從現在到今年年底電腦價格可能再下降10%。

眾多新款低價筆記本電腦的面世標誌著電腦行業的一個重大轉變。
過去五年中﹐電腦行業實力最強的幾家廠商一直在引導消費者購買時尚的高端電腦﹐部分原因是為了跟蘋果公司(Apple Inc.)的高端產品競爭。電腦廠商絕非棄高端產品於不顧。上個月戴爾開始銷售新款超薄筆記本電腦Adamo﹐售價2,000美元。但戴爾負責營銷的約翰•紐(John New)說﹐我們對產品開發方面的投資非常謹慎。

低價也加速了個人電腦從台式電腦向筆記本電腦的轉變。
Endpoint Technologies分析師羅傑•凱(Roger Kay)說﹐十年前台式電腦的均價在1,000美元左右﹐而筆記本電腦的均價接近2,000美元。但隨著價格差距幾乎消失﹐消費者的天平也傾向了便攜式電腦。研究機構iSuppli Corp.的數據顯示﹐2008年第三季度﹐筆記本電腦的銷量首次超過了台式電腦。NPD的數據顯示﹐今年2月台式電腦的平均售價是658美元﹐僅比筆記本電腦均價低了13美元。

這吸引了像阿倫•拉文德蘭(Arun Ravindran)這樣的消費者。
拉文德蘭是加州的一名IT顧問﹐他此前一直使用自己買部件攢的台式電腦。拉文德蘭說﹐我一直想要一部小巧便攜的筆記本電腦﹐但此前索尼(Sony Inc.)等公司的產品價格都在1,000美元以上﹐實在太貴了。

今年低價電腦開始上市之後﹐
拉文德蘭花了380美元買了一部10英寸的華碩(Asus)易PC筆記本電腦。他現在用新電腦工作和更新博客。拉文德蘭說﹐他喜歡這部電腦的輕便小巧﹐只不過運行速度比不上原先的台式電腦﹐而且也沒有光驅。

去年消費者支出開始放緩之後﹐
個人電腦製造商和零售商開始將目光對準低端市場。以東芝為例﹐該公司管理層決定開始專注於以更低的價格提供更強大的性能。Osako說﹐東芝瞭解消費者會對他們的消費進行調整﹐因此東芝希望對公司戰略也作出相應的調整。

在這個月的一個活動上﹐宏碁推出了一個新的筆記本電腦產品系列﹐
其中包括名為Acer Aspire Timeline的系列超薄筆記本﹐售價799美元起。這些新產品使用了英特爾(Intel Corp.)低電壓處理器﹐能夠保證八小時的電池續航能力。

宏碁泛美業務負責人魯迪•史密奈(Rudi Schmidleithner)說﹐宏碁計劃通過低價策略﹐
未來數年在銷量方面超過戴爾﹐並取代惠普的老大地位。他說﹐我們不需要很大的利潤率。

儘管上網本的小巧低價吸引了很多消費者﹐但戴爾的紐說﹐
這類電腦並不適合所有人。上網本低電壓處理器在進行視頻編輯等任務時性能不佳﹐而且它們沒有光驅等一些個人電腦的基本部件。

凱說﹐上網本有著很高的退貨率﹐
購買者對它們的性能感到失望就是原因之一﹐用戶有時候會驚訝地發現它們運行視頻文件竟然如此拖沓緩慢。

不過﹐對戴維斯(Mac Davis)這樣的用戶來說﹐低價電腦的功能已經足夠強大了。
25歲的戴維斯是曼哈頓的一名電腦系統管理員。今年早些時候他價值1,200美元的13英寸蘋果MacBook筆記本電腦壞掉之後﹐戴維斯覺得不值得花800美元去修復它﹐因為他根本不會去進行視頻編輯等需要快速處理器的任務。於是他花440美元新買了一部10英寸的聯想上網本﹐然後又安裝了99美元的蘋果電腦操作系統Mac OS Leopard。

戴維斯說﹐我本來想再買一部MacBook﹐但又想省錢﹐
所以就買了這部聯想上網本。他說﹐上網本在處理文字和上網方面速度和MacBook差不多。而且上網本還輕了很多﹐運行他的iTunes軟件和工作中用到的程序也相當不錯。

Justin Scheck / Loretta Chao

2009年4月29日 星期三

Free Rides for Students on Amazon's Cloud

Amazon.com on Wednesday is launching a grant program that offers professors, researchers and students free access to its popular Web services - the storage and processing power that it usually rents on a per-use basis. The program, dubbed AWS in Education, will offer $100 per student worth of free usage of [...]

Amazon.com on Wednesday is launching a grant program that offers professors, researchers and students free access to its popular Web services – the storage and processing power that it usually rents on a per-use basis.

cloud_D_20090429120912.jpgGetty Images

The program, dubbed AWS in Education, will offer $100 per student worth of free usage of its services, but only to courses and academics approved by Amazon. Faculty and researchers around the globe can apply online for the grants, which will be judged on the “originality” of their ideas. Amazon has committed to donating at least $1 million worth of free AWS access, but doesn’t have a set timeline.

The idea is to give students access to the same hardware and processing power in the “cloud”–where information is stored and processed on computers somewhere else and brought back to your screen–that is becoming increasingly popular with professional software developers.

The hope, said Adam Selipsky, Amazon’s vice president of product management and developer relations, is that a future generation of tech startups and chief technology officers will someday return the favor by choosing to use Amazon in their professional work.

“A lot of the students in these classes –- and a lot of the researchers who are out there in universities — are influential voices in the developer and IT community. And we think that having them educated on our services will benefit the developer community, and of course, our efforts as well,” said Selipsky.

Why don’t these universities just run their own servers to offer this technology to their own faculty and students? “Very few people have extra capital to be throwing around now,” said Selipsky. “They are trying to do more in IT while spending less.”

A $100 from Amazon Web services is equivalent to 1,000 hours –- more than a month — of processing on the company’s Elastic Compute Cloud, or EC2. Or it could buy one month of storage of 666 gigabytes worth of data on Amazon’s Simple Storage Service, or S3.

Amazon has previously offered informal grants to classes such as Harvard College’s 300-student introductory computer science course , and research projects such as the Malaria Atlas Project at Oxford.

Amazon isn’t alone in trying to court the favor of young programmers. Microsoft offers a free program called DreamSpark to college and high school students to give them access to professional-level developer and designer tools and training.


2009年4月27日 星期一

企業如何在經濟風暴中發現機會?/ 危機時刻方顯路易威登本色

2009年 04月 27日 10:34
企業如何在經濟風暴中發現機會?



在企業不得不面對經濟風暴﹐但這并不是第一次。雖然沒有兩次經濟危機是完全一樣的﹐但從過去仍能得到刻骨銘心的教訓。

為了瞭解企業在以往的艱難歲月是如何生存﹐甚至發展壯大的﹐我們同商業歷史學家、作家、哈佛商學院工商管理教授科恩(Nancy F. Koehn)進行了交流。以下是談話摘要。

走出困境

《華爾街日報》:你最喜歡的有關公司從危機中起死回生的範例是什麽?

科恩:最先出現在腦海的是海因茨(Henry Heinz)﹐他在1869年創立了亨氏(Heinz Co.)。

他艱苦創業﹐主要在匹茲堡地區銷售醬菜和泡菜﹐業務取得了迅猛的發展。他是一位出色的推銷員。

到了1875年﹐一場突如其來的銀行業危機令他很難得到短期信貸──正像現在我們從報紙上看到的問題──他隨之倒閉了。他被迫出售父母的家具﹐以支付其設備的留置權。但3個月後﹐他就東山再起了。

《華爾街日報》:他是怎麼做的?

科恩:他想方設法讓員工重新回來工作﹐並延遲工資發放。他找到了一些租用他設備的人﹐然後以半價租了回來。

在一年之內﹐他推出了番茄醬﹐他這次也吸取了一些非常重要的經驗教訓﹐並作出了一些重要的創新。

第一個教訓是:自己要同非常值得信賴的人開展業務﹐因為企業在信貸危機中迅速破產原因之一是因為他的合作伙伴拋棄了他。其次﹐一定要瞭解你的需求。第三﹐儘快收回應收賬款。

創新是關鍵。亨氏通過推出番茄醬和其它大量相關的產品建立和滿足了市場。

《華爾街日報》:是什麼促使他在剛剛經歷了這次失敗後就決定開始一個新的產品?

Stuart Cahill
科恩(Nancy F. Koehn)
科恩:他只是想:我還可以賣給消費者什麼產品﹐既讓他們負擔得起﹐又建立在我自己的專業知識基礎之上?所以這是結合了“我有什麼”、“我知道什麼”和“消費者需要什麼”的問題。

《華爾街日報》:市場營銷在低迷時期發揮了什麼作用?

科恩:在 上世紀30年代初的大蕭條時期﹐寶潔公司(Procter & Gamble Co.)說過﹐我們將竭盡全力營銷我們的產品﹐我們要在收音機上營銷──這類似於那個時代的互聯網──我們還將讚助這些小戲劇──這這就是它們最終被稱為 肥皂劇的原因。因此﹐(衰退時的一個教訓)就是市場﹐市場。不要削減營銷。

《華爾街日報》:你還研究過哪些不同尋常的衰退時期的策略?

科恩:我想國際商業機器公司(IBM)的沃特森(Tom Watson Sr.)在大蕭條時候的做法有些近乎瘋狂。

1932 年﹐他宣佈IBM將投資100萬美元在紐約州單獨建立一個打孔制表機研發實驗室。當時這個領域的所有其它企業都在削減研發支出。沃特森實際上是在僱用更多 的人、建造更多的機器﹐並且還告訴工廠﹐即使他不能賣掉機器﹐他那就繼續增加庫存。這給公司帶來了巨大的壓力。它們沒有賣出所有機器。

到了1935年﹐羅斯福總統簽署了社會保障法﹐公司和政府兩方面的數據處理因此也帶來了巨大的市場。這個有趣的例子顯示了一個人是如何相信他製造的產品擁有市場﹐和堅信市場遲早會重新復甦的。

蟄伏過深

《華爾街日報》:當你現在閱讀財經媒體的新聞時﹐是否認為企業現在過於縮手縮腳了?

科恩:是的。總的來說﹐美國商界領袖和其他管理人員幾個月都處於恐懼狀態中﹐主要是沖動的、恐懼驅動的快速反應模式。鑒於此次衰退的力度和速度﹐這是很自然的現象。

《華爾街日報》:首席執行長現在需要什麼樣的領導特質?

科恩:領導人需要像企業家那樣思考和行動。我在哈佛商學院的同事史蒂文森(Howard Stevenson)曾將企業家定義為“在不考慮現有資源的情況下對機會的不懈追求。”這個定義的精髓目前非常重要。我們應該像許多人那樣思考在全球的動盪之中潛伏著的各種機會。

DAVID KESMODEL
*****

2009年 04月 24日 14:17
危機時刻方顯路易威登本色


侈品行業在經濟衰退的過程中全線受挫﹐無一倖免。在消費者捂緊荷包之際﹐百貨公司被迫提供大幅折扣並清理庫存﹐導致整個奢侈品行業的銷售額在第一季度遭受衝擊。

不 過經濟衰退卻使最有價值的品牌顯得更加出類拔萃。譬如說路易威登(LVMH)。儘管其手表和珠寶銷售額下降27%且酒類銷售額下降16%﹐但第一季度整體 銷售額卻較上年同期增長了4%。這是因為﹐作為公司最大業務部門、並且包含路易威登品牌的時裝和皮革製品業務的銷售額增長了11%。

與路易威登相似﹐古琦(Gucci)也是PPR公司的明星品牌﹐其銷售額增長了11%。但這並不足以彌補該公司大眾零售業務銷售額的下滑﹐該公司銷售總額下降了2.6%。Burberry經典的格子花紋設計幫助其下半財年收入實現了2%的增長。

Burberry的預期本益比高達14.7倍﹐原因之一就是其擁有一個強大的世界級品牌。路易威登和PPR的預期本益比分別為13.8倍和10.6倍。

這些品牌的另一個與眾不同之處就是批發和零售模式的區別。投資者可能還沒有体會到路易威登在這方面的優勢。路易威登品牌的所有產品只在自有品牌店和百貨商店內的自有和自營精品店銷售。

雖然這會增加管理費用和租金成本﹐但卻帶來了更大的定價權並避免了第三方零售商大力清理庫存的風險(這種風險至少還將持續六個月)。而且由於交貨週期較長﹐批發銷售通常滯後於經濟週期﹐因此真正的痛苦現在才剛剛到來。

對 於Burberry來說﹐其批發銷售通常佔到總銷售的40%左右。雖然在截至去年12月底的三個月中﹐其批發銷售額增長8%而零售銷售額下降3%﹐但在今 年前三個月﹐批發銷售額卻大幅下滑21%﹐而同期零售銷售額卻增長3%。隨著經濟寒流衝擊批發業務﹐美國各大百貨商店把Burberry 2009年秋冬產品庫存削減了20%-25%。

路易威登的自有品牌店模式也面臨著銷售下滑的風險﹐但目前看來﹐能夠更好地控制自己最重要品牌的銷售﹐其利大於弊。在經濟困難時期﹐對品牌傷害最深的就是降價。這樣說來﹐路易威登的本益比似乎不應該低於Burberry。


Molly Neal

2009年4月26日 星期日

Does H.P. Need a Dose of Anarchy?

Does H.P. Need a Dose of Anarchy?

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Mark V. Hurd has remade Hewlett-Packard into the world’s largest technology company, but critics wonder whether it is too focused on humdrum, low-profit business areas.


Published: April 25, 2009

Palo Alto, Calif.

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Times Topics: Hewlett-Packard Company | Mark V. Hurd

Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

Carl Taussig, the head of H.P.’s Information Surfaces Lab, left, with Albert Jeans, checking work on a flexible display.

Business Wire

A Hewlett-Packard computer, above, uses the company’s TouchSmart software, which lets people manipulate items by just touching the screen.

Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

Prith Banerjee, the director of H.P. Labs, which has cut its projects.

Paul Sakuma/Associated Press

The designer Vivienne Tam helped H.P. create a more fashionable laptop.

IT all seems obvious when viewed through hindsight’s pristine lens: Hewlett-Packard didn’t need a reinvention. It just needed some fierce fiscal discipline to transform itself from a bumbling, lost soul into a well-oiled profit machine.

At its core, H.P.’s turnaround works against the natural order of things in Silicon Valley, where people talk about technology first and finances a distant second. The frenetic hunt for the next big thing has helped a select few endure decades of busts and booms, and they have always left it to the bean counters to obsess about the bottom line.

So it took a true outsider, in Mark V. Hurd, to engineer H.P.’s resurrection and to create the world’s largest technology company. Mr. Hurd, hired four years ago in the wake of Carleton S. Fiorina’s tumultuous departure as chief executive, forced a steady, boring diet of performance benchmarks, heavy-handed cost-cutting and data-mining down H.P.’s corporate throat.

“Silicon Valley is not known for creating lean organizations, and he’s as good as we have ever seen,” said Michael S. Malone, a historian who wrote “Bill and Dave,” a book about the company’s renowned co-founders, William Hewlett and David Packard. “He’s taught a lesson in what big-time corporate management looks like.”

But with the most brutal cuts behind it, H.P. faces a fresh set of challenges as the second stage of Mr. Hurd’s tenure begins. Most pressing is widespread concern that Mr. Hurd has built an inflexible, solipsistic giant so obsessed with schematics and data-driven fiscal machinations that it has lost the ability to deliver that prized and perennial Silicon Valley trick: to surprise and astound.

Although H.P. is trying to expand its presence in businesses like personal computers and printers, some critics argue that those markets have little left to give. The company could also use more imaginative thinking to bolster its developing line of software products and services.

In short, what may be missing in the formidable intellectual and strategic artillery that Mr. Hurd brings to bear at H.P. is creative inspiration. Or, as Mr. Malone puts it, “I am not sure Mark has built an H.P. that can go through the natural changes that accompany the technology industry as the company has in the past.”

If you posit this idea to any of the company’s top executives, they’ll dismiss it. H.P. has plenty of room to grow, they say — in printers, computers, software or services — and has a firm grasp of the technology industry’s nature and undulations. If you don’t believe such talk, that’s fine, they say — just look at the numbers for any convincing.

“When you hear me talk, I have four quadrants in my head simultaneously,” Mr. Hurd says, outlining a mental tableau that encompasses H.P.’s operations (Quadrant 1), products (Quadrant 2), business and technology trends (Quadrant 3) and competitors (Quadrant 4). Visions of metrics dance in his mind, and he speaks of them with a passion and devotion that has clearly filtered through the ranks — and H.P.’s results.

While that approach also offers a contained, orderly way for Mr. Hurd to tackle his challenges, it isn’t necessarily a recipe for the kind of fertile brainstorming that leads to creative breakthroughs in the tech world.

Steven P. Jobs, the co-founder and chief of Apple, has never discussed quadrants when speaking about products like the iPod and the iPhone, and has dismissed the value of using focus groups to inform design projects. Sometimes consumers need to be shown what they want, Mr. Jobs has said.

MR. HURD, 52, often strums a tabletop like a pianist as he delves into business minutiae, his enthusiasm measured by the steady clack-clacking of his gold wedding band. He also enjoys riffling through a flip chart, tracing and disgorging a panoply of figures with the ease of a symphony conductor. Indeed, his flip chart is so precious to him that it accompanies him on the road.

“He always has that giant white pad and his magic markers,” says Jeffrey Katzenberg, the chief executive of DreamWorks Animation, who says he sometimes has trouble parsing Mr. Hurd’s scrawls.

But for a numbers guy like Mr. Hurd, H.P. is a fantasy land, and the path for navigating it couldn’t be clearer.

“He shows a remarkable familiarity with the balance sheet and amazing depth with numbers,” says Matt Lavallee, the director of technology for the MLS Property Information Network, a real estate service, who talked with Mr. Hurd during a recent customer event. “He’s the most impressive executive I have ever met.”

Thanks to mega-acquisitions and strong growth, H.P. has emerged as the largest buyer of many components that go into computing systems. It buys about one-fifth of Intel’s chips used in PCs and servers, surpassing all rivals. And its purchasing power should increase as the innards of PCs, servers, storage systems and networking gear overlap more and more every year.

H.P. has used its heft as a weapon, playing suppliers off one another, especially during lean times like now, to keep costs as low as possible. Ever to the point, Mr. Hurd says that “if you don’t have scale, and you don’t have leverage, you won’t be able to give the customer what the customer wants.”

In recent years, the company has demonstrated an ability to balance chasing growth with its internal cuts.

Although industry pundits had derided the PC business as a lost cause, H.P. has expanded its computer division sales by $15.6 billion over the last four years, hitting $42.3 billion in total sales last year. During a similar period, computer sales at Dell rose to $35.8 billion, from $35.2 billion.

Just as astonishing, H.P. declared in February that it could shoot past Wall Street’s earnings targets for the full year — at a time when its sales may come in about $18 billion lower than expected because of frozen consumer and corporate spending.

Mr. Hurd attributes this performance to having banged out agreements with suppliers during better days and the company’s ability to turn far-flung corporate dials to fine-tune operations when customers suddenly stop buying.

His own intensity adds to the corporate mojo. Athletic and tightly focused, he comes from a relatively privileged background. His father attended Yale, and his mother, the daughter of a Park Avenue doctor, was introduced to society at a dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria. Growing up in New York and then Miami, he attended college preparatory schools and went to Baylor University in Waco, Tex., on a tennis scholarship.

“He had long hair, wore tennis shorts and was a religious devotee of the courts," says Max Sandlin, a former congressman from Texas, who was president of Mr. Hurd’s fraternity. “At the time, most of us would have thought Mark more likely to be the next Jimmy Connors than the C.E.O. of H.P.”

After Baylor, Mr. Hurd joined NCR, a quiet maker of cash-register equipment and automated teller machines, based in Dayton, Ohio. While not a self-made man in the classic sense, he is by all accounts a self-made business mind who manufactured his own luck and turned himself into a star at NCR, and over the course of 25 years excelled in a number of jobs, including running NCR’s flashiest division, a database unit called Teradata.

Mr. Hurd flourished at Teradata, creating a fast-growing business within NCR that caught executives’ attention and ultimately led to his promotion as chief of the entire company. More important, he evolved during those years into a manager both feared and admired for his command of numbers.

“Mark provided a level of stability and leadership that inspired people,” says Jim Murphy, who spent more than a decade at Teradata in sales. “He is the kind of guy you were willing to follow despite the pressure that comes with his constant drive to focus on metrics.”

That drive played out on the basketball and tennis courts, as well, where Mr. Hurd made it clear that he was always out to win. “He is a vicious athlete and competitor,” Mr. Murphy says. “He would get pretty hot-headed and jaw with people.”

At H.P., Mr. Hurd’s reputation for having a quick mind and a quick temper has only grown. It’s common for executives to recount stories about his noticing a lowered forecast in a presentation, slamming his briefing materials down and, with an ever-present salty tongue, ordering that the situation be fixed before their next meeting.

For his part, Mr. Hurd is not about to give up his blunt style. “I go all over the place,” he says. “I do like the ability to go around the company at different levels to find the people that have the actual answers to the question.”

MR. HURD’S zeal has had a controversial reception at one of his company’s most admired divisions, H.P. Labs. Historically, the unit has been the most freewheeling part of the company, charged with creating new businesses out of thin air. Over the years, the products coming out of the labs have revitalized the company’s business during lulls.

Since Mr. Hurd arrived, H.P. Labs has whittled down the number of projects it tackles at any given time to 30, from about 150. Prith Banerjee, the director of H.P. Labs, has dismissed the castoffs as interesting science projects and championed the survivors as big bets with the most commercial potential.

Yet the often idiosyncratic researchers now find themselves writing up business plans and dealing directly with customers rather than funneling their ideas out to people more experienced in such matters.

For example, Carl Taussig, who runs H.P.’s Information Surfaces Lab, a part of H.P. Labs, has teamed with the Army, Arizona State University, DuPont Teijin Films and E Ink to produce flexible display technology that might be used like electronic paper or to create cheaper screens in mobile devices.

“H.P. Labs has a bigger burden now in creating a path toward commercialization,” Mr. Taussig said. “It’s more work, and it’s different work.”

But H.P.’s businesslike approach to research and curtailed money for the labs have former employees concerned about the company’s future. “I think they are seriously underspending on research and development,” says Charles H. House, who worked at H.P. for 29 years, overseeing the creation of 12 product lines. “It seems to me that betting on new areas is a struggle for them.”

Shane Robison, the company’s chief strategy and technology officer, argues that few companies can match the breadth of its research, in areas as varied as printing systems and data mining. Some of the most impressive work has been in nanotechnology and optics, where engineers do nothing less than manipulate light to move data around computers at ground-breaking speeds.

“This is fundamental, breakthrough stuff,” Mr. Robison says. He later added, “It’s just goofy to get into a debate about whether you’re spending enough money.”

A believer in long-term planning, Mr. Hurd says the company still has plenty to show the world. “You would not want to short H.P. on its ability to innovate,” he says.

Its biggest bets surround the plain-vanilla business of providing technology infrastructure to clients. H.P. believes that customers want to buy as much of those products and services from one company as possible — a move that is, yes, data-driven.

H.P. expects the amount of information produced by companies to keep rising along with their desire to analyze that data. More data means more servers, storage and networking gear — and, for as long as companies print paper records of their computing results — plenty of purchases of H.P.’s expensive printer ink.

At the heart of the company’s infrastructure play is Electronic Data Systems, the technology services company it acquired last year that manages customers’ data center operations. H.P. is laying off tens of thousands of employees as it tries to revivify the company and make it an integral part of its offerings to corporate customers.

But critics, most notably I.B.M., castigate H.P. as more or less the dull grunt of the tech world that has doubled down on humdrum, low-profit businesses. If years of price wars for parts and infrastructure services ensue, H.P. will face serious pressure on the cost structure it has worked so hard to achieve.

“There are still lots of opportunities for H.P. to cut costs out, but at some point its ability to do that at the rate of the last few years certainly diminishes,” said A. M. Sacconaghi, a technology analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company.

Because Mr. Hurd has so ably rationalized the company’s cost structure, he now has to prove that he can foster a culture capable of building a second wave of growth — which zeroes back in on the creativity question.

In that regard, the future looks murky. Current and former employees complain that Mr. Hurd has put so much pressure on the organization that the willingness to take risks has faded. Quarterly business unit reviews with Mr. Hurd are known to be intense and probing and to inspire plenty of worry.

Adding to this is a fear that morale has declined because of benefits cuts and a pay-for-performance rewards structure that creates deep fissures between the haves and the have-nots. Mr. Hurd faced similar criticisms at NCR.

“I am not here trying to tell you it’s perfect,” he says, adding that workers complain about bureaucracy and the process-driven practices creeping into their jobs. “I think at the end of the day all these things come with a price.”

Mr. Hurd, however, contends that internal surveys provide a more accurate view of the company than scattered anecdotes and reveal a satisfied work force. The company’s strong, consistent financial performance has restored its luster as a Silicon Valley icon and imbued employees with pride, he says.

“There is a tremendous attraction for the people to the scale, the opportunity, the entrepreneurship,” he says. “For us, it is a big deal to attract talent that can flourish in an environment like this and take advantage of our scale without it becoming an issue for them.”

A COMPANY of 321,000 people can move only so nimbly, and H.P. has fallen behind in some of the most promising parts of the market.

It arrived late with a line of netbooks, the low-cost, compact laptops that have taken the world by storm, opening doors for its rival Acer. And, over the last few years, a wide variety of online services has captured the attention of consumers and businesses, but H.P. has struggled to make its name synonymous with so-called cloud computing.

Despite talking so much about data and the powers of information analysis, the company trails rivals like I.B.M. and Oracle when it comes to building the most sophisticated business software.

Another glaring weakness resides on the gadget front, where the company concedes an innovation lapse and continues to sell a relatively unpopular smartphone. (H.P. promises that better phones are in the pipeline.)

With its software gurus, its newfound penchant for design and its deep ties to retailers, H.P. might have been expected to disrupt the cellphone market with new devices or even to concoct an electronic book reader that would complement its printer business. Instead, it’s Apple and Amazon that built vibrant new businesses around such products.

“In spite of the fact that there are things we could always do a better job on, innovating and so forth, I don’t think we have ever felt stronger about our portfolio of products and services and our opportunity to serve the market,” Mr. Hurd says. “I don’t think we think we’re confused about what the market wants.”

To H.P.’s credit, it read the PC market just right in recent years, capitalizing on a surge in laptops and retail sales. It revamped the look of its products, developed a distinctive ad campaign and began to assert more independence.

For example, the company built a fanciful laptop in tandem with the fashion designer Vivienne Tam; it looks as much like a purse as a computer. And H.P.’s most daring move may have come with its TouchSmart software that lets people manipulate items on their computer screens with their fingers, while also adding a distinct look and feel to the company’s gear.

On the printing side, the company feels poised to capitalize on another megatrend: a shift to digital presses for industrial jobs like making magazines and labels. Every percentage point of additional share in this market translates into immense profits for H.P., which pours research and development dollars into proprietary ink.

Mr. Hurd points again and again to the company’s scale and diversity as its major advantages.

Companies like I.B.M. and Dell have also emerged as the largest buyers of components during different eras, says Intel’s chief executive, Paul S. Otellini. Typically, the companies have started to struggle just as their buying heft approaches that of H.P., when gains prove tougher to come by and unexpected, nimble competitors emerge. That said, the tech industry has never encountered a giant the size of H.P.

“I do think Mark has carved out a unique opportunity that comes from selling everything from servers to phones,” Mr. Otellini says.

In the end, Mr. Hurd says he’s not worried about his image as a numbers mercenary and refuses to fret about how others view his approach as H.P. tries to innovate its way toward growth.

“When I was at Teradata, I got called a growth guy. And then when I became C.E.O. of the whole company, I got called a cost-cutter,” Mr. Hurd says. “Then, I came to H.P. and became an operations guy.

“To be very blunt, I am not really that concerned with what labels get associated with somebody. I know we have a whole bunch of things to get done.”

2009年4月16日 星期四

coke

事公司(PepsiCo Inc.)週一對可口可樂(Coca-Cola Co.)提起訴訟﹐稱可口可樂運動飲料Powerade ION 4的廣告歪曲百事Gatorade飲料的功能。

百事一家子公司是在紐約聯邦地區法庭起訴可口可樂的。訴訟所指廣告現正在平面媒體、廣告牌、店堂展示牌和一家重新推出的網站上登出。這些廣告說﹐Gatorade“漏掉了”鈣、鎂這兩種關鍵電解質。Gatorade目前在美國運動飲料市場佔據約80%的份額。

百事的訴狀指出﹐Powerade ION 4本身這兩種電解質的含量還不到成人推薦攝入量的0.5%﹐而且沒有跡象表明它們改善了飲料的品質。bPepsiCo Inc. sued Coca-Cola Co. Monday, claiming that Coke is running advertisements for Powerade ION 4 sports drinks that misrepresent the effectiveness of Pepsi's Gatorade.

The ads cited in the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York by a Pepsi unit, are currently running in print, on billboards, in store displays and on a relaunched Web site. They say that Gatorade, which holds about an 80% share of the U.S. sports-drink market, is 'missing' two key electrolytes, calcium and magnesium.

Pepsi's lawsuit claims Powerade ION4's own levels of those electrolytes represent less than 0.5% of the recommended dietary intake for adults, and there is no evidence that they improve the beverage.

In its complaint, Pepsi claims Coke's advertising harms Gatorade's 44-year-old brand, especially as the image of a half-bottle of Gatorade labeled 'incomplete' is juxtaposed with a 'beauty shot' of Powerade ION4.

'The truth is scientists say there is no evidence that Powerade ION4 is a more complete sports drink than Gatorade,' a Pepsi spokesman said.

Pepsi asked that the ads stop immediately, especially as 'the biggest selling season for sports drinks is beginning.'

Coke said the company stands behind its product and is 'prepared to defend the role that Powerade plays in hydrating consumers.'

Pepsi and Coke have routinely challenged each other in court. In 2006, Pepsi sued Coke over its television ads for Powerade Option, a low-calorie sports drink. Coke settled out of court. In 2007, a federal judge dismissed a Coke lawsuit that charged Pepsi with patent infringement on a collapsible bag that dispenses syrup for fountain sodas.

Valerie Bauerlein

百事在起訴書中稱﹐可口可樂的廣告損害了已有44歷史的Gatorade品牌﹐特別是廣告中將一個貼有“不足”標簽的半瓶Gatorade的圖像與Powerade ION4的“特寫”形像並列在一起﹐這種做法的損害尤其嚴重。

百事一位發言人表示﹐實際情況是﹐科學家表示﹐沒有跡象表明Powerade與Gatorade相比功能上更完善。

百事要求上述廣告立刻停止傳播﹐特別是考慮到運動飲料的銷售旺季正在開始。

可口可樂表示﹐公司充分支持自己的產品﹐並準備捍衛Powerade在為消費者提供補水功能方面扮演的角色。

百事和可口可樂互相將對方訴諸法庭已是家常便飯。2006年﹐百事起訴可口可樂低熱運動飲料Powerade Option的電視廣告。可口可樂後在法庭外達成和解。2007年﹐可口可樂指控百事用於蘇打水糖漿的折疊袋侵犯了它的專利﹐被聯邦法官駁回。

Valerie Bauerleinbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb

2009年4月13日 星期一

ROBERT JOSS

DEAN PROFILE: ROBERT JOSS OF STANFORD BUSINESS SCHOOL

By Rebecca Knight 2009-04-13


When Bob Joss arrived at for the first time as a young PhD student in 1965, business was not considered much of an academic discipline.

“It was for students who couldn't get into law school or medical school,” he recalls. “We were second-class citizens looked down upon by the academy.”

When he arrived at Stanford for the second time in 1999 – this time as the business school's eighth dean – things had changed.

“Now business schools are at the centre of the university,” he says. “It's increasingly hard to be a great university without a great business school.”

Prof Joss retires this year after an enormously successful 10 years at the helm at one of the most prestigious business schools in the world.

During his tenure, he raised hundreds of millions of dollars for Stanford, helped develop the redesigned MBA curriculum and – his proudest accomplishment – forged bonds within the university to encourage greater collaboration among students and faculty.

“Everyone is talking about it, and Stanford is doing it,” says Prof Joss, 67. “Business schools are by definition multi-disciplinary schools. We have social psychologists, statisticians, political scientists, economists coming together and concentrating on a problem: how do you get an organisation to work better?”

A native of Washington state, he spent most of his career in banks.

Prof Joss received his PhD from Stanford in 1970, and went to Washington DC as a White House Fellow and deputy to the assistant secretary for economic policy at the US Treasury department.

Deciding against a career in academia, he joined Wells Fargo Bank in 1971, rising to vice-chairman in 1985.

He left Wells Fargo to become the chief executive of Australia's Westpac Banking Corporation in 1993, where he was credited with managing its turnround.

Prof Joss rethought the bank's strategy, directed its return to financial health, and restructured the organisation's culture to emphasise teamwork, customer focus, and community support.

After six years in Sydney, he returned to Palo Alto, California at the peak of dotcom mania.

In his first months as dean, cable news crews were constantly on the campus lawn, and it seemed MBA students were forming new internet companies every day.

“Coming back to America from another country, I hadn't been swept up in all this dotcom stuff,” he says.

“There was a hubris that was unreal: the climate and the culture and the unbridled optimism. There was arrogance that anything was possible.”

Prof Joss soon discovered he had a lot to learn about the way academic institutions function.

“I don't know what it's like to be a professor, working your way up, trying to get tenure. I came in as dean, which is a rarefied atmosphere,” he says. “I came to the university understanding that it was a different culture. I knew I needed to listen and learn about the things people value, how decisions are made, how people get ahead.”

He understood one thing in particular: the university was in need of more innovative and cross-disciplinary collaboration.

“We needed to figure out a way to make the university do great things collaboratively.

“What does it take to be a great university in the 21st century? It takes integrating knowledge around big issues like human health, education, climate change,” he says.

Over the past decade, the business school introduced cross-disciplinary MBAs, and two joint degrees: the MBA-MS environment and resources and the MBA-MA in public policy.

Prof Joss also helped launched three academic centres – the Center for Leadership Development and Research, the Center for Social Innovation, and the Center for Global Business and the Economy – that, like the School's Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, created a critical mass of cases, courses and activities in each area.

Prof Joss has been an adept fundraiser as well, increasing the business school endowment from $387m in 1999 to more than $1bn today.

He also accepted one of the largest gifts to a business school – $105m from Philip Knight, the founder of Nike and a Stanford alumnus.

The money will help fund the new 360,000sq ft, environmentally sustainable campus that is expected to be completed in 2011: the Knight Management Center. “The space is going to be fantastic, but what's more important is what's going on in the space,” he says.

In 2007, Stanford introduced its redesigned, highly customised MBA curriculum.

The programme offers a more global view and expanded leadership and communication development. “We're taking a much stronger role around thinking and research around leadership,” he says.

“We've always been good about teaching students how to think critically, but increasingly we want them to have [leadership] experiences while they're still students. To prepare students to actually lead on a global stage.”

The programme has four focus points: first, it aims to give each student a highly personalised experience by offering a wide-ranging menu of courses. Second, it attempts to intensify the school's intellectual experience through smaller, high-impact seminars focused on analytical thinking.

Third, it increases global business education opportunities through both new course options and a required international component.

And finally, it expands the school's focus on leadership and communication through courses that examine students' personal strengths in the topic.

In spite of the deepening global financial crisis, which has in part been blamed on the perceived avarice of Wall Street bankers, Prof Joss still believes business is a righteous occupation.

“By definition, managers are those who get things done through other people, who unleash talent in others. To me that is a tough job. And to do it well is an enormous benefit to society. It is a noble calling.”

“We're looking at something that got out of whack. Management wasn't valued as much as the deal or the transaction,” he says.

“The role of business, the role of good management has never been more important. There's a crying need for it. When it's done poorly, there are terrible consequences.”


1965年,当鲍勃•乔斯(Bob Joss)以年轻博士生的身份首次来到斯坦福大学商学院时,很多人并不把商业视为一门学科。

“只有无法进入法学院或医学院的学生才会来到这里,”他回忆道。“我们是二等公民,在学术界被人瞧不起。”

1999年,当他第二次来到斯坦福时——这一次他是作为该校第八任院长——情况发生了变化。

“如今,商学院变成了大学的中心,”他表示。“如果没有优秀的商学院,要想成为一所优秀的大学已变得越来越困难。”

乔斯将于今年退休。在执掌这所全球最具声望的商学院之一的10年中,他取得了巨大成功。

在他的任期内,他为斯坦福大学商学院筹集了数亿美元资金,帮助开发了重新设计的MBA课程,并建立了校内联系,以鼓励更多的师生合作——这是最令他自豪的成就。

“所有人都在讨论它,斯坦福则正在这么做,”67岁的乔斯表示。“按照定义,商学院属于多学科院校。我们把社会心理学家、统计学家、政治学家、经济学家会聚在一起,关注于一个问题:如何让一个组织更好地运转?”

乔斯是华盛顿州人,大部分职业生涯是在银行度过的。

1970年获得斯坦福大学博士学位后,乔斯以白宫学者的身份来到华盛顿特区,任美国财政部经济政策副部长助理。

1971年,他决定离开学术界,加盟富国银行(Wells Fargo Bank),1985年升至该银行副董事长一职。

1993年,他离开富国银行,成为澳大利亚西太平洋银行(Westpac Banking Corporation)首席执行官,因成功令该银行复苏而受到赞誉。

乔斯反思了该行的战略,指引其重新走上财务健康之路,并改造了该组织的文化,强调团队合作、关注客户以及社区支持。

在悉尼生活了6年后,他在网络热潮巅峰时期回到加州的帕洛阿尔托。

在他担任斯坦福大学商学院院长的头几个月,有线电视新闻工作者经常出现在校园的草坪上,MBA学生似乎每天都在缔造新的互联网公司。

他表示:“由于是从另外一个国家回到美国,我没有陷入这股网络热潮。”

“当时有一种不真实的傲慢气氛:气候、文化和不受拘束的乐观主义。人们傲慢地认为,凡事皆有可能。”

乔斯很快发现,在学术机构的运转方式方面,他还有很多东西需要学习。

“我不知道做一名教授是什么感觉,逐步升迁,设法获得终身职位。我作为院长来到这里,这种情况很少见,”他表示。“我来到斯坦福,明白这是一种不同的文化。我知道我需要聆听,了解人们最看重的是什么,如何决策,人们如何成功。”

他特别清楚一点:这所大学需要更多创新性跨学科合作。

“我们需要找到让斯坦福合作成就大事的办法。”

他说:“在21世纪,要怎样才能成为一所优秀大学呢?它需要把有关人类健康、教育、气候变化等关键问题的知识综合起来。”

过去10年,斯坦福大学商学院推出了跨学科MBA课程以及两种联合学位:MBA-MS环境资源学位以及MBA-MA公共政策学位。

乔斯还帮助创建了3所学术中心——领导力发展和研究中心(Center for Leadership Development and Research)、社会创新中心(Center for Social Innovation)及全球商业经济中心(Center for Global Business and the Economy)。与该商学院的创业研究中心(Center for Entrepreneurial Studies)一样,这些学术中心在每个领域都创建了大量案例、课程和活动。

乔斯还是一位经验丰富的筹款人,该商学院获得的捐赠总额已从1999年的3.87亿美元增至如今的逾10亿美元。

他还接受了所有商学院获得的最大捐赠之一:斯坦福校友、耐克(Nike)创始人菲利普•奈特(Philip Knight)捐赠的1.05亿美元。

这笔资金将用于资助环境可持续的新校区——奈特管理中心(Knight Management Center)。新校区占地36万平方英尺,预计将于2011年完工。他说:“这里会非常棒,但更重要的是这里会发生什么。”

2007年,斯坦福大学商学院推出了经过重新设计、高度个性化的MBA课程。

该课程提供更为全球性的视点,以及领导力和沟通能力的进一步发展。他表示:“我们在关于领导力的思考和研究方面发挥着更为强大的作用。”

“教授学生如何批判性地思考一直是我们的长项,但我们越来越希望他们在学生时代就具备(领导力)经验。准备好让学生们在全球舞台上真正发挥领导作用。”

该课程有4个焦点:首先,它希望通过提供广泛的课程选择,让每个学生都获得高度个性化的体验。其次,试图通过关注于分析性思考、影响巨大的小型研讨会,增强学院的智力体验。

第三,通过新课程选择和必备的国际因素,增加全球性商业教育的机会。

最后,通过考察学生个人优势的课程,加强该学院对领导力和沟通的关注。

本次全球金融危机在一定程度上源自华尔街银行家明显的贪婪。尽管危机不断加剧,但乔斯仍认为商业是一个正直的职业。

“根据定义,经理是那些通过他人完成任务的人,他们会释放他人的才能。在我看来,这是一项艰巨的工作。如果能圆满完成,对社会是一项巨大福利。这是一个高尚的职业。”

他表示:“我们正在关注一些不正常的事情。管理不像交易那样受重视。”

“商业的作用、良好管理的作用从来没有如此重要过。我们非常需要它。如果不能做好,就会造成严重的后果。”

译者/梁艳裳

《FT商学院》



2009年4月11日 星期六

Audio interview: With the king of the Kikkoman

2009年4月7日 星期二

Fusion-io, David Bradford

A Software Combatant Returns as a Hardware CEO


During the 1990s, David Bradford was an important behind-the-scenes player in the inquisition of Microsoft. As general counsel at software maker Novell–where then-CEO Ray Noorda had a positive fixation on its aggressive competitor–Bradford tirelessly dug up examples of questionable Microsoft tactics and supplied it to government antitrust investigators. He would later work under Eric Schmidt, who had a less-than-stellar stint leading Novell before joining Google.


Now Bradford is reemerging on the tech scene in an entirely different capacity–as CEO of a promising hardware startup. Fusion-io, a closely held company in Salt Lake, Tuesday announced Bradford’s appointment along with a $47.5 million infusion from venture capitalists–a rather eye-popping sum given the pervasive gloom over the tech sector at the moment.

Why the interest? Fusion-io is one of many data-storage companies exploiting the plummeting price and rising capacity of chips known as NAND flash memory, long used in iPods, thumb drives and data storage cards for cameras and other portable devices. The latest push is to use flash technology to replace hard drives in places where high speed and low power consumption are paramount–notably in server systems that are stacked up by the hundreds in computer rooms.

The conventional approach has been to package the chips in modules that have the same dimensions and communications links as disk drives, making the components virtually interchangeable. But Fusion-io takes an entirely different path, selling flash-based cards that fit in the same slots used by graphics cards.

That design, Bradford says, offers much greater performance–particularly for applications like databases that can entirely fit a card or two–and uses a tiny fraction of the electrical power require of high-performance storage systems based on disk drives. He estimates Fusion-io has 360 big companies as customers, including “every one of the banks on Wall Street.” And it’s not just a software story; Fusion-io thinks its software expertise will also differentiate the company.

The business plan was intriguing enough that, when Bradford was talking to Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak last year at a conference, the latter agreed to join Fusion-io’s advisory board. Woz–who no longer has to worry about “Dancing With the Stars” duties–now serves as the start-up’s chief scientist, Bradford says.

Fusion-io, which now has about 125 employees, will use the latest funding round to gradually hire 50 or 75 more, Bradford says. That’s good news for Utah’s tech community, which suffered from Novell’s shrinkage but still has plenty of good engineers and programmers, he says.

With the passage of time since the Microsoft-Novell battles, Bradford says he has come to greatly respect how Bill Gates built his company. “I emulate a lot of Microsoft’s behavior in terms of hiring the smartest people,” he says, adding that he counts the software giant as an ally now in marketing Fusion-io’s technology. “We are working with them as a strategic partner,” he says.

2009年4月1日 星期三

法院調解、和解 離婚就生效

法院調解、和解 離婚就生效

修正案初審通過 簡化程序

〔記者曾韋禎、項程鎮、謝文華、許紹軒/台北報導〕有意離婚的男女注意了,未來經法院調解、和解達成離婚協議者,婚姻關係即不存在!

立法院司法及法制委員會昨初審通過「民法增訂第一千零五十二條之一條文草案」,簡化離婚程序,不須再另至戶政機關登記。本案仍須送請立院院會三讀通過。

目前離婚制度只有兩願離婚和法院判決離婚兩種,但法院訴訟實務上有太多案例,夫妻關係已形同水火,但只要有一方不願到戶政機關辦理離婚登記,就算經法院已調解或和解離婚也沒用,新制將可提升法院公信力,解決怨偶問題,提升婚姻品質。

不必攜手辦登記 怨偶福音

根據內政部統計,九十二年到九十六年,我國平均每年約有六萬餘對男女訴請離婚,離婚率變化不大,依序是十二.九七%、十二.四九%、十二.五○%、十二.八四%與十一.六一%。

法務部次長吳陳鐶指出,修法後,透過調解、和解達成離婚協議者,其婚姻關係即自動消滅,效力等同於判決離婚,民眾不去戶政機關辦理變更也無妨,離婚一樣有效。

據現行戶籍法規定,離婚登記事件經法院裁判確定者,經催告後仍不申請者,戶政事務所應逕行為之。未來即使民眾在調解、和解離婚後,沒主動前往戶政機關辦理相關手續,戶政事務所也能以法院寄發的通知逕行辦理。

司法院和法務部對於立院初審通過離婚新制表示歡迎和支持,司法院官員指出,傳統上勸合不勸離,但如今社會風氣已有調整必要;法務部官員也表示,本案通過象徵男女平等權更進一步,也大幅提升女性政經社會地位,不再須要勉強維持婚姻。

至於新制有無可能增加離婚率?各方見解不一,官員表示,就算男女雙方真的一時衝動離了婚,事後冷靜下來願意破鏡重圓,一樣可重新辦理結婚登記。

提升法院公信力 婦團歡迎

司法院官員提醒,新制僅限法院主持的離婚調解或和解才有效,不包括地方鄉鎮區公所調解委員會辦理的婚姻調解,新制也剛好回歸法律規定:「法院調解與和解與確定判決同一效力。」

現代婦女基金會執行長姚淑文曾在法院擔任調解委員,目擊不少想要離婚的男女,原本在法院已經協議離婚,事後卻有一方反悔,不願履行裁定到戶政事務所登記,這使得有意離婚的另一半無法完成手續,權益未獲保障,也破壞法院公平、公正、公開的調解制度。

「台灣性別人權協會」秘書長王蘋也表示,離婚程序簡化,本來就是政府應該做的服務,既然兩個人已沒有意願在一起,死綁著不放,也違反性別自主人權。

李明博﹕韓國曾如何化解了銀行危機

年11月二十國集團領導人在華盛頓召開峰會時﹐我們曾希望到今年一季度基本戰勝金融危機。當時﹐各國領導人主要關注的是採取宏觀經濟刺激措施(主要是財政刺激措施)來縮短這場嚴重的全球衰退。

不 幸的是﹐我們現在仍在奮力應對金融動蕩﹐金融機構也尚未重新贏得投資者的信心。美國政府最近宣佈將擴大計劃規模﹐收購令銀行不堪重負的不良資產。我也和其 他人一樣希望這個計劃能夠取得成功﹐但我認為一場真正的復甦需要所有的國家竭盡所能來穩定經濟。如果各國領導人沒能提出創新性的方法來應對當前的困難﹐信 貸就不會流動起來。

有鑒於此﹐4月初二十國集團領導人聚首倫敦召開峰會時﹐解決金融危機必須成為我們的頭等大事﹐特別要關注如何把不良資產從金融機構資產負債表中剝離出來。

上世紀90年代末﹐韓國曾遭受並且成功戰勝一場金融危機﹐因此我們有寶貴的經驗和教訓與各國分享。遵循以下這些根據韓國經驗總結出來的基本原則﹐在制定不良資產剝離計劃時﹐各國領導人就有了充分準備。

首 先﹐需要採取大膽果決而非循序漸進的措施來重振市場信心。韓國的成功經驗表明了這點。1997-2002年﹐韓國政府動用各種來源籌集了1,276億美元 (合159萬億韓圓)的公共基金(相當於韓國1997年國內生產總值的32.4%)﹐用以解決不良資產﹐向金融機構注資。考慮到當前這場挑戰的規模﹐世界 承擔不起緩進的方式。

其次﹐韓國的經驗表明﹐調整銀行資本結構和創建一個“壞銀行”這 兩種方法並不是非此即彼的選擇﹔“兩手抓”可以獲得積極的效果。韓國建立了一個專門的獨立機構──韓國資產管理公司(Korea Asset Management Corporation)作為壞銀行﹔而同時韓國存款保險公司(Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation)則參與了向金融機構的注資。韓國資產管理公司收購了不良資產﹐並且在這些資產的價值恢復時與金融機構結算損益。它收購了309億 美元的不良資產(到2002年前帳面價值為851億美元)﹐到2008年前﹐它通過各種方法把不良資產轉賣給私人投資者﹐進而收回了339億美元﹐轉手方 式包括公開拍賣、直接出售、國際招標、打包成證券和債券-股本互換。

再次﹐要確保實施的措施在政治上可以被接受、並把道德風險降到了最低 ﹐這一點至關重要。應該為股東、管理人士、雇員和資產持有者設計一個特殊機制﹐讓各方承擔合理份額的負擔。以韓國為例﹐注資對象僅限於那些對整個系統有著 重要意義、並且在資本結構調整後能夠生存下來的金融機構。

第四﹐這些措施應該包含有著明確時間安排的退出戰略。應該制定一個計劃﹐使政府持有的企業股權可以轉手到私營部門。此外﹐對銀行實施國有化不應該是目標﹐而是一種臨時措施。

第 五﹐儘管政府會在這類計劃中起主導作用﹐但是應該鼓勵私人資本充分參與進來。顯然﹐這個過程本身必須是透明的。韓國的經驗表明﹐政府臨時性地以陷入困境的 金融機構同意的價格收購不良資產﹐並且在轉手之後與金融機構結算損益﹐這是有幫助的。今天的不良資產問題根源在表外衍生品﹐所以本質可能和韓國的不同。不 過這一點讓韓國曾經使用過的“事後結算”的做法更加有用。

第六﹐在這個過程中﹐應該反對任何形式的金融保護主義。理想狀況下﹐所有國家將有一個解決不良資產的共同方法。不過﹐考慮到各國的實際金融情況各不相同﹐我們應該讓各個國家自己來制定本國的政策。但各國需要協作來確保正常的跨境資本流動沒有被阻斷。

如 此﹐我歡迎二十國財長會議達成的《恢復放貸﹕金融修復和復甦的框架協議》(Restoring Lending: A Framework for Financial Repair and Recovery)﹐它反映了韓國的提議。不遵循這些原則﹐宏觀經濟刺激措施就不會在緩解嚴重的全球經濟衰退上起太大的作用。

李明博

(編者按﹕本文作者李明博為韓國現任總統。)

中國收入不平等有多嚴重?

中國收入不平等有多嚴重?
2009/04/01 18:22:19



王志浩

中國是世界上收入最不平等的地方之一嗎?有時候真有點這種感覺。上海的街頭,似乎一夜之間冒出很多外鄉的少年,在紅綠燈的間隙,穿梭在擁擠的車流中,向寶馬、奧迪兜售小商品。他們中的一部分人似乎就以城市的橋洞為家。在非洲和拉美一些國家的首都,這是司空見慣的景象。而在上海,這種情況在過去是非常少見的。但是,他們的存在仍然令人記起,還有8,000萬中國人生活在國際貧困線之下。在當前經濟低迷的景況下,可想而知,他們的生計將更加艱難。

一種普遍接受的觀點認為,過去30年的經濟增長,是以收入不平等拉大為代價的,尤其是城鄉之間的收入不平等。根據官方數據,中國基尼系數(用於綜合考察居民內部收入分配差異狀況的一個分析指標)從改革前的0.2-0.25上升到0.45。一些中國學者認為,實際基尼系數可能還要高過這個數字,接近拉美國家的收入差距水平(拉美國際基尼系數一般為0.6-0.7)。胡溫政府在執政之初,就將城鄉收入差距視為中國最大的問題之一, 並一直致力於通過刺激農村地區的內需來扭轉這種失衡局面。

但是,也有學者對這種觀點提出異議。我們將介紹關於中國收入不平等的爭論。


沒有“過去的好日子”


有人說,毛澤東時代是收入平等的時代,真是這樣嗎?在那個時代,農村家庭通過參加集體化農業勞動,根據對集體的貢獻大小(工分)分配得到相應收益。公社醫院和赤腳醫生提供免費的基本醫療保障,實行義務教育。這樣,在同一個村子內部,農民得到大致相同的收入。由於中國南北氣候土地差異很大,耕種高質量土地的農戶的收成就會好於土地貧瘠的農民,所以不同村之間收入差距較大。有人估算,某些村的農業收益是其他一些村的6倍多(當時的數據不足以估算基尼系數,但明顯體現了收入的不平等)。

在毛的時代,大多數城市居民有固定工作。從單位領取工資和勞保(以及分配住房),享受醫療教育等待遇。城市就業者的收入基本相等,不同城市之間的收入差距很低。不過在上世紀50年代,由於禁止農村人口向城市流動,農村地區缺乏工業,全國大部分農副糧食市口被關閉,意味著農村人口整體上比城市人口更為貧窮。據托馬斯﹒羅斯基估算,這一時期城鄉收入之比已高達5或6倍。

所以,改革開放前中國是收入十分平等的社會主義天堂的神話或許可以被打破。當時不僅經濟基礎薄弱,百姓生活貧困,而且也有收入差距。


1980年代以後的變化


中國社會在1980年代以後發生了深刻變化。市場經濟的實行意味著,資本、技能、一個好的創意、或者有能力獲得某個執照,都可以迅速地增加個人收入。沒有這些條件的人日子不太好過,特別是國企打破鐵飯碗,取消福利分房、社會保障和其他補助之後。 在準市場經濟中崛起的國有企業的職工收入得以增長,未能適應新形勢的國企職工的工資降低,其他福利消失。因此,城市內部收入不平等隨著整體收入增長而被拉大。從圖1中我們可以看出這種趨勢。圖 中數據來源於多倫多大學經濟學教授Dwayne Benjamin與其合著者的估算(參見‘Income inequality during China’s economic transition’, 與 Loren Brandt, John Giles,Wang Sangui合著,2005年7月), 他們的研究顯示,1987-2001年期間,中國城鎮平均收入以約6%的速度穩步增長,同時基尼系數也由0.22上升到0.34。


















在農村地區,土地承包到戶之後,勤勞的、擅長農耕並獲得了肥沃土地的農民有機會創造更多收入。鄉鎮企業家和奔赴城市尋找機會的農民兄弟也得以改善經濟狀況。這種情況自然導致了收入差距拉大。但同時,農民工和糧食市場的發展意味著,土地的質量如何,對於決定農民收入的重要性降低。這也就意味著不同農村地區間的收入不平等在下降。90年代初期農產品價格上漲使所有農民受益(同樣90年代末,糧食價格下降也傷害了所有農民的利益)。

世界銀行的學者Martin Ravallion和陳少華的研究發現,生活在貧困線以下的農村人口比例從1980年的76%下 降到1987年的22%(參見 ‘China’s (uneven) progress in poverty reduction’, Journal of Development Economics, 82 (1), 2004)。但在這之後,減貧方面的進展陷於停頓。農村地區整體收入在80年代和90年代初得到增長之後,保持平緩態勢(見圖2)。1987年16%的農村家庭收入不足農村平均收入的一半。1995年,這一比例降至7%。但90年代後半段開始又出現了反復,2001年家庭收入不足平均收入一半的農村家庭所佔比例又上升到11%(見圖4)。黃亞生指出,90年代農村貧困人口的貧困程度加深。農村內部的收入不平等開始超過了城市內部的收入不平等,改革開放以後,農民收入的增幅非常有限。根據Benjamin 等人的數據,1987年農村地區基尼系數(衡量不同農村地區之間的收入分配差異)為0.32 ,到2001上升到0.37。

城鄉之間收入不平等有什麼變化?圖3顯示了中國總人口的收入不平等狀況。1987年到2001年,整體基尼系數由0.37上升到0.44。但是,這些數字還存在著一些問題。

爭議較大的主要包括三個方面,一是收入指標中應包括哪些內容──僅包括工資性收入,還是也包括所享受的社保福利?是否需要考慮生活成本的不同?城鎮地區生活成本高,無疑會侵蝕一部分城鎮職工的收入。另一個問題是數據本身。由於數據敏感性等原因,國家統計局並不公布所有採集到的家庭收入數據。而且,即便是發布出來的數據,收入水平高的人可能傾向於低報收入,以免惹來稅務官的注意,低收入家庭也有可能低報收入,以免失去低收入補貼。


















另一個問題是,近些年,隨著城市擴張,大量的“農村”地區劃歸入城市或城鎮。在這一進程中,距離城鎮較近的農民(他們相對富裕)被“農轉非”為城鎮人口。由於農村人口樣本中較富裕的群體轉出,農村地區平均收入下降,城鄉收入比因而上升,表現為城鄉收入差距拉大。Benjamin與其合著者將城鄉家庭分類保持不變,重新估算了城鄉收入比,結果發現,1987-2001年以後, 城鄉收入差距並沒有增加很多。


當今最大的收入差距不在城鄉之間,而在城市和鄉村內部

Benjamin與其合著者指出,當今中國最大的收入不平等出現在城市人口之間和農村人口之間,而不是城鄉之間。一方面,部分沿海農村與內陸農村之間存在著巨大的收入差距。浙江、江蘇等沿海地區的農民非常富裕,農業經營繁榮(至少在80年代),農民家庭通過較早進城務工積累了一定資金。中西部地區的農民的情況要差很多,部分地區非常貧窮。

第二類不平等的程度要高一些,即城市內部的收入不平等。在上文提及的各種市場力量作用下,居住在同一條街道的家庭,收入差距可能非常大。根據Benjamin對國家統計局抽樣調查數據的分析,現階段,城鎮地區工資性收入佔平均收入的68%,佔收入差距的72%, 我們將具體情況繪制在圖5 中。換句話說,工資決定著你是貧窮還是富裕──而工資又更多地取決於你所受的教育水平、社會關系網絡、機會等因素。農村地區也體現出了同樣的趨勢。工資性收入佔農村平均收入的42%,佔農村收入差距的44%。另一方面,來自農業勞動的收入佔農村平均收入的21%,但僅佔收入差距的6%。也就是說在農村地區,農民家庭是否有經營性收入,對其家庭收入水平的影響也是很大的──經營項收入佔農村平均收入的21%, 佔農村地區收入差距的29%(見圖6)。



















收入不平等的衡量還存在其他難題。在談論收入差距對政策制定的影響和意義之前,我 們先來看西澳大學的Terry Sicular做出的發現(參見‘How large is China’s urban-rural gap?’, Terry Sicular, Yue Ximing, Bjorn Gustafsson, Li Shi,2007),他們指出官方收入差距統計還存在以下問題:

1. 官方收入統計沒有包括城鎮家庭獲得的住房補貼,或居住自有住房的家庭的房租價值。這一項應該是包括的,因為農村地區很少有類似補貼。加上住房類補貼的話,城鎮居民的富裕程度很可能高出他們的現金收入所揭示的。

2. 只有城鎮居民能夠享受的公共服務和養老金也應納入到城市居民收入統計口徑中,加入這一點的話,也能夠體現城鎮家庭收入高於實際。不過隨著農村地區公共服務的推廣和改進,這種狀況將會發生改變。

3. 現有口徑沒有考慮生活成本的差異,這一點也應該有所體現。月入4000元在中國大部分農村地區都可稱得上是高收入,但在任何一個大城市,這樣的收入水平生活壓力還是比較大的。某研究發現,城市物價水平較農村高出35-40%(但對這一說法有爭議)

4. 農民工被排除在家庭收入調查官方樣本之外,這意味著城鎮家庭收入有所夸大,農村家庭收入存在低估。Sicular等人指出,國家統計局城鎮收入調查的樣本設計包含城鎮居住半年以上的外來務工人員,但在實際數據採集中,可能忽略了建築工地或服務行業的外來務工者,後者可能也從未做城鎮暫住人口登記。某調研顯示,當今中國的城市人口中,13-20%為農民工,而他們的平均收入水平比城鎮職工平均收入水平低60%(但比農村居民高出40%)。統計數據中忽略農民工意味著估算出的城鎮家庭平均工資可能高於實際。同時,農調隊在進行農村家庭收入調查時,可能再次將不在家的農民工排除在外,並且,農民工家庭可能不會如實報告全部匯回收入。綜合下來,農村家庭收入統計可能低報了農村家庭收入水平。




Sicular教授和他的同事對以上問題中的三項進行了調整(由於缺乏相關數據,未能對城市公共服務和養老金進行調整)。通過分析調整後的數據,他們發現城鄉收入差距沒有官方數據揭示的那麼大(他們的結果顯示在表1中)。他們發現,1995-2002年期間,城鄉收入之比穩定在2.24-2.27倍之間,而不是像官方數據所體現的超過3倍。 他們還發現,2002年,在全部收入差距中,城鄉差距僅佔到25%,與Benjamin等人的結論基本一致。但貧富差距仍較大幅度地高出亞洲發展中國家的平均水平,後者在1.3-1.8之間,但也表明,至少貧富差距沒有繼續惡化。


(作者王志浩博士(Stephen Green)是渣打銀行中國區研究主管。本文所述僅代表他個人觀點。渣打銀行保留該報告版權。)

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