The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Each issue, News editor Sandra Rossi checks the inbox for the best and the worst of Industry's news. Tipsters to GBU merit not only total confidentiality, but also an exclusive GBU mug.

Good

It was refreshing last week to see Nortel CEO Frank Dunn step outside the cold world of business where all that matters is the bottom line and formally apologise to employees for the tumult of 2001 when the company cut by half its staff of 94,500. Referring to the hardship of job cuts Dunn said the toughest decision was resizing the workforce. "I can tell you personally, and on behalf of the senior management team, this resizing was a regrettable experience none of us ever want to repeat. In a personal sense, I feel I would be remiss if I didn't close out 2001 by acknowledging that. I personally feel very sorry for what has happened." A pleasant shift from the usual number-crunching company statements that deliver a message of "Nothing personal; it's just business".

Bad

Computers will come to the rescue of lost male drivers unwilling to ask for directions. To save face directions can now be accessed via a touchscreen computer program to be installed at service stations throughout Victoria, the ACT, NSW and Queensland. For a $2 fee, a printout of directions will be provided so lost men do not have to drive around frustrated while pretending to be "in control".

Ugly

Boldly rating the value and worth of the nation's assets, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) rated local computer software ahead of sheep, cattle and native trees. Not a surprising result really, living without trees (valued at $2.3 billion) may be a cinch, but to go without software, God forbid! The ABS valued software at $21.5 billion, a fivefold increase since figures began in 1992 and around four times ($5.2 billion) that of sheep and other livestock. While Australia's total assets have climbed 25.7 per cent in the past eight years, our total liabilities to the rest of the world have skyrocketed 94.7 per cent to $696.7 billion.

* E-mail hot news tips to Sandra_Rossi@idg.com.au

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