Cantillon: Ballmer’s exit a smart move for Microsoft
Dermot Desmond owns 29 per cent, and is well-known for picking technology winners. Nick Furlong’s Pageant Holdings was also stake-building last year, perhaps in anticipation of someone making a move for the stock.
The conventional wisdom has been that Desmond, who owns another technology pioneer, Daon, might have a crack. But if that was the case, he would surely have made his move when it was cheaper: Datalex’s share price has been steadily rising for 18 months.
What about Amadeus, the world’s largest travel technology firm? Datalex needs scale (tick), an owner capable of broadening its suite of products (tick) and one with the firepower to grow it rapidly (tick).
The stock suddenly jumped almost 10 per cent yesterday. Perhaps the next chapter of the Datalex story is being authored as we speak.
Internships – exploitation or a valuable learning tool?
One upon a time, we understood internships to consist of making coffee, filing and photocopying. The recent death of a 21-year-old intern, Moritz Erhardt (below), employed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London, has placed a considerably darker focus on the world of work experience, however.
Whether as a result of the global economic crisis or of greater competition for jobs, it seems some internships
have evolved into 15-hour working days, all-nighters and meals in the office.
While internships and work placements can offer a welcome route into competitive industries, the line between useful experience and unacceptable exploitation can become blurred.
Take for example Ireland’s national internship scheme JobBridge. When it was introduced in 2011, the Government insisted it would not be used by employers to hire cheap labour. However, the last two years have seen a number of organisations criticised for their use of it.
Last month a Westmeath national school advertised a position for a primary school teacher. The nine-month position, which was open to qualified primary school teachers, involved a 30-hour working week. The intern would be paid €50 a week.
In September 2011, Tesco placed an ad on the scheme for 218 “customer assistant” internships for the busy Christmas period. The full-time roles included “filling shelves” and “ensuring customers would not have to queue”. Tesco said the interns would gain practical experience in merchandising, stock rotation and “management of waste and damages”.
In other places, interns are asked to put in long working hours, often clocking up more than 100 hours per week in an effort to secure their dream jobs. This occurs in spite of the EU working time directive.
While all interns in Ireland and elsewhere in Europe have basic employment rights, including the right to adequate breaks and holidays, it seems many decide to opt out in an effort to impress employers.
While they are adults that must take responsibility for their actions and decisions, they are by definition the weaker partner in the employer-intern relationship. The greater volume of responsibility for ensuring that internships work the way they should therefore lies with the bosses.