It's that time of year again when the cable networks continually show my favorite Christmas movie, "A Christmas Story," which is set in the 1940s and stars young Ralphie who, more than anything else, wants a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas. He enlists the help of everyone to accomplish this goal, but despite his efforts, Ralphie is always met with his mother's same cautionary comment: "You'll shoot your eye out."
Ralphie finally tries to get Santa to agree. In one funny scene, Ralphie and his little brother wait for hours in an endless line in a shopping mall to see Santa. In his mind, Ralphie knows he is going to ask Santa for the BB gun, but suddenly freezes and is unable to speak or respond when Santa's less-than-joyful elves place him on Santa's lap. Finally, Santa asks Ralphie if he wants a football and he absentmindedly nods his head yes. Then the elves with attitude whisk him away, plunk him down on a slide and push him on his way. Realizing his mistake, Ralphie stops himself from sliding and claws his way back to the top where he hastily tells Santa in one breath about his desire for a Red Rider BB gun. Santa responds, "You'll shoot your eye out, kid." And with a "ho ho ho," Santa places his black boot on Ralphie's forehead and gives him a push down the slide. Ultimately, Ralphie got his Red Rider BB gun on Christmas Day. He also broke his glasses while playing with it and thought he shot his eye out.
This movie makes me think of what some industry executives want more than anything from Santa. In the spirit of Ralphie, let's guess:
Ed Zander, CEO, Motorola: Dear Santa, is there a way you can keep the RAZR on Christmas lists in 2007?
Gary Forsee, chairman and CEO, Sprint Nextel: Dear Santa, please let us lead the industry in subscriber additions like Verizon and Cingular, but only give us quality subscribers. Oh, and help us keep the customers that we do have. And one more thing: Is there a way you can make sure that our data position is a key differentiator in the industry?
Ed Whitacre, chairman and CEO, AT&T: Dear Santa, please convince Commissioner Robert McDowell to come off the sidelines and vote in favor of our $79-billion merger with BellSouth. And help the FCC realize that no new conditions are needed to make this merger happen. Citizens will be better off with AT&T and BellSouth together. Really, they will.
Paul Jacobs, CEO, Qualcomm: Dear Santa, please keep those CDMA royalties coming and help us figure out how to extract the same type of payments from OFDM in the future. Oh, and help Nokia come to its senses over this whole licensing renegotiation thing. And one more thing: Make WiMAX go away.
WiMAX Forum members: Dear Santa, Thanks for giving us so much momentum in 2006, but please don't let a nasty elf like Qualcomm spoil the party in 2007 by claiming extravagant IPR rights on WiMAX. And please let WiMAX royalties really be lower than 3G royalties like we promised.
Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, CEO, Nokia: Dear Santa, please don't let Siemens botch our $31.6-billion infrastructure joint venture deal because of its embarrassing corruption scandal. We don't really have another plan when it comes to battling the likes of Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and those pesky Chinese vendors.
Jim Balsillie, chairman and co-CEO, Research in Motion: Dear Santa, thanks for making Blackberry a household name. Now please keep the copycats at bay, especially Microsoft. And please keep those pesky lawsuits away too.
Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple Computer: Dear Santa, please keep this great racket we've got going with this iPhone rumor. We keep dominating the mobile news and don't have to say or do a thing except file an obscure patent once in a while to keep the hype and speculation going.
Mike Zafirovski, CEO, Nortel: Dear Santa, please hurry and send us 4G. Our revenues depend on it!
S.S. Kim, CEO, LG Electronics: Dear Santa, please give everyone the gift of Chocolate this year.
Wireless executives everywhere: Dear Santa, please make wireless consumers addicts of the boob tube on a tiny screen.
Michael Ramke, president, Modeo: Dear Santa, that goes double for us. Except please make consumers in New York attracted to the idea of mobile TV without a mobile operator attached to it.
Enjoy the holidays and best wishes for 2007. -Lynnette