Home What's Brewing? Birth of G-Phone, Death of WaMu

Birth of G-Phone, Death of WaMu

Local telecom carrier T-Mobile has unveiled the first mobile device powered by Google software, a smartphone seen as a potential rival to the popular Apple iPhone.

The T-Mobile G1, informally known as the “Google phone,” will cost 179 dollars and will be available in stores in the United States from October 22, said Cole Brodman, T-Mobile chief technology and innovation officer.

The phone runs on Google’s open source Android software, which Google hopes will eventually become the dominant operating system for mobile phones and make handsets compatible with the networks of multiple carriers.

The G1 offers many of the features of the iPhone and Research in Motion’s BlackBerry, including a touch screen, high-speed Internet browsing, Wi-Fi, e-mail and SMS texting. It can also run applications such as Google Maps.

In a Seattle show of synnery, E-tail giant Amazon.com announced a direct challenge to Apple’s iTunes, when it declared that the entire catalogue of the Amazon MP3 music store would be available on the new phone. [24×7]

The End of an Era for Washington Mutual
The bank that was founded more than a century ago to rebuild Seattle after a catastrophic fire wiped out the city’s business district, Washington Mutual became the victim of another catastrophe ln the financial marketplace last week. The firestorm that has ignited in the financial markets created a flight of depositors who withdrew nearly $17 billion from the bank, largely in deposits over the FDIC insurance threshold, in as little as ten days. The massive withdrawls left the nation’s largest thrift “with insufficient liquidity to meet its obligations.” Its assets were sold to JPMorgan Chase & Co. even while the U.S. Congress began to draft an industry-wide rescue plan.

J.P. Morgan’s takeover of WaMu’s deposits is expected to wipe out WaMu stockholders and holders of the company’s senior debt. The transaction also represents a massive loss for private-equity firm Texas Pacific Group, which led a $7 billion investment into the thrift in April of this year. The transaction also wipes out a $1.35 billion investment by a second private equity firm. The prediction for personnel, while dire, is presently unknown.

It was WaMu’s 119th birthday last Thursday. Perhaps the greater irony is the probability that there would have been more bidders for WaMu had potential buyers not been distracted by the contested $700 billion government plan aimed at purchasing bad mortgage assets from financial institutions just like WaMu. While the future of that plan is still unclear, the natonal lack of confidence is palpable. We can only hope Ameica finds the leadership, the competency and the integrity to restore the “full faith and credit” of our government.