"I'm not sure this is a hobby for him. I think this is his next big idea." -- John Logsdon, Space Policy Institute, to The Seattle Times on Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos' plan for a rocket complex
Need to send a word to LeBron? Soon it may be as simple as punching out a text message. Several pro hockey and basketball teams are thinking of letting fans send a team cheer or even a wedding proposal to the scoreboard from their cell phones. Atlanta's FanDrive Media has talked with NHL and NBA teams interested in the technology. On Dec. 5, FanDrive Media showed off cell capabilities at a New York Rangers-Minnesota Wild hockey game at Madison Square Garden. Between periods, fans could "talk to the Rangers" by sending text messages (through a moderator) to the scoreboard.
Messaging is just one way for fans to use phones. In coming weeks, the Air Canada Centre in Toronto will let them pick songs at Raptor basketball and Maple Leaf hockey games. They will also play trivia games and see answers on the scoreboard. Some teams might charge 50 cents or so for services; others would offer them free and use phone contacts to create customer lists.
Now that British billionaire Richard Branson has finally laid out his plans for a low-cost U.S. airline, he is sparking a transcontinental lobbying storm. In December, Branson and a group of American investors sought U.S. Transportation Dept. approval to launch Virgin America out of San Francisco. Branson says it would be 75% owned by U.S. investors and 25% owned by British investors, including Branson's Virgin Group companies, and thus qualify as a domestic carrier under federal law.
Now, Virgin America is snarled in a long-running battle over U.S. airlines' access to Europe, particularly London's Heathrow Airport. Continental Airlines (CAL), which wants expanded landing rights at Heathrow, is leading the charge. With help from other U.S. carriers and unions, it has buried the Transportation Dept. in paper questioning Virgin's financing and has asked the Bush Administration to wrest more detail about Virgin's funding and licensing agreements with British and European companies. Meanwhile, U.S. carriers, moving to head off future threats, have persuaded lawmakers to introduce legislation blocking Transportation plans to relax foreign-ownership rules.
Sharpen your pencils; it's time to find out who was paying attention in 2005. Blogs hit it big, old media stumbled, and emerging-market stocks became stars. One celebrity CEO walked away from trial a free man, another got major jail time, and a third left prison for newfound fame. See if you can sort it all out.
1. Which two of these techies got into a tiff over who invented podcasting?
A Steve Jobs
B Dave Winer
C Caterina Fake
D Adam Curry
E Rob Glaser
2. What was the name of the 92-foot yacht seized temporarily by the feds from former HealthSouth (HLSH) CEO Richard M. Scrushy before his trial and exoneration?
A Monkey Business
B Chez Soiree
C Healthy Livin'
D Dallas County Line
3. Who or what is Mini-Microsoft (MSFT)?
A A new one-man off-Broadway play
B A venture fund to create the next software powerhouse
C Google's (GOOG) secret strategy to topple Microsoft
D An anonymous employee blogger critical of Microsoft
4. Which airline was NOT in Chapter 11 in 2005?
A American (AMR)
B United (UALAQ)
C Delta (DALRQ)
D Northwest (NWACQ)
E US Airways (LCC)
5. What Internet company launched a high-profile search in 2005 to hire a new chief?
A Yahoo! (YHOO)
C eBay (EBAY)
D Salon.com (SALN)
6. Which of the following carmakers did not introduce a new hybrid gas-electric vehicle in 2005?
A Toyota (TM)
B Ford (F)
C Nissan (NSANY)
D Honda (HMC)
7. According to Technorati, the number of blogs is doubling every...
B Five months
C Five weeks
D Five minutes
8. Match the aging rock legends with the companies that used them or their songs in 2005 ad campaigns.
A Bob Dylan
B Paul McCartney
C Rolling Stones
1 Fidelity Investments
2 Kaiser Permanente
3 Ameriquest Mortgage
9. How many years must former WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers serve in prison?
A 2 to 5
10. Warren Buffett was speaking of which recent Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) purchase when he said he made a mistake not making a major investment in the late 1990s?
A Diageo (DEO)
B Wal-Mart (WMT)
C Wells Fargo (WFC)
D Anheuser-Busch (BUD)
11. What natural ingredient is in short supply and complicating plans to expand production of the flu-fighting drug Tamiflu?
A Golden lion tamarin
B Tamarack tree
C Star anise
12. After being seen at a yoga class and driving around, Martha Stewart's home confinement was extended by...
A 16 days
B Three weeks
C Three months
D Five months
13. What was the first sentence of Maureen Dowd's takedown column on her then-colleague, The New York Times (NYT) reporter Judith Miller?
A "I write this with great sadness."
B "I've always liked Judy Miller."
C "So this is how all those powerful men ultimately treat you."
D "Was Rummy too chummy?"
14. Which of the following products was not announced by Donald Trump in 2005?
A Trump University
B Trump "super-premium" vodka
C Trump cuff links
D Trump Airline
15. How much will a company have to pay for the title "official sponsor of Mardi Gras 2006"?
C $2 million
D $10 million
16. The country whose stock market rose the most through Nov. 29 in the Morgan Stanley (MWD) Capital International Emerging Markets Index is:
ANSWER KEY: 1-b, d; 2-b; 3-d; 4-a; 5-b; 6-c; 7-b; 8-a-2,b-1,c-3; 9-c; 10-b; 11-c; 12-b; 13-b; 14-d; 15-c; 16-a
Corrections and Clarifications
In the Yearend Quiz (Up Front, Jan. 9), question No. 5 should have asked what Internet company launched a search for a new chef, not chief. The answer was Google.
Slide Show >>
Things you can expect in 2006: Good-byes from Alan Greenspan and Sandy
Weill, a trial for Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, and lots of launches:
Al Jazeera International, GM's revamped pickup trucks, and Microsoft's
latest version of Windows. Also keep an eye out for a proxy fight
between Time Warner's board and investor Carl Icahn, Airbus's first A380
doubledecker megaplane, and hedge funds to register with the SEC.