Thursday, March 6, 2008

German Chancellor Merkel about Sony Ericsson's Xperia X1: It looks like the iPhone!

It was fun when I was at Hanover's computer fair CeBIT this week, and saw how German Chancellor Angela Merkel stopped by the booth of Sony Ericsson. Again she proved great repartee. With few words she made the crowd crack up laughing and the suit wearers of Sony Ericsson got long faces. Axel Kettenring, General Manager of Sony Ericsson Germany, proudly introduced the new top model Xperia X1, allegedly "a seamless blend of mobile web communication and multimedia entertainment within a distinctive design". That's what at least the press release in February said. But when our Chancellor held the touchscreen mobile phone in her hand, she only said: "Ah, like the iPhone". And again Apple could be happy for free advertising.

German Chancellor sees no difference to the iPhone

Kettenring was so puzzled, he could only say that the Xperia X1 is also great for phone calls and short messages. But you don't need a $1140 smartphone for that, and our passionate SMS writer heading of the state of Germany knows that. With pleasure she asked next: "And where do you produce?", wherupon Kettenring proudly replied "everywhere". After one second to take a breath he had to add "but in Germany" which got him a grim look from Mrs Merkel. The globalized company produces its handsets only in distant countries like Malaysia, Japan, and China.

The Chancellor's round tour over CeBIT is always a media highlight of the world's biggest electronics fair. Big hordes of photographers, TV crews and reporters followed the head of state through the exhibition halls. The eleven companies where Merkel stopped over were honored to receive her. Among them were pack leaders like Deutsche Telekom, IBM and Microsoft as well as smaller companies like Funkwerk Dabendorf or Komsa.

Also network operator Vodafone had to put up with Merkel's criticism. Germany CEO Friedrich Joussen actually wanted to proudly present a new picture search engine for mobile phones. Instead of entering a search term, you shoot a picture with the camera phone and load it on a server. In response you get information about the depicted buildings or the person photographed. With images of the Berlin Cathedral it worked flawless at CeBIT. But not with a mobile photo of Angela Merkel. "Your sought after motive is not yet in the Otello database", the Chancellor read from the display. "That's a serious void, I think", she added. Although Friedrich Joussen could play down the embarrassing situation with a laugh, he later must have bawled out his employees heavily.

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