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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Removal of prior post on BT Fusion

Analyst research is a funny game sometimes. Obviously, from time to time you have to be pretty critical - scathing, even. This doesn't make you too many friends among the targets of your comments, and it's not uncommon to have PR and marketing types out in force, to try & contradict your arguments. Equally obviously, you often have to dig around for information to make those criticisms in the first place, when often that data will have been well-shielded for that very reason. I, like most analysts, find a certain amount of satisfaction in exposing something that's been over-hyped from a piece of "hidden" data or commentary, and I'm pretty immune to suggestions that I tone down or change my conclusions.

Conversely, sometimes you encounter "hidden data" that is surprisingly positive, and leads you to be complimentary about something. Obviously, it's important to be aware of the unwritten rules about off-the-cuff private comments, and respect NDAs, but after a few years you develop a good radar for what can be considered "public domain".

In my experience it is unusual, therefore, to hear essentially the same data point, from two separate people, presenting at two separate public forums, and then use it as the basis for a positive conclusion.... and then to be phoned late in the evening by a very nice, but rather stressed, analyst relations lady requesting a retraction. Such is the case with my post from yesterday about BT Fusion and what I'd heard about recent growth in subscriber numbers.

So, given how strange it is to be asked to remove a "nice" comment, on the grounds that it is factually incorrect, in this case I have done so. I understand that neither commentator may have been privy to accurate details, and that there may have been some form of miscommunication somewhere along the line.

I guess we'll find out the actual data at its next results announcement. Apologies to anyone I've inconvenienced (I know the blog post was picked up by another telecom news site).

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