June 02, 2009

Virgin Chief Technology Officer quits

According to this report on Broadband TV News, Virgin Media's chief technology officer Howard Watson has left the company.
Watson was originally with Telewest; post merger he took on responsibility for technical and IT strategy, architecture, development and day-to-day operations of the company’s television and broadband platforms.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's like rats leaving a sinking ship with so many people leaving Virginmedia and Sky at the moment.

Next we will see Neil Berkett going and with him all his promises of HD!

Anonymous said...

Utter nonsense Nialli. Telewest had a switch off plan for analogue and the network was in a better shape than NTL's half. MPEG-2 made some kind of vague sense. You're postmerger judging this and then blaming the incompetance of the combined company on one man. It was the merger that was the problem. Lack of will to sign up channels and no plan to switch off analogue was what ruined things.

Nialli said...

"Post merger he took on responsibility for technical and IT strategy, architecture, development and day-to-day operations of the company’s television and broadband platforms."
Someone made a call on whether Virgin would stick with the TW Mpeg2 TV Drive or go with the newer NTL Mpeg4 box that was almost ready for launch - I don't think that me suggesting that the CTO would have been hugely influential in the making of that decision is "utter nonsense".
Of course there's no way all the ills of Virgin Media should be blamed on a single individual, and it's easier with hindsight to see how poor a call it was to go with the older technology. But there were many, many customers at the time of the V+ launch who lambasted the decision and denounced it as shortsighted and a false economy. Whether Mr Watson's decision or not I don't know for certain, but he was responsible for technical strategy.

Anonymous said...

You don't seem to understand it was the merger that was the problem. You're an NTL customer so have always been highly generous to the postmerged company. If it were upto NTL or Virgin we'd probably never have had HD at all. As for when tv drive there were plenty of people about a year after that were moaning about it being MPEG-2 but they've always believed this fable about NTL would have done this, NTL would have done that. NTL were useless.

MPEG-2 made sense for telewest. Would we rather have MPEG-4? Sure. But MPEG-2 would have been fine under telewest. It would have been fine under virgin except of the painfully slow switch off of analogue. A lot of people have never really got that it's analogue that is a bigger problem than MPEG-2.

Sirius said...

With no way for you to back up your spurious claims about this former Virgin employee you know nothing about, I'd advise you to delete this post (or at least the bits speculating about his being responsible for the decision to stay with MPEG2).
I'm frankly amazed you've had the temerity to post this!

Anonymous said...

The words "potentially libelous" come to mind.

Nialli said...

I've edited the comment within the post, but it was not libellous by any means and if someone was CTO and wasn't, responsible for fundamental technology selection, that's a pretty odd position to hold.
Mpeg2 did make sense for Telewest at the time, but VM had an alternative available they junked in order to save money and launch the V+ quickly. It was a tactical move but was always going to limit their options longer term, especially on a bandwidth-constrained network.

lee said...

Woahhh guys, I think you're attacking Nialli a bit harshly and unfairly.

I don't see anything defamatory, and whilst I agree with anon that a merger causes issues, 'a merger' isn't a life-form that makes things go wrong, so, as Nialli says - people still make decisions (or not) and thus people are still the issue.

I totally agree again with anon that blame of anything cannot generally be blamed on one person (I say generally, Mr Darling!) and surely it is logical that a technical/strategic director or manager is a pretty big say in the direction of products in a company!

Nialli said...

Thanks Lee. Sometimes I think folk forget that this is a blog and not a professional website. Personal comment sometimes appears - nature of the beast.
And anything I said about Mr Watson's possible decision making are not in any way libel...whereas some of the comments posted anonymously about Mr Berkett that amount to attacks on his integrity are perhaps less clear cut.

Anonymous said...

"And anything I said about Mr Watson's possible decision making are not in any way libel"

Shame you made the edit then. I agree it was fine before. This is a blog of not just links to headlines but your opinions.

Carol Steele said...

I have to smile at people 'attacking' you Nialli - but don't have the courage to reveal who they are and have to hide behind anonymity.

Nialli said...

I'm a sensitive soul.
The anonymous posting of comments is something I may look to address, as I'm never sure if I'm getting feedback from several individuals or there's one guy emphasising a point. With Sirius, who's sometimes pretty critical of the blog, at least I know it's one guy's view (which he's entitled to)

Nialli said...

I've turned off anonymous blogging on a trial basis - let's see how this goes.

Alexei said...

I think that is a very good idea! if your serious about leaving a comment it only takes a sec to sign up or sign in!