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United Tech Bids $2.6B for Diebold 129

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the how-much-does-an-election-cost dept.
zhang1983 writes "United Technologies, parent company of jet engine-maker Pratt & Whitney, Otis elevator and Sikorsky Aircraft, said it made the unsolicited offer to Diebold for $2.63 billion on Friday after trying to negotiate a deal for two years. United Technologies said the company announced the offer Sunday night because executives believe their offer is "so compelling we thought shareholders should know about it.""
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United Tech Bids $2.6B for Diebold

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  • Profit! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gnurfed (1051140) on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:10AM (#22622872)
    1. Buy Diebold
    2. Elect neo-conservatives
    3. Get the US into more wars
    4. Sell lots of military hardware
    5. Profit!
    (no ????-step this time)
  • Re:Confusion (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cryophallion (1129715) on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:17AM (#22622936)
    Because that is what gets more publicized.

    Since the voting machines have had problems, all the news has been about that portion of their company, especially in an election year.

    Now, if all their machines had started spewing out $20s at a certain time of day at some point last year, then we would be talking about the atm machines.

    Many companies are known (or infamous) for a small subset of their business. Diebold is no exception, especially when they have been all over Slashdot for their voting machines for the last few years. So, of course those who read Slashdot are going to talk about that. A banking board will likely be talking about the atms.
  • Is it just me? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by n3tcat (664243) on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:23AM (#22622986) Homepage
    Have I been under a rock, or have there always been this many unsolicited bids being tossed about? Or is it just that the economy is shit right now and the people with money are trying to take advantage of the situation?
  • by Asic Eng (193332) on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:30AM (#22623062)
    Well, I think despite Constantine objection that the company is actually based in Hartford, CT - this is really the heart of the matter. If you wouldn't trust the machines if they were delivered by a Russian company, then you shouldn't trust them at all. Even if Diebold were a company of excellent reputation, impartial and known to deliver the best quality - how could you be sure that there wasn't at least one engineer working for them who could be bribed by a foreign power? Who is to say they don't have a sleeper agent on their workforce? Why wouldn't a hostile government attempt to gain control of the voting process? Maybe their push to avoid paper records is not just motivated by a desire to cover up problems in a shoddy product - maybe it's really because someone in that company needs to make sure that there can't be a trace?

    I don't really think Diebold is controlled by a foreign power currently, but it seems like a rather high risk to take - combined with a rather low chance of finding out if it were to happen.

  • by R2.0 (532027) on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:15AM (#22623506)
    So are you saying the data on Igor Sikorsky in the Wikipedia article isn't true? Or are you just a blowhard?
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:52AM (#22623942) Homepage Journal
    Seems to me that the company dependent on the Pentagon shouldn't have the kind of say in counting votes for office that determine the Pentagon's budget.

    Not while their products are closed systems, able to be rigged in secret, anyway.
  • by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Monday March 03, 2008 @11:11AM (#22624180) Journal
    Defense budget: Economic growth. Dump money into R&D for things like armor, vision systems (night vision goggles designed for the C4ISR initially), radars, new fuel systems and engines for planes, power storage systems (I could make use of ultra caps in a war zone, trust me)....

    NASA: More of the same. Dump cash into space research and suddenly you have non-tube transistors, heat shielding, capri sun packets, CO2 buffers, some toy that uses heated iron to break CO2 down into carbon deposits (scrape this off) and oxygen (breath this). Mind you the R&D labs doing this are spitting out all kinds of technology

    FTC: Not exactly the President's job. Controls the lending industry's rates. Higher rates, fewer people able to afford to borrow. Lower rates, border liners can now afford the $700/mo instead of $1100/mo mortgages (this would make or break me; my buffer isn't comfortable on the last $300 there...).

    Lower taxes on businesses, dump money into government spending, creates some jobs now, gets things rolling. In 5-10 years the whole economy might reflex, if you hit it hard enough. Something rolling out of control may need taxing or regulation to slow it (dot-com bust?). It's not just the President, and it's not something you turn on and off; the effects of your executive decisions will still be just starting to trickle in at the end of your term.

    I'm no economist. The left side of my brain is 100% active and the right side is practically dead. I'm working on fixing that. Just, stuff like this makes a painful amount of plain sense. If you lower taxes by 5% and don't lower spending and the businesses are hiring more employees and contractors and there's 10% more money floating around, you just raised government income tax revenues by 5% overall... and made the economy more active in the process. If you lower taxes by 5% and there's 3% more money floating around, you might have a little budgeting problem....

    I'm just sick of people going "look depression look bush's fault look he hasn't fixed it in 2 years look it's still getting worse" damnit people shut up. The president can destroy the budget in 2 months; but if he comes into an awesome economy and it collapses 2 months into his term it's far, far from his fault. Unless he jacks taxes up to double what they currently are, that'll do it; but at this point you're playing Truck Dismount with economics.
  • Re:Yeah but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03, 2008 @11:26AM (#22624372)
    I often wonder why people think it will ONLY be used to unfairly benefit Republicans. It's only a matter of time before it becomes an "equal opportunity offender". Problem is, lack of transparency means we will always think the victory was stolen by whoever "wins", but we won't know a damn thing. Does it mean anything to win if the calculation was driven by an easily manipulated database?
  • Re:Confusion (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fishbowl (7759) on Monday March 03, 2008 @11:47AM (#22624616)
    >Why do people think Diebold is primarily election systems-based?

    The position of control over a whole country's election system is
    far more valuable than the revenue of the business. Why do you think
    that the voting machine business being less valuable on the bottom line
    makes it a less important part of the company's portfolio?

  • Re:Yeah but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by infonography (566403) on Monday March 03, 2008 @11:57AM (#22624730) Homepage
    Democrats used to be completely corrupt, racist, and complete liars. Look up Tammany hall [wikipedia.org] Republicans used to be progressive eco-friendly and moral see Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt. Don't tie yourself to a party, they won't be who you knew when you were growing up. Consider Mark Foley, Tom DeLay, Trent Lott, Karl Rove, and Bill Frist. Do you really want leave these guys alone with your kids or even know where you live let alone running the country???? 30 years from now it will likely change. It's the way the world works.
  • Re:what the hecK? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MikeURL (890801) on Monday March 03, 2008 @01:37PM (#22626098) Journal
    If you have read about the situation in detail you know it is difficult to prove wrongdoing when the backend was MS Access. The current state of the software/hardware, as far as i know, is unknown.

    Then again /. has been over this issue 100s of times. We know elections need a paper trail. We know that relying on electronic voting is, generally, a bad idea. Yet these machines continue to spread throughout the entire United States with only some pushback here and there. When my tinfoil hat goes a bit askew I see it as the endgame of a long process to lock down Americans into corporate fascism. So that by the time the middle-class says "hey wait a minute, I don't want to vote for these guys anymore" it will be FAR too late.

    Then I readjust my hat, patch up the foil where holes have formed, and go back to knowing everything will be fine and there are no conspiracies.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Monday March 03, 2008 @02:56PM (#22627080) Homepage Journal
    And until about 3 months ago were looking to sell themselves out of it. Election systems were never a money maker for Diebold and conspiracy theories notwithstanding, they have a fairly good record outside of the US. However they don't make much money in it. They also don't spend much money addressing public concerns which in any other venue would make sense, financially. But they're discovering that in the US election systems are like a public trust and require more investment than return.
  • Re:Confusion (Score:-1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03, 2008 @03:19PM (#22627332)
    It's not that Diebold is primarily an elections systems company. It's that the election systems component of their business model has a huge impact on our lives in matters beyond simple economics.
    It is definitely worth remembering that Diebold builds millions of ATMs - especially when it's being argued that paper receipts can't be produced for voting.. because they manage it just fine for ATMs.
  • My question is, if the economy gradually collapses throughout eight years of office, THEN can you blame the President? I mean, I can't really blame him for 9/11, but I can sure blame him for what's happened since. Maybe that's a bit of a stretched analogy...

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