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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sir, May I have Another... Layoffs

(previous layoff news)

corning logo Corning has had a few lives since its inception.  Its latest includes the glass used in flat screens, both computers and televisions. 

Given that demand for both those consumables has softened a bit, Corning is laying off 13% of its workforce - about 3,500 people

ashland Chemical company Ashland is freezing wages (big surprise), adopting a 2-week furlough program, and, of course, cutting 1,300 jobs

boeing logo Boeing is dive-bombing about 10,000 jobs.  Thanks to its union workers striking, and slowing down their revenue stream even further - very smart, guys

(Sigh)... More Layoffs

(Previous announcements)

A quick name check to:

brooks automation Brooks Automation - which is cutting 20% of its workforce (350 people), in its second round of layoffs

halliburton logo Halliburton (yes, even Cheney's old company is going to lay off people, known as they are towards their people-friendly policies... NOT)

schlum Schlumberger, not to be outdone by Halliburton, has announced it will lay off 5,000 people... and might have another headcount reduction in 6 months

intel logo Intel, after initially affirming it wasn't going to lay off employees, is cutting 6,000 manufacturing jobs.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Layoffs, Layoffs And More Layoffs

(Following my previous post on companies announcing layoffs)

The layoff announcements keep coming, and will probably keep coming over the next 6 months.  Some notable ones:

caterpillar logo I had already chronicled how Caterpillar was cutting pay to manage costs.  Well, turns out they should have waited a bit... the cost cutting continues, with another 5,000 layoffs announced (in addition to 2,500 full-time and 8,000 contract employees having already been asked to leave).

united airlines logo UAL, United Airlines' parent, is laying off 1,000 people - it had recently (Q4 of 2008) laid off 1,500. 

sprint logo Sprint Nextel is cutting 8,000 jobs.  Ouch!  I blame their tv ads (I hate the Sprint, and the Verizon ads).

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Black Monday - 70,000 Laid Off

Yesterday, Monday, was a pretty sad day - layoffs to the tune of 70,000 employees were announced.  Among those who are letting people go:

texas instruments logo Texas Instruments (TI) is laying off 12% of its employees - 3,400 people.  Demand for their chips has softened, given that virtually every downstream sector that is a customer (including cell phones) is experiencing soft demand, and high inventory.

home depot logo Home Depot is closing its Expo chain, and some other smaller locations, leading to a loss of 7,000 jobs.  I don't fully understand how the housing and repair markets are affecting them - one the one hand, the overall housing market, specially new house building, has been hit hard, and this probably impacts Home Depot.  On the other hand, I would expect home-owners to have started doing a lot more of their own home repairs, which should benefit the Home Depot.

GM logo General Motors hasn't stopped hemorrhaging, and is cutting another 2,000 jobs in Michigan and Ohio plants

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Staving Layoffs - Controlling Pay

Companies are, perhaps predictably, managing personnel costs now by controlling pay.  In most cases, salaries have been frozen, bonuses are being cut or eliminated.  In some extreme cases,  salaries are actually being reduced. 

And given the job climate, the employees can only say, "Thank you, may I have another?"

yahoo image Yahoo has, starting this week, frozen pay raises.  Bonuses have also been cut (but per my sources, hopefully not completely eliminated in all cases).

  amd logo AMD has had layoffs (1,100 people), and the remaining employees are enduring pay cuts ranging from 5% - 20%

circuit city logo And Circuit City's 30K+ employees are all going to lose their jobs, as the chain shuts down.  (Note - I went to one of their stores, and didn't really find things selling for a huge discount.  This isn't like Sharper Image's going-out-of-business sale)

saks logo Having fired over a thousand people, Saks is also freezing wages, and removing 401K contributions for the year

caterpillar logoCaterpillar, which I would say is the most successful autos-related company in today's climate, is cutting pay - up to 15% for regular employees, and up to 50% for executives

yrc worldwide YRC has cut pay by 15% for employees that are non-union, and by 10% for its drivers

hutchinson technology Hutchinson is reducing pay by 5% for its remaining employees

Friday, January 23, 2009

Robert Scoble At Kosmix

Robert Scoble, of Scobleizer fame (along with quite a few others, of course), is at the Kosmix offices today.  Cool.


Blue Screen Of Death - Microsoft Layoffs

Microsoft profit dropped 11% - thats quite huge.  And finally, the long-rumored layoffs are coming.  5,000 people in the next few months. 

It isn't a huge number for a company of Microsoft's size (about 5%), but it is a little unprecedented.  This is the software behemoth's first-ever layoff (at least as far as I know.  I'm not counting layoffs from acquired companies, of course.

Microsoft has a process where under-performers are constantly weeded out, a la Intel.  This will probably continue, and might even get increased - so who knows the true employee turnover to come?


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sony - Layoffs For The Official Number One

Sony is shutting down one of its two Japanese TV factories, and laying off 2,000 people (about 3%) of its workforce this year.  That's quite painful, but not unexpected in today's climate.

The funny comment though comes from Kaz Hirai, Sony's head of Computer Entertainment.  His contention is that Sony's PS3 is the "official leader.." in the gaming industry. 

Let's see.  There are three main players in the gaming industry - PS3, Microsoft's XBOX 360, and Nintendo's Wii. 

Good ol' Kaz says the Wii is operating in a different world, and hence doesn't count.  I'm a serious gamer, and I don't look at the Wii as a machine I would buy (although it has a few games, like Super Mario Galaxy, that are very good).  But this is a bit silly. 

Even if we gave Kaz a bit of a point here, the Xbox 360 is still outselling the PS3 2:1.  That's not small change.  His argument here?  That Microsoft still hasn't shown it can stay around for 5 years.

Of course, Microsoft recently announced the 360 is not going to be replaced any time soon - that it's life-cycle is going to be well above 5 years.  And having owned both the Xbox, as well as the Xbox 360, I can say that their customer service is quite good.  I've had both my Xbox, as well as my 360 replaced free of charge for different reasons.  The service was quick and efficient. 

So, my dear Hirai-san, please check your facts.  You aren't the official leader if you're lagging behind your only two competitors in sales as well as installed base.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The World Hasn't Ended... Yet

Yes, the world hasn't ended.  The economy is still not completely in the toilet.   But some early signs are coming...

- Google had a layoff - the big G has laid off 100 HR folks.  Makes sense, since they aren't hiring.  they've also shut down their recently opened Austin office.

- Steve Jobs is sick, and has taken 6 months off.  Apple stock got clobbered as a result.  And suddenly the prospect of a religion without its chief prophet has become all too real


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Breaking News - Carol Bartz New Yahoo CEO!

Interesting stuff - Carol Bartz, Autodesk's  limo-riding,  performance-enhancing former CEO is going to be Jerry Yang's replacement.

Good to finally have a decision.  More on this later

carol bartz yahoo

Friday, January 9, 2009

Not Even One Laptop Per Child

OLPC, or One Laptop Per Child, has laid off half its workforce (~32 people).  The remaining employees will also probably get pay cuts.


one laptop per child

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

LiveJournal Dying

LiveJournal today announced a "restructuring" in their US (San Francisco) office.  All product and engineering team members are gone, top to bottom.  Only technical operations (keep those servers humming, boys!), legal, admin and customer service teams are staying... as of now. 

SUP, the Russian internet startup that bought LiveJournal in 2007 for $30 Million, will probably start consolidating all tasks in Russia.  LiveJournal is quite popular, but just like all other social networks (except MySpace), has failed to figure out how to make money.


LiveJournal is just the latest social network to start going under.  Some others I've covered (a sample of the pain in social networks) are:

Quite painful, unfortunately. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Alcoa Cutting Jobs, Production Output, Facilities

The economic downturn means that basic commodities manufacturing and production is getting seriously affected.  Alcoa, which produces Aluminum, is making drastic changes.  Among all the reasons - Automotive production is falling drastically, and there is a surfeit of inventory throughout the Automotive supply chains.

  • Cutting output by 18% - 750K tonnes/year
  • Reducing 2009 capital expenditures by 50%
  • Cutting 13 - 15% of workforce (13,500 - 15,000 jobs)
  • Salary and hiring freezes.  Contract positions being eliminated
  • Selling four business units that don't deal with core products, and that should bring in about $100MM   (about the amount these four lost in 2008 - a net loss of ~6%):
    • automotive wheels
    • electric systems
    • global foil
    • transportation products

Alcoa had gone through a round of layoffs around June - August, which were a little prior to a full realization of the economic conditions hitting the world. 

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Page Rank Increase For My Blog

A Page Rank increase of +1, bringing it to 2, for  Capoeirista,  my cover-all blog.  Ho-hum.

singh vikram

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Whats New At Cuil?

Last time we checked,  Cuil had lost their VP of Product, Louis Monier.  How are they doing now?

Unfortunately, their traffic doesn't seem to be doing too well.  They botched their launch slightly;  they had great PR, got a lot of traffic, couldn't handle it, and didn't have the best results for searches. 

Cuil does still have a following.  But as the two charts from Quantcast and Compete show, below, their current strategy of incremental improvements has not won back their launch audience yet.


cuil traffic