Given that demand for both those consumables has softened a bit, Corning is laying off 13% of its workforce - about 3,500 people
Thursday, January 29, 2009
A quick name check to:
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The layoff announcements keep coming, and will probably keep coming over the next 6 months. Some notable ones:
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).
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
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 (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 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.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
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?"
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)
Friday, January 23, 2009
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 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
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
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
Friday, January 9, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
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:
- Hi5, which represents the second tier of social networks after Facebook and Myspace
- LinkedIn, representing the business social networks
- Sneakerplay, representing the ultra-niche networks
- Ning, representing the overly funded network enablers
- Zivity, representing the adult social networks (yep, it really is a downturn)
- And, of course, Facebook's theoretical value falling (theoretically) from $15 Billion to $1.5 Billion.
Quite painful, unfortunately.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
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
Saturday, January 3, 2009
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.