Saturday, July 18, 2009

Will Cisco layoff another 600+ jobs?

Another round of employees at Cisco Systems reportedly got pink slips Thursday, as the company laid off several hundred employees as part of its plan to cut costs and realign its business.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that between 600 and 700 Cisco employees were laid off at the company's headquarters in San Jose, Calif. The company also cut jobs at branch offices in other parts of the U.S. The Wall Street Journal cited sources close to the company.

A spokesman for the company told the Wall Street Journal that Cisco was "doing everything possible to minimize the impact on employees affected by the limited restructuring."

Like all companies, Cisco, which makes networking equipment that runs the Internet and provides communications for large companies, has seen sales slump as a result of the global recession. The company said earlier this year that it would likely cut between 1,500 and 2,000 jobs as it realigned its business to focus on newer more profitable business segments. The cuts were expected to be completed at the end of the company's fiscal year, which ends this month.

In February, Cisco said it cut about 250 jobs at its San Jose headquarters. Cisco had 66,558 employees at the end of April. Despite the cuts, Cisco's CEO John Chambers has said publicly that he believes the worst of the recession is over. But he noted that it could take some time before spending returns to high levels. Wall Street will be watching the company's next earnings call very carefully to see signs that the bottom has been reached. Cisco will report fiscal fourth quarter and end of year earnings on August 5 after the market closes.

Has Intel completed Wind River acquisition?

Intel has completed its purchase of Wind River, which builds software for smartphones and other devices.

The acquisition is costing Intel $11.50 a share in cash for a total price tag of around $884 million, Intel said Friday. Wind River is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel, reporting to the chipmaker's Software and Services Group.

By scooping up Wind River, Intel hopes to carve out a greater chunk of the mobile device market. Wind River designs operating systems and other software for cell phones, portable Internet devices, consumer electronics, and in-car "infotainment" systems. With such diverse customers as Sony, Verizon, Motorola, Boeing, and NASA, Wind River has its hooks in the automotive, aerospace, and telecommunications industries.

"The acquisition will deliver to Intel robust software capabilities in embedded systems and mobile devices, both important growth areas for the company," said Renee James, an Intel vice president and general manager of the company's Software and Services Group.

The purchase of Wind River also moves Intel further into software as an added source of revenue.

Though now owned by Intel, Wind River said it will continue to develop applications for its current customers. The company expects to pick up sales and new customers with access to Intel's technology, brand, and global sales force.

Intel first announced its decision to buy Wind River on June 4.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Who can replace Steve Jobs?

Apple is often seen synonymous with its CEO Steve Jobs. The company's charismatic CEO is regarded as Apple's face and soul by many. In fact, till a few months back it was tough to imagine Apple without its CEO Steve Jobs. Little doubt then that the news about Steve Jobs taking a medical leave sent the company's stocks plummeting.

The investors as well as the analysts linked the company's fortune with Jobs’ health. Most couldn't comprehend an Apple without Steve Jobs. However, Jobs’ five-month long medical leave seems to have changed the perception somewhat. Analysts believe that investors have gotten comfortable with Apple's management team as well as their ability to run the company without Jobs' oversight.

But the big question still remains: in case the CEO Jobs retires due to health or other reasons who will replace him? Who can sustain Apple's glory? So far Apple has been silent on any succession plan.

Fortune magazine listed the men who can fit into CEO Jobs’ shoes. Here's over to Apple's potential CEOs.

Timothy D Cook (Chief operating officer)

The top contender for the post of Apple's next CEO is Timothy D Cook, Apple's Chief operating officer.

Responsible for the company's worldwide sales and operations, he was the man in-charge for running Apple when Steve Jobs went on medical leave this year in January. In 2004 too when Jobs underwent surgery for a rare form of pancreatic cancer, Cook rightly filled his place.

An IBM & Compaq veteran, Cook was brought on in 1998 to overhaul Apple’s inefficient manufacturing and logistics. At the time, the company’s Macintosh customers were switching to cheaper machines from Dell Inc and Hewlett-Packard Co.

Born in Mobile, Alabama, Cook earned an engineering degree from Auburn University and went on to do Master's of Business Administration from Duke University in North Carolina.

He sits on the board at Nike Inc, the world’s largest maker of sneakers, and is an avid biker. Cook also has a passion for cycling.

Ron Johnson (Senior vice president, retail)

Another potential successor to Steve Jobs is Ron Johnson, Apple's senior vice president, retail.

Johnson, who joined in January 2000, reports directly to CEO Steve Jobs. Johnson leads Apple's retail strategy and is responsible for its overall execution and performance.

Having spent more than 20 years of experience in retail and merchandising, Johnson is credited for opening over 200 Apple stores. Before joining Apple, Johnson held various management positions at the Target Corporation, most recently as Vice President of Merchandising for Target Stores.

Johnson did MBA from Harvard and his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Stanford University.

Philip W Schiller (Senior vice president, worldwide product marketing)

Another contender for the Apple's top job is Philip W Schiller, credited for delivering Apple's most popular products, including iPhone, iPod, Safari and Macbook.

Schiller is Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing and reports directly to Steve Jobs. A member of Apple’s executive team, he is responsible for the company’s product marketing, developer relations, and business marketing programs.

Prior to Apple, Schiller served as Vice President of Product Marketing at Macromedia, Inc of San Francisco, as Director of Product Marketing at FirePower Systems, Inc of Menlo Park, as an Information Technology Manager at Nolan, Norton & Company of Lexington, and as a Programmer and Systems Analyst at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Having over twenty four years of marketing and management experience, Schiller graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Boston College in 1982.

Scott Forstall (Senior vice president, iPhone software)

Having joined Apple in the year 1997, alongwith Steve Jobs, Scott Forstall, Senior vice president, iPhone software, is another key contender for Apple's CEO post.

Forstall leads the team responsible for delivering software of Apple iPhone including the user interface, applications, frameworks and operating system.

Forstall is credited for the original architects of Mac OS X and its Aqua user interface. He was responsible for several releases of the operating system, most importantly Mac OS X Leopard. Before Apple, he worked at NeXT developing core technologies.

Forstall received both a Bachelor of Science in Symbolic Systems and a Master of Science in Computer Science from Stanford University.

Jonathan Ive (Senior vice president, industrial design)

The man credited for designing key Apple products, Jonathan Ive, senior vice president, industrial design, too figures in the potential CEO's list.

Joining Apple in 1996, London born designer Jonathan Ive has been responsible for leading Apple's design team.

Ive holds a Bachelor of Arts and an honorary doctorate from Newcastle Polytechnic. In 2003 he was named Designer of the Year by the Design Museum London and awarded the title Royal Designer for Industry by The Royal Society of Arts.

Peter Oppenheimer (Chief financial officer)

Another prime contender for the job of Apple CEO is chief financial officer, Peter Oppenheimer. Joining Apple in July 1996, Oppenheimer has been CFO of the company since June 2004. Oppenheimer has also served Apple as vice president and corporate controller and as senior director of finance for Americas.

In his capacity as CFO, Oppenheimer oversees the controller, treasury, investor relations, tax, information systems, internal audit and facilities functions. He reports to the CEO and serves on the company’s executive committee.

Prior to joining Apple, Oppenheimer was CFO of one of the four business units for Automatic Data Processing, Inc (ADP). Before that, Oppenheimer spent six years in the Information Technology Consulting Practice with Coopers and Lybrand.

Oppenheimer received a bachelors degree from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo and an MBA from the University of Santa Clara, both with honors.

Bertrand Serlet (Senior vice president, software engineering)

Another front runner for the Apple CEO's post is the company's senior vice president of software engineering, Bertrand Serlet.

Credited for the release of Mac OS X Tiger and Leopard, Serlet is responsible for leading Apple's Software Engineering group. He reports directly to Steve Jobs.

Having joined Apple in 1997, Serlet has played a key role in the definition, development and creation of Mac OS X. As vice president of Platform Technology, Serlet managed the largest part of the Mac OS software engineering group. Prior to joining Apple, Serlet spent 4 years at Xerox PARC and then joined NeXT in 1989.

Serlet holds a doctorate in Computer Science from the University of Orsay, France.

Sina Tamaddon (Senior vice president, applications)

Another NeXT veteran who is said to possess the capability to fit into Steve Jobs' shoes is Sina Tamaddon, senior vice president, applications.

Tamaddon joined Apple in 1997, the same year when Steve Jobs came back to Apple. He has also been the company's senior vice president, worldwide service and support, and vice president and general manager, Newton Group.

Before joining Apple, Tamaddon was NeXT's vice president, Europe from September 1996 through March 1997. From August 1994 to August 1996, Tamaddon was vice president, professional services with NeXT.

Daniel Cooperman (Senior vice president, general counsel and secretary)

Apple's chief legal officer, Daniel Cooperman, too is said to be in the race for Apple's CEO job.

Responsible for Apple’s legal department, Cooperman looks into worldwide legal policies, corporate governance, securities compliance, commercial licensing, intellectual property, employment law, litigation, patent law, mergers and acquisitions and legal support for Apple’s various business units. Cooperman also manages Apple’s Government Affairs and Global Security groups.

Cooperman came to Apple from Oracle in November 2007, where he was General Counsel. He was with Oracle for 11 years. Cooperman currently serves on the Board of Directors of Business Software Alliance, a trade association in the software industry. He is president of the Association of General Counsel and is on the Advisory Council for the Law, Science and Technology Program at Stanford Law School.

Before Oracle, he was a partner with the San Francisco-based law firm of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen (now known as Bingham McCutchen), and served as chair of the firm's 65-lawyer Business & Transactions Group and managing partner of the San Jose office.

Bob Mansfield (Senior vice president, Mac hardware engineering)

The man credited for delivering Mac products, Bob Mansfield, senior vice president of Macintosh Hardware Engineering, too figures in the list of potential Apple CEOs.

Reporting to Tim Cook, Apple's chief operating officer, Bob oversees the team that has delivered products including MacBook Air and the all-in-one iMac line.

Prior to joining Apple in 1999, Bob was vice president of Engineering at Raycer Graphics, which Apple acquired. Previously, Mansfield was a senior director at SGI, responsible for the development of various microprocessor designs.

Mansfield earned a BSEE degree from The University of Texas at Austin in 1982.


Now pay your bills through an SMS

Making a payment can just be an SMS away, thanks to the latest offering by mChek that allows consumers to make payments through their mobile phones. mChek, a company that has developed several patent-pending applications in the areas of security and banking announced the launch of mChek/Payment.

mChek/Payment enables consumers to shop with their mobile phones in a convenient and safe manner, either across the counter or with remote merchants. The service enables consumers to easily link their mobile phone with their existing credit card without any software to be installed on their mobile, and subsequently transact on the Internet, call centers or over a simple SMS.

Telecom operator Bharti Airtel has signed up with mChek to offer its post paid subscribers in Karnataka, to make payments by using this application. "Our consistent focus on innovation has enabled us to connect with customers strongly. Services like mChek revolve around Airtel's philosophy to delight customers with newer technologies," said Venkatesh V, CEO, Mobile Services, Bharti Airtel, Karnataka., a part of Reliance BIG Entertainment, an online and offline movie rental service has also joined hands with mChek to enhance its value proposition for its customers. Kamal Gianchandani, Chief Operating Officer,, said, "Today the mobile platform is the fastest growing platform and the most personalized form of marketing to reach customers. Our partnership with mChek will definitely get us one step closer to our customers and ensure faster and convenient value added services."

Through this new application, mChek is all set to transform the way people live by making use of electronic money. Do you know 'How mChek transformed the lives of these people?'


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Can MS takes on Google with free Office software?

Microsoft will release a free version of its dominant Office software that users can access over the Web, catching up with products that arch rival Google launched three years ago.

The world’s largest software maker will offer a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software and a note-taking program with the same look and feel of their counterparts in the Office suites that it sells for personal computers.

It is the latest salvo in an intensifying war between the two technology giants. Google announced plans last week to challenge Windows with a free operating system. Microsoft introduced a new search engine, dubbed Bing, last month, that has taken a small amount of market share from Google.

A free version of Office could hurt sales of Microsoft's top-selling and most profitable business unit. One of Office's most popular titles is a home version that sells for $150. It includes the four programs that Microsoft will give away.

“Microsoft is in a tough spot. Their competition isn't just undercutting them. They are giving away the competitive product,” said Sheri McLeish, an analyst with Forrester Research. The Office division rang up operating profit of $9.3 billion in the first three quarters of the software maker's current fiscal year. — Reuters

McLeish said she expects Microsoft to overtake Google in the market as the hundreds of millions of people who use Office flock to try out the Internet version.

Microsoft will seek to make money by using it to lead those users to its ad-supported websites, including the Bing search engine. Analysts have said that Bing's early signs of success suggest Microsoft may be rounding the corner in efforts to turn around its money-losing Internet division.

Microsoft will release the free offering when it starts selling Office 2010, it next major release of the product, sometime in the first half of next year. Its current version came out in January 2007.

The software maker unveiled an early release on Monday at a conference for business partners in New Orleans. It will be distributed to tens of thousands of testers.

Company spokeswoman Janice Kapner said the free Web version will provide "a very rich experience" and probably have more functionality than Google.

Office 2010 is among a wave of upgrades to Microsoft programs planned over the next year. A new version of its ubiquitous Windows operating system is coming out in October and a new version of its widely used email server is also in the works.

Microsoft also plans two other Internet versions of Office for businesses.

It will host one of them at its own data centers, charging a yet-to-be-announced fee for that service. Businesses with premium service contracts will have the choice of running the Web-based version from their own data centers at no extra cost.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Has Siemens IT arm sacked over 500 as Union claims?

IT firm Siemens Information Systems, a unit of German conglomerate Siemens, today said it has laid off 128 employees as part of its cost cutting measures, debunking union's claim that 500 employees had lost jobs.

The IT-ITeS union UNITES India said the number of employees laid off by the company could be around 500. It added that Siemens is laying off its employees in Bangalore violating the Industrial Dispute Act.

When contacted SISL spokesperson said, "As a part of our cost-cutting initiatives, we have released only 128 employees from one of the business units."

UNITES Professionals India General Secretary Karthik Shekhar said, "The figures provided by the company does not include the number of employees who were on contract. In the last one month, the company has laid off more than 128 employees."

SISL has over 5,500 employees in the country. The union has also written to the headquarters of the firm in Germany.

About compensating the employees, the company said it has already compensated the affected employees higher than the contractual terms.


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