We hate to read about job cuts during the holiday season (or any time during the year, but especially now), and McAfee said it was a "difficult decision" to trim its workforce, but ultimately felt that's what needed to be done if the company's going to grow in 2012. The Intel-owned security outfit handed out around 250 pink slips, effectively reducing its workforce by 3 percent.
AMD, the world's second largest maker of computer microprocessors with an approximately 20 percent share of the global market, announced a "restructuring plan and implementation of operational efficiency initiatives" that involves handing out pink slips to 10 percent of the chip maker's workforce. The layoffs are part of an overall effort to save the company more than $200 million in 2012.
The bring your own computer to work debate is one that we are sure many Maximum PC readers will have a unique opinion on, but it was also the subject of conversation in a recent BBC article where several business were asked to chime in. The concept is fairly simple. How many of you toil away for 40 hours per week on a five year old PC running Windows XP? It’s even more painful when you consider that you probably have more CPU horsepower on the smartphone in your pocket, than the soviet era antique humming away under your desk.
Several large tech companies such as Intel and Microsoft owned up to operating a “bring your own computer to work” policy where the hardware is subsidized, and both companies had nothing but praise for the program. "Employees love having the freedom to choose whatever they like," said Citrix’s vice-president of marketing. The reality is that there are a number of consumer devices that provide services that you just don't see in a corporate laptop, and employees just enjoy their computing experience more."
Of course not everyone is convinced. BNet columnist Erik Sherman says mainstream rollouts of this type of program are simply wishful thinking. "Why do you assume the employees are going to spend the money on the service contract just because you told them to?" Have you ever got anything repaired through a chain store? I have - it took like four weeks. Please don't tell me it's going to go any faster because I bought the computer for work?"
No doubt the debate will continue to rage on, but which side of the fence do you fall on?
Epson has garnered significant attention for its line of photo printers, which deliver high-quality photographic output and reliable performance. The company is less known for building small-business printers, but the Workforce 610 should change that perception.
This machine delivers a ton of features in an attractive, black package and features wired (10/100) and wireless (802.11b/g) Ethernet networking in addition to the ubiquitous USB 2.0 connectivity. A 1,200-by-2,400 dpi scanner is built in, enabling it to work as a copier and fax machine (in concert with the integrated 33.6Kbps modem). A 30-sheet document feeder folds neatly out of the way when not needed (and keeps dust bunnies from taking up residence inside the mechanism).
Flash memory slots enable you to print photos directly from Compact Flash, MMC, xD-Picture, and Sony Memory stick cards, as well as most SD flavors (except the new SDXC format). There’s also a USB port for connecting a USB flash drive. One important feature you won’t find is an automatic duplexer; you’ll have to manage the process manually if you want two-sided prints (Epson’s printer driver provides on-screen assistance).
At nearly 10 percent, the unemployment rate is the highest it's been in 26 years, or a little over a quarter of a century. Nevertheless, SMBs are looking to the coming year with optimism and planning to hire rather than lay off more workers, suggests a new study.
Intuit Payroll pinged over 1,000 SMB owners and found that 44 percent have plans to hire in the next year, and 60 percent are expecting their businesses to grow. But there's also a bit of a quandary SMBs find themselves in.
Nearly 90 percent of the survey participants indicated health insurance benefits as key to attracting and retaining good employees, but 58 percent don't offer healthcare benefits, with nearly half saying they simply can't afford it.
"There's a wideing gap of expectations," said Nora Denzel, senior vice president of Intuit's Employee Management Solutions Division. "On one hand, we as a society assume that health and retirement benefits are part of every employee's compensation package. And yet even as these small businesses gear up to hire, according to our results, small businesses are leery about what those benefits will cost."
Intuit also found that only 1 percent of respondents reported receiving federal stimulus money, even though 74 percent admit that they are probably not taking advantage of all the benefits made available to them under the federal economic stimulus plan.
Cheap memory prices are taking a toll on chip manufacturers, with Micron last week reporting a $344 million fourth quarter loss, the seventh quarter in a row the company has been in the red. The fallout of another quarterly loss was to fall on the shoulders of executives, who Micron said would see a 20 percent pay cut. Now it appears it won't be enough.
In addition to the high level pay cuts, Micron now says it plans to reduce its global workforce by about 15 percent. The job reduction is part of a restructuring plan and will be rolled out over the next two years with most of the cuts taking place in Boise, Idaho.
"The combination of declining customer demand and product oversupply in the marketplace has driven selling prices for NAND flash memory significantly below manufacturing costs," Micron said in a statement.
Because of this, IM Flash Technologies (IMFT), which is a joint venture between Micron and Intel, will stop producing NAND flash memory from Micron's Boise facility, a move that will reduce IMFT's flash production by about 35,000 wafers per month.