Along with Sony, it looks like Microsoft is going to be heavily cutting jobs. The Redmond based software-maker is looking to cut nearly 5,000 jobs (or 5 percent of their workforce) over the next 18 months. Nearly 1,400 of these layoffs happened immediately.
“Economic activity and IT spend slowed beyond our expectations in the quarter, and we acted quickly to reduce our cost structure and mitigate its impact,” said Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell in a statement. “We are planning for economic uncertainty to continue through the remainder of the fiscal year, almost certainly leading to lower revenue and earnings for the second half, relative to the previous year. In this environment, we will focus on outperforming our competitors and addressing our cost structure.”
Reportedly, they’ll be delaying raises and lessening their vendor and contractor workforce as well. Microsoft projects that moves like these will cut its annual operating costs by $1.5 billion and reduce fiscal-year 2009 expenditures by $700 million.
This year Sony is reporting that they will post a $3 billion annual operating loss due to the deterioration of the global economy. Alongside that, they’re looking to restructure their company a bit, which will include massive layoffs and factory closings.
“The massive economic upheaval being experienced across the world is sparing no one in the consumer electronics world,” said Howard Stringer, the Sony chief executive. He claims that the main problem had been “a significant deterioration” in the company’s core electronics division. Business was notably down across every major line, including games, movies and financial services.
Sony’s stock has declined by nearly 65 percent over the past 12 months, and there doesn’t look to be an immediate fix in sight. One can hope that they’re able to weather the economic storm and get through this, though massive layoffs seem to be an inevitability at this point.
Earlier this month BFG announced it would become a boutique system builder, a bold move considering the market sector has seen the departure of big name boutiques like Alienware, Voodoo, and HyperSonic as standalone entities (now owned by Dell, HP, and OCZ respectively). Even bolder was the announcement of its $8,000 flagship Elite model in the new Phobos line, which comes standard with dual BFG GeForce GTX 295 videocards, Intel's Core i7 965 Extreme processor, 6GB of RAM, and other high end treats.
Now that www.bfgsystems.com has gone live and is taking orders, we have more information on the Performance and Advanced models, which start at $3,000 and $8,000 respectively. For three grand, the Performance configuration comes standard with a water-cooled Core i7 920 (2.66GHz) processor, 6GB of DDR3-1333 RAM, GeForce GTX 285 videocard, two 640GB WD hard drives, DVD burner, and a 1KW PSU. The Advanced configuration bumps the processor up to Intel's Core i7 940 (2.93GHz), adds a second GTX 285 videocard, trades the 640GB hard drives for a pair of 300GB Velociraptors instead, and forgoes onboard sound in favor of Creative's X-Fi Titanium.
All three configurations come with free in-home setup.
We've been following closely ever since some Seagate hard drive owners started complaining late last week that their hard drives were failing "at an alarming rate." Following a flood of complaints on Seagate's support forum and plenty of media coverage, Seagate responded with a firmware update that was supposed to solve the issue and prevent future lockups from occurring for owners who hadn't yet been affected. Turns out the new firmware wasn't quite ready for prime time, and Seagate had to pull the update after learning it was bricking users' hard drives. Oops!
The latest straight from Seagate is that the company has now released yet another firmware update that both will prevent future problems and undo the damage inflicted by installing the original firmware 'fix.'
Yahoo "Anti-Spam Czar" Mark Risher says the search company has begun taking several steps toward cutting back on the amount of spam Yahoo email account holders receive.
"Recently, Yahoo!’s anti-spam team has been using a 'supercomputer; consisting of thousands of individual PCs — part of our open source Hadoop project — to help detect spammer," Risher wrote on the Yahoo Mail blog. "We’re teamed up with several top universities on this research, looking for more ways to find and block the bad guys even faster, before they can do their damage."
Risher went on to say Yahoo has signed a deal with Abaca, a startup company who ambitiously promises "a minimum of 99 percent accuracy" when it comes to detecting spam. Yahoo has also begun using Return Path technology, which lets legitimate companies know when their emails have been marked as spam.
Every time Intel sets foot in the SSD market, something good seems to happen. The company's first foray resulted in one of the fastest SSDs yet available with its X-25M boasting read and write speeds of up to 250MB/s and 70MB/s respectively, and now the chip maker wants to boost capacities.
The amount of storage space most SSDs offer has typically been a weak point with the technology to this point, but according Bloomberg, Intel sent a document to its customers telling them to expect a 320GB SSD in the fourth quarter. The comparatively high capacity SSD will be one of eight new drives Intel plans to release, all of which will be built with 32nm chips.
No word yet on pricing or a specific release date, but if released today, the 320GB SSD would be the consumer market's largest capacity to date. However, Toshiba is also working on a high capacity SSD that will offer 512GB of storage and expects to ship the drive in Q2.
Earlier this month HP launched its Ubuntu'd Mini 1000 Mi, and even more recently, several 1100-series netbooks starting appearing on the company's website, but there weren't any details to speak of. While these new netbooks remain unannounced, HP has apparently been busy updating its product specifications page for the 1133CL, 1135NR, 1140NR, and 1141NR.
Despite the different model numbers, only the lack of Bluetooth on the 1133CL and 1141NR seem to be a differentiating factor. All four netbooks are listed as having an Intel Atom N270 (1.60GHz) processor, 1GB of RAM, a 60GB hard drive, 10.1-inch display, 802.11b/g, HD audio, 2-in-1 media card reader, and an ExpressCard/54 slot.
It doesn't matter how good Intel's Core i7 platform is (and it's pretty damn good), several thousand of the chip maker's employees could soon be looking for employment elsewhere. As part of a plan to restructure its manufacturing operations and realign its manufacturing capacity to current market conditions, Intel said it will consolidate several "older" facilities.
"The actions at the four sites, when combined with associated support functions, are expected to affect between 5,000 and 6,000 employees worldwide," Intel said in a statement. "Not all employees will leave Intel; some may be offered positions at other facilities. The actions will take place between now and the end of 2009."
The restructuring effort includes closing two assembly test facilities in Penang, Malaysia and one in Cavite, Philippines, and halting production at Fab 20 in Hillsboro, Oregon. Intel will also stop producing wafers at its D2 facility in Santa Clara, California. Despite the restructuring and layoffs, Intel says the deployment of 45nm and 32nm manufacturing capacity will not be impacted.
"It's going to happen whether you like it or not," the virtual worlds developer said of gold farming. "People will always find the path of least resistance, if you stop them buying your gold then they'll buy that gold from somebody else who is gold farming."
"Trying to stop that happening is literally like telling the tide not to come in - you will fail."
"If you don't build that into your system then you're not going to be able to compete with the gold farmers and that will ruin your in-game economy, which will in turn ruin your game. At the very least having the recognition that virtual economics is a discipline and is a very important integral part to being a virtual world," he added.
Fraser-Robinson listed Eve Online as a game that -- rather than stomping out real money transactions only to have them return in greater force – arranged its economy with the help of an actual economist.
"I think that's absolutely essential going forward… because wherever humans are in communities and whenever they are bartering there is a market and there is going to be a market place. If you let that go with no regulation and no recognition then very, very crazy things will happen."
In a talky-torial published at The Escapist, Team Fortress 2 developer Robin Walker hinted at yet another presumably free addition to TF2’s bullet-ridden house of hilarity. And fortunately for those who’ve moved onto grayer pastures, the article touts a “very different” mode currently just out of sniping range.
"A new Payload map is in the works, more community maps are on the way and the team will soon unveil a very different new game mode," read the article.
In addition, Walker confirmed that Valve has all manner of new class designs just waiting to get their shots at the small screen, but wouldn’t give a timeframe for their deployment.
“We've got several new class designs floating around, some of which we like a lot, but right now we're focusing on the broadening of our existing classes through the addition of the unlockables," he said.
Frankly, as long as Valve tosses up a few more “Meet the ____” movies, we’ll be dandy. How about you?