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October 30, 2014

Microsoft Cuts 3,000 Jobs, Finishing Layoffs

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

The bad news: Microsoft cut another 3,000 employees today. The good news: this is pretty much the last of the layoffs announced by CEO Satya Nadella this summer.

In a statement to PCMag, a Microsoft spokesperson said the reductions are taking place across a variety of teams in many different countries, though there's no word as to which departments will be hit hardest.

"We've taken another step that will complete almost all the 18,000 reductions announced in July," the spokesperson said.

Today's cuts follow two previous rounds of layoffs. Microsoft kicked things off in July, axing 13,000 in the first wave before cutting another 2,100 workers in September.

GeekWire reported that about 638 of today's layoffs were in the Seattle area, for a total of 2,700 layoffs in Microsoft's home region, where the company employed some 42,500 people at the end of September. The report noted that many of the downsized positions were in support roles, including finance, human resources, sales, and marketing.

The reductions come as Microsoft works to integrate the Nokia handset business it acquired in April for $7.2 billion. Following the Nokia deal, Microsoft's employee headcount rose from about 99,000 last year to 127,000. About 12,500 of the 18,000 layoffs came from Nokia, including professional and factory workers.

In a July memo to employees, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, pictured, said the company would largely nix work on Android-based devices. "We plan to shift select Nokia X product designs to become Lumia products running Windows," he wrote. "This builds on our success in the affordable smartphone space and aligns with our focus on Windows Universal Apps."



October 4, 2014

Sprint Announces Layoffs, Number of Affected Employees Unknown

Sprint LogoThe nation's third-largest wireless carrier has announced that it'll be cutting jobs, though it hasn't yet identified just who will be getting the axe—or how many people. 

The company made notice of the layoffs in a regulatory filing published with the Securities and Exchange Commission this Friday. The layoffs are expected to hit both management and non-management positions, and Sprint expects that it'll spend around $160 million or so during its second fiscal quarter on severance-related costs.

Just to put that number in perspective, Sprint spent more than $165 million during the fourth quarter of last year on severance costs related to the loss of 300 to 500 jobs from its retail divisions. However, it's unclear if the severance package for former Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, who left the position in early August, will count as part of the $160 million Sprint is estimating to spend on its latest round of layoffs.

If so, notes the Kansas City Business Journal, his $40 million severance package or thereabouts would eat up about one-fourth of that estimate.

Sprint is expecting that I'll be able to complete the layoff process by the end of October. 



September 18, 2014

Microsoft Cuts 2,100 Jobs in Latest Round of Layoffs

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft is eliminating 2,100 workers today as part of its previously announced plan to cut 18,000 jobs over the next year.

In a statement to PCMag, a Microsoft spokesperson said the reductions are taking place across a variety of teams, though there's no word as to which departments will be hit hardest.

"The reductions happening today are spread across many different business units, and many different countries," the spokesperson said. "We will continue to go through this process in the most thoughtful manner possible, with the deepest respect for affected individuals and recognition of their service to the company. We will offer severance to all affected employees."

Bloomberg reported that some 747 workers will be laid off in the Puget Sound region, where Microsoft is based.

Microsoft in July axed 13,000 employees in the first wave of layoffs. The reductions come as Microsoft works to integrate the Nokia handset business it acquired in April for $7.2 billion. Following the Nokia deal, Microsoft's employee headcount rose from about 99,000 last year to 127,000.

About 12,500 of the 18,000 total layoffs planned for this year will come from Nokia, including professional and factory workers.

In a July memo to employees, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (pictured) said the company would largely nix work on Android-based devices. "We plan to shift select Nokia X product designs to become Lumia products running Windows," he wrote. "This builds on our success in the affordable smartphone space and aligns with our focus on Windows Universal Apps."



January 19, 2014

Intel to Trim 5% of Workforce in 2014

Intel Avoton Package

A layoff at Intel? Not quite.

Or at least, that's how the company is attempting to spin its plans to cut roughly five percent of its workforce in 2014.

The news comes a day after the company announced a quarterly profit of $2.6 billion on revenue of $13.8 billion — both figures are up approximately three percent from the same time period last year, but the company's yearly profit of $9.6 billion was down 13 percent from 2013's figures. Its sales were down one percent to $52.7 billion, and Intel executives are predicting no growth (or loss) in 2014.

Intel's trimming – or whatever it happens to call the reduction in employee count – might not be as bad as it sounds. According to executives, Intel might just not elect to fill spots vacated by quitting or retiring workers. Approximately four percent of the company cycles each year, which seems a bit better than an arbitrary axing of a bit over 5,000 of the company's employees.

"It would be wrong to conclude this is a layoff," described Intel spokesman Chris Kraeuter in an interview with AFP.



June 13, 2013

IBM Cuts More Than 1,600 U.S. Jobs

IBM Logo

IBM has laid off more than 1,600 U.S. workers in a new round of job cuts this week, according to an employee advocacy organization.

As of Thursday afternoon, 1,631 IBM workers across multiple business units had been laid off, according to Alliance@IBM, which is keeping track of the cuts as it receives severance documents from affected workers. The downsizing includes 222 employees in the software marketing group, 165 workers from semiconductor research and development, and 137 from management.

"Change is constant in the technology industry and transformation is an essential feature of our business model," IBM said in a statement to PCMag when asked about the cuts. "Consequently, some level of workforce remix is a constant requirement for our business."

IBM declined to provide any details about the latest round of cuts, adding that "we do not publicly discuss the details of staffing plans."

The move is part of a billion-dollar, worldwide restructuring plan announced in April following IBM's disappointing first-quarter financial results, according to Bloomberg. The layoffs will affect almost all IBM divisions in every location, including outposts in Raleigh, North Carolina; Burlington, Vermont; Austin, Texas; and New York's Hudson Valley, Alliance@IBM coordinator Lee Conrad told the news outlet.



May 20, 2013

Reports: 3 More Foxconn Employees Commit Suicide

Foxconn Worker

Suicide continues to plague Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics manufacturing giant best known for making Apple products.

At least two Foxconn workers, and one prospective employee, have fallen to their deaths in Zhengzhou, China over the last 20 days, according to various reports. The most recent incident occurred on May 14, when a 30-year-old male from Henan, who had been working at Foxconn since the end of April, jumped off the roof of a building, New York-Based nonprofit China Labor Watch reported on Friday.

Before that, a 23-year-old female worker reportedly leapt off the twelfth floor of an apartment building on April 27, China Labor Watch said. Just days earlier on April 24, a 24-year-old male worker jumped off the roof of a dormitory building.

Foxconn's parent company Hon Hai told The Wall Street Journal in a statement that the employee deaths on April 27 and May 14 occurred outside of the company's property and there wasn't any reason to believe they were work-related. The technology giant said that the 24-year-old man who died on April 24 was not a Foxconn employee, but had applied for a job with the company.

According to a separate report from PCWorld, another worker from Foxconn's Chongqing, China facility was found dead on May 11 after jumping from a building. Police are investigating the incident.

At this point, the reason for the suicides is unclear.



February 8, 2013

HP Cracks Down on Student Labor in China

hp logo Hewlett-Packard is the latest major consumer electronics company to take a hard look at its overseas suppliers.

As first reported by the New York Times, HP today provided its Chinese suppliers with new rules regarding the use of student and temp workers.

The guidelines state that workers must be there on a voluntary basis and be permitted to leave without negative repercussions. All local rules regarding working age and hours must be enforced or exceeded. Students should also only be working on projects that complement their area of study, and the number of student workers should be limited. Factories should be "composed primarily of full-time workers," HP said.

"HP has a history of leadership in proactively addressing labor issues and driving supply chain improvements," Tony Prophet, senior vice president of Worldwide Supply Chain Operations at HP, said in a statement. "We have worked closely with leading Chinese stakeholders to develop our new student and temporary worker guidelines to ensure the highest standards of ethical workforce management."

Suppliers are being asked to comply with the guidelines immediately, HP said. Progress will be monitored via audits.

HP said its supply chain includes more than 1,000 production suppliers and tens of thousands of nonproduction suppliers in more than 45 countries and territories.



December 28, 2012

Foxconn Factory Conditions Improving, One Comfy Chair at a Time

Foxconn employees

Working conditions seem to be improving at Apple production partner Foxconn's mainland China factories, if that's what more comfortable chairs and protective foam on low stairwell ceilings mean.

New York Times article published Wednesday details positive changes at Foxconn's China-based plants, which have been criticized by global labor rights groups and were toured by the Fair Labor Association (FLA) at Apple's request earlier this year.

In May, reports from both the Hong Kong-based watchdog group Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) and the FLA found abuses at Foxconn facilities. This year's multiple Apple product launches put added pressure on the factories, which allegedly pushed workers into overtime and forced them to endure "humiliating" disciplinary action, including the writing and reading of confession letters, and manual labor duties like toilet cleaning.

A worker uprising came about a month later, when dozens of Foxconn employees were arrested during a riot at the Chengdu, China plant after a class with security staff. Furthermore, reports of an iPhone 5 production line strike surfaced just weeks after the new Apple smartphone hit shelves in September.

But could the Taiwanese contract manufacturing giant be turning things around just in time to make a New Year's resolution?

According to the Times, Foxconn has already carried out more than 280 of 360 changes recommended by the FLA.



December 6, 2012

Some Apple Mac Production Moving to U.S. in 2013, Cook Says

tim cook responds

Apple chief Tim Cook confirmed this week that some parts of Mac production will come to the U.S. starting next year.

"Next year we are going to bring some production to the U.S. on the Mac," Cook said in a far-reaching interview with Bloomberg Businessweek. "We've been working on this for a long time, and we were getting closer to it. It will happen in 2013."

Reports of a U.S.-made Mac made the rounds earlier this week when TechCrunch reported that some of the new iMacs said "Assembled in USA."

While many of Apple's products are produced overseas, it does have a plant in Elk Grove, Calif. TechCrunch pointed to a Sacramento Business Journal article from September, that said the Elk Grove facility had grown to 1,800 employees, up 50 percent from last year.

Cook did not comment on where in the U.S. the Macs will be produced. He conceded that Apple won't be working alone; "well be working with people, and we'll be investing our money," he said. But Cupertino will shell out "over $100 million," he said.

"We could have quickly maybe done just assembly, but it's broader because we wanted to do something more substantial," he said.



November 7, 2012

Foxconn Boss Confirms iPhone 5 Production Delays

iPhone 5

Hon Hai Precision Industry and Foxconn chairman Terry Gou on Wednesday confirmed reports that production of Apple's new iPhone 5 is hitting snags and that the Taiwanese contract manufacturer is unable to supply Apple with as many units as the iPhone maker is requesting.

Gou didn't specify what was causing the production issues in a talk with reporters at a Taipei conference, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"Market demand is very strong, but we just can't really fulfill Apple's requests," Gou was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

It was first reported last month that certain difficult-to-produce components of the new iPhone, such as an anodized aluminum back casing that's prone to scratching, were making it difficult for Apple suppliers like Foxconn to produce the smartphones fast enough to meet demand.

Overtaxed quality control inspectors at Foxconn's mainland China facilities where iPhone 5s are assembled reportedly launched a strike in October to protest new tough-to-meet production standards, though Foxconn at the time denied that there had been a strike or any disruption to iPhone production.