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Day of gloom for three tech leaders
|23 января 2009|
Microsoft on Thursday announced its first company-wide job cuts in its 34-year history, capping a day of gloom for the technology sector.
The software group’s unveiling of plans to cut up to 5,000 jobs came as Sony plunged deeper into crisis after the consumer electronics group warned it would suffer its first full-year operating loss in 14 years, hit by the global economic downturn and strong yen.
Nokia also revealed a sharp fall in 2008 profits and issued a gloomy forecast of a 10 per cent fall in global industry sales of mobile phones.
Google provided some late relief, reporting that its revenues rose by 25 per cent to $4.22bn, or $100m more than analysts expected, in the final quarter. The internet search leader followed Apple and IBM in bucking the trend of recession-hit technology earnings.
Microsoft brought forward its second-quarter earnings announcement, revealing the extent of the damage caused by a slump in PC sales and growing consumer demand for “netbooks”, low-cost laptops that generate lower software revenues. The job cuts, out of a total of 96,000, will begin with 1,400 job losses on Thursday, it said.
“We are in the middle of a once-in-a-lifetime set of economic conditions,” said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive.
Microsoft said its revenues in the second quarter grew 2 per cent from a year before, to $16.6bn, lower than the $17.1bn that Wall Street had expected.
Sony’s forecast of a Y260bn ($2.9bn) operating loss in the year to March 2009 was far worse than even the most pessimistic market forecasts, intensifying pressure on its management to turn the company round.
Sir Howard Stringer, chairman and chief executive, bluntly acknowledged the depth of the troubles facing the maker of Bravia LCD televisions and PlayStation game consoles.
“A crisis is an opportunity, as long as the whole company assumes it is a crisis,” he said. “I believe it is my responsibility to change Sony and restore it to its former profitability.”
Finland’s Nokia reported profits dropped sharply in 2008 while its operating margins fell from 16 per cent to 10 per cent. It said it expected 2009 sales of mobile phones for the industry as a whole to fall by 10 per cent.
The cost-cutting and financial underperformance from the leading software, handset and consumer electronics companies reflected the spread of the economic crisis from housing and cars to reduced spending by consumers on gadgets such as computers and mobile phones.
Источник: Financial Times