Jerry Yang, you're not helping the local economy. Silicon Valley unemployment reached 6.5 percent last month, up from 6.4 percent in July. It's the fourth month in a row that the number increased, reports Digital Daily. Hewlett-Packard recently announced it plans to cut 24,000 jobs, and an analyst said eBay needs to lose 1,500. But we're curious: Have any startups had layoffs? The snidely buoyant attitude of South of Market's bubble dwellers is unlikely to change until their friends start getting pink-slipped.
As a by-product of its recent merger with EDS, Hewlett-Packard announced a layoff of more than 24,000 jobs, or almost 8 percent of its workforce. The cuts are highest in support divisions — accounting, information technology, human relations, procurement and legal. But the main rationale of the layoffs is to refocus the combined company's computer-services division on high-end consulting, not low-end gruntwork. What’s worse is the timeframe: job cuts take place over three years. If you work at HP or EDS, your office has now become a professional hospice unit. Adding to the workplace angst: Some at HP, we hear, are getting bonuses even as their colleagues get pink slips. For those fretting about the potential loss of income in these troubling times, we offer the following suggestions on finding your next job or coping with survivor’s guilt.
Hewlett-Packard just announced it will cut 24,600 jobs over the next three years, as it integrates tech consultancy EDS. Half the cuts will take place in the U.S. The company is taking a $1.7 billion charge in the fourth quarter to account for the costs of shedding jobs. Layoffs always suck, but we never were sure what all of those IT consultants did, anyway. [WSJ]
A report by BusinessWeek says "employees in HP's PC division are exploring the possibility of building a mass-market operating system. HP's software would be based on Linux, but it would be simpler and easier for mainstream users." The threat is simple: A sub-$1,000 MacBook would knock a huge hole in HP's own notebook sales. Apple is only $100 away from that goal. The division's CTO insists "it's about innovating on top of Vista." But on top of is a misleading preposition for some of his company's modifications, which bypass Vista's built-in photo and video apps in favor of HP's own. (Illustration by Paul Blow/BusinessWeek)
When you watch The Real World on MTV, don't you often wish the episodes were only five minutes long, focused mainly on computerized digital art, and full of awesome Hewlett-Packard products? No? That's cause you're out of touch with the youth of today. Luckily MTV and Hewlett-Packard are in touch with what's hip, and are bringing this fantasy "Real World Of Kids Looking At Computer Screens" to life! Could this be the best digital art-focused corporate co-branded semi-reality advertainment vehicle ever? YES, if Moby has anything to say about it! The totally tubular new series is called Engine Room, and is thoughtfully sponsored by HP itself. It follows in the footsteps of classic HP-sponsored MTV branded entertainment video series like Meet or Delete and Dorm Storm. Remember those? Yea! HP is seriously spending "tens of millions of dollars" on this show. Try to ignore this focus-grouped lineup!:
"A MacBook is in the same ballpark as a roughly similar Dell or HP, and less than a Sony." That's the conclusion of Technologizer editor Harry McCracken, after running the numbers several different ways on competing notebooks. The MacBook didn't win most hardware categories, but it came out well-rounded, with superior warranty service and media software. McCracken, until recently the editor in chief of PC World, was infamous among local tech journalists for toting Apple laptops to work.
In theory, Microsoft's license agreement for Vista says you can get a refund from your PC's manufacturer if you buy a model with Vista preinstalled, but replace it with Windows XP, Linux or another operating system. In practice, Equlibriate blogger Kim Kido, a k a uncle_benji, spent two months calling and emailing HP before the company finally cut her a $200 check. She's posted a detailed recap of the story, including screenshots of customer service emails and a photo of the check. I'm willing to bet Kido cost the company another $200 in customer service time. (Photo by uncle_benji)
This week, the HP vice president indicted for leaking trade secrets from IBM, his former employeer, pleaded guilty. Dude, UR DOIN IT RONG. Atul Malhotra allegedly emailed the goods to a coworker, drawing a big red arrow back to his own forehead. Ready to cash in on your inside info? Follow this six-step plan.
Even as the New York Times staffs up its technology bureau, the Wall Street Journal is cutting back — at least on some of its higher-priced names. Among the names of layoff victims supplied by a tipster: Jason Fry, online Real Time columnist, and George Anders, author of Perfect Enough, the definitive business biography of former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.
Tech workers looking for cash are selling information about vulnerabilities in their own companies' products, according to a report in Fast Company by investigative journalist Adam Penenberg. (For the Olds, Penenberg is the guy who busted hacker-hoax writer Stephen Glass ten years ago. Yes, ten years. We are OLDZ.) Penenberg got Hewlett-Packard to admit they'd been compromised by "a rogue employee in France," then tracked down the guy he believes bought the info: An instructor at Paris's Institut Supérieur d'Electronique.
Its pretexting heyday may be over, but HP is apparently still not adverse to a little telephone trickery, as its pending patent for Text-to-Speech Conversion with Associated Mood Tag shows. In it, HP touts the use of VoiceXML to have a fake 18-year-old salesgirl register her disgust with customers who don't respond to offers.
The culture at Hewlett-Packard, according to the Wall Street Journal, "is considered more of a consensus-building style." You know — lots of meetings and executives who give time and consideration to each other's very important ideas. Meanwhile, the man who runs EDS, the tech-services outfit HP is buying for $13 billion, likes to fire people who don't agree with him. He's Ronald Rittenmeyer, "a high-control, results-oriented, very focused leader," a rival CEO told the Journal. Rittenmeyer, this CEO said, "is exactly what you want in a senior leader" — whether HP colleagues like it or not.
Hewlett-Packard has software to automate datacenters; EDS has datacenters which need automating. That's part of the logic behind HP's $13.9 billion acquisition of the tech-services business. The deal proves that Marc Andreessen is prescient. After he sold Netscape to AOL, Andreessen launched LoudCloud, a website-hosting business powered by advanced software. In the wake of the bust, Andreessen sold the hosting part of the business to EDS, and relaunched the company as Opsware, the name of its automation software. HP bought Opsware last year. While reuniting LoudCloud's constituent parts isn't the reason why Mark Hurd is doing the deal, he is proving that Andreessen's early vision of combining software and services was on the money. Timing is everything.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Hewlett-Packard is nearing a deal to buy EDS for $12 billion to $13 billion. Having set Dell back on its heels in PC sales, HP is now moving to challenge IBM. As computers become commodities, the money is in installing and maintaining them, not marking up Intel's microprocessors and Microsoft's operating system for a thin margin. One wonders if Michael Dell is gutsy enough to launch a rival bid — or, with HP now worth three times as much as Dell, if he can really afford to.
Could Apple be preparing to spend its $18 billion cash hoard on acquisitions? Apple has hired Charles Charnas, an 18-year HP veteran who oversaw the $25 billion merger between Compaq and HP, to run Apple's intellectual-property licensing and strategic acquisitions. But don't count on Apple making any Yahoo-sized purchases. The company prefers to spend its cash in small amounts, buying talent and patents instead of large businesses which require integration. [9 to 5 Mac]
BusinessWeek's Spencer Ante has another interview outtake with former Hewlett-Packard board member and Kleiner Perkins cofounder Tom Perkins. In it, Perkins explains how he helped turn around HP. Here's the 100-word version of the harrowing tale of board committees, patent policies and microprocessors oh my!