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July 17, 2014

Microsoft to lay off 18,000 as it digests Nokia

Posted by David Hunter at 9:32 AM ET.

Microsoft’s new CEO Satya Nadella dropped the other shoe today by announcing layoffs of up to 18,000 employees over the next year. 13,000 will be announced imminently and of those,  “our work toward synergies and strategic alignment on Nokia Devices and Services is expected to account for about 12,500 jobs, comprising both professional and factory workers.” I expect that, as usual, it’s better to be working for the the absorber than the absorbee.

As for the remaining 5,000, “the vast majority of employees whose jobs will be eliminated will be notified over the next six months.”



Filed under Executives, Financial, General Business, Layoffs, Microsoft, Satya Nadella

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February 3, 2014

So is the Microsoft CEO Succession Circus Finally Over?

Posted by David Hunter at 1:16 PM ET.

Inside The Microsoft CEO Search:

Even as Microsoft is poised to name a new CEO — it has been reported that the company will name insider Satya Nadella, head of its cloud and enterprise group — the process leading up to the announcement has emerged as, quite literally, a textbook example of how not to do CEO succession.

This isn’t how it’s supposed to work. Microsoft is a corporate aristocrat, albeit an eccentric duke, for which succession should be smooth, non-controversial, and unsurprising. Instead, at least 17 candidates were publicly speculated upon; leaks from employees and some of the candidates themselves competed for advantage in the media; a few presumed candidates, some of whom may never have been candidates at all, publicly disclaimed interest in the job; and Isle of Man bookies offered odds on the eventual winner.

And after the circus leaves town, some lucky person gets to clean up the mess left behind. Well, I’m sure he will be well compensated.



Filed under Bill Gates, Executives, General Business, Investor Relations, Public Relations, Satya Nadella, Steve Ballmer

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March 6, 2013

EU fines Microsoft $733M for browser choice lapse

Posted by David Hunter at 8:00 AM ET.

As we suggested last October, forgetting to offer a browser choice on Windows 7 SP1 turned out to be an expensive mistake for Microsoft:

The European Union Commission has fined Microsoft Corp. €561 million ($733 million) for breaking the terms of an earlier agreement to offer users a choice of internet browser.

The penalty is a first for Brussels — no company has ever failed to keep its end of a bargain with EU authorities before.

The commission’s top regulator, Joaquin Almunia, said at a press conference in Brussels, Belgium Wednesday that negotiated settlements are vital for enforcement to be carried out quickly. But he warned that the whole point would be undermined if companies then don’t abide by the terms of the settlement.

"They must do what they committed to do, or face the consequences," he said.

Almunia added that the large fine took into account the size and length of time the company violated the terms of its agreement, as well as the need to defer other companies from backsliding on their promises to competition authorities. He said the fine was less than it might have been because Microsoft had co-operated with the investigation.

Quite a profitable racket they have there.



Filed under Antitrust, General Business, Governmental Relations, Legal, OS - Client, Windows 7

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October 24, 2012

European Union spots some spare change in Microsoft’s pocket

Posted by David Hunter at 7:32 PM ET.

Microsoft Faces Large EU Fine

Microsoft Corp. is facing the prospect of a fresh, hefty fine by the European Union after the U.S. software giant failed to meet an earlier promise to offer users a choice of different Web browsers.

The European Commission on Wednesday filed a formal complaint against Microsoft for not following through on a commitment to offer its users alternatives to its own Internet Explorer Web browser on a recent version of its Windows program.

The Redmond, Wash., company had agreed to the measure three years ago and, if proven guilty, could face a maximum fine of as much as 10% of its total annual revenue, or $7.4 billion. Analysts, however, say it would be less.

There’s less and then there’s a lot less. I would offer the suggestion that one never stand between a bureaucrat and some loot.

During a news conference in Brussels, the EU’s antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia underlined the gravity of the offense and signaled his intention to use the case as a deterrent to other firms. This is the first time a company is being investigated for breaching its commitments.

"This is a very serious message not to infringe the commitments that had been agreed," Mr. Almunia said."Companies should be deterred from any temptations to renege on their commitments or even neglect their duties," he said.

In a statement, Microsoft said it "sincerely apologized" and reiterated that the mistake was a technical glitch on its Windows 7 version, known as Service Pack 1.

It’s going to be an expensive mistake.



Filed under Antitrust, General Business, Governmental Relations, Legal, Microsoft, OS - Client, Windows 7

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