Code/red: Microsoft Mulling Q4 Morale Reduction
// HAPPENING TODAY
- Intel and Yahoo kick off earnings season.
- Comments on the Federal Communications Commission’s new net neutrality plan are due by midnight.
- The House votes on the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act.
Uninstall Microsoft Workforce Service Pack?
Large workforce reductions have never been a big part of the Microsoft narrative. In its 39-year history, the company has undertaken only one truly brutal bloodletting — the sacking of 5,800 employees during the 2009 econalypse (prior to that, the largest was a purge of 120 floppy-disk plant workers in 1996). Now the company is preparing for its second. Bloomberg reports, and Code/red has independently confirmed, that Microsoft plans to take the scythe to its workforce before summer’s end, making cuts that will likely exceed those it made five years ago as it continues its strained digestion of Nokia’s phone business. Sources tell me to expect the grim news to be released when Microsoft reports fourth-quarter earnings on July 22, though that could change.
Point/Counterpoint: What Kind of Loser Would Cancel Comcast Service? vs. The Kind That Hates Being Bullied by Customer Service Reps
Comcast service representative: “I’m not going to process [your cancellation] until you tell me why you are leaving. You don’t like fast speeds or great Internet? Is that what you are saying? You like slower Internet speeds and waiting around?”
Journalist Ryan Block: “This phone call is actually an amazing representative example of why I don’t want to stay with Comcast.”
TL;DR: Keep Bluffing or Fold?
Jean-Louis Gassée restates Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s “Bold Ambition” memo: “This is the beginning of our new FY 2015 — and of a new era at Microsoft. I have good news and bad news. The bad news is the old Devices and Services mantra won’t work. For example: I’ve determined we’ll never make money in tablets or smartphones. So, do we continue to pretend we’re ‘all in’ or do we face reality and make the painful decision to pull out so we can use our resources — including our integrity — to fight winnable battles?”
Don’t Get Your Hopes Up, Ray Lane …
Looks like Hewlett-Packard is in the market for a new board chairman. The company said this morning that interim Chairman Ralph Whitworth has stepped down to focus on his health. Whitworth’s resignation is effective immediately, and HP plans to begin the search for his replacement at its next board meeting, which is set for this week.
If Only Tom Wheeler Had Shown a Little More Skin
FCC Special Counsel for External Affairs Gigi Sohn: “Janet Jackson incident had 1.4 million comments. We’re about half-way there! #netneutrality”
Yahoo Earnings Spoiler Alert: Zzzzzz
Investors expecting a stagnant second-quarter earnings report from Yahoo today are likely to get just that and little else. Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant in which Yahoo holds a 22 percent stake, released updated financial figures back in June, ahead of what’s expected to be a blockbuster IPO. So Wall Street has already seen the numbers it most cares about. Yahoo’s market cap currently rests at about $35.83 billion. The company’s stake in Alibaba is worth about $26 billion.
Google Project Zero: Feeling Lucky (Punk?)
Andy Greenberg, Wired: “When Project Zero’s hacker-hunters find a bug, they say they’ll alert the company responsible for a fix and give it between 60 and 90 days to issue a patch before publicly revealing the flaw on the Google Project Zero blog. In cases where the bug is being actively exploited by hackers, Google says it will move much faster, pressuring the vulnerable software’s creator to fix the problem or find a workaround in as little as seven days.”
Insert Cheap “Investors Get in Line” Joke Here
WhatsApp rival Line is IPO bound. The mobile messaging app company has applied for an initial public offering on the Tokyo Stock Exchange that could value it at more than $9.84 billion. The company, which is said to be mulling a listing on the New York Stock Exchange as well, could go public as early as this autumn.
I’m Not Mad, I’m Just Gassy
McMaster University gastroenterologist Dr. Stephen Collins: “Many people with chronic intestinal conditions also have psychological disturbances and we never understood why.”
Okay, Diabetes Lens!
When Google first announced its smart contact lens project back in January, it said it had no plans to manufacture and sell the device, which is designed to measure the glucose content of a diabetic wearer’s tears. As project lead Brian Otis said at the time, “You can’t design a medical device in a vacuum.” Well, it looks like Google has found a willing collaborator in Novartis. The Swiss drug maker’s Alcon unit has signed a licensing deal for Google’s smart contact lens technology and hopes to field products based on it in about five years.
“Amazing Conversations” in This Case Being Requests for Anonymous Sex
David Byttow, co-founder of anonymous messaging app Secret: “There’s so much good content and amazing conversations that people are having. It should live beyond Secret.”