Thursday, 15 August 2013

Cisco to lay off 4,000 employees

Cisco to lay off 4,000 employees
 source: TOI

NEW YORK: Cisco's earnings and revenue grew in the latest quarter as demand for its computer networking equipment increased. But CEO John Chambers called the global economy "challenging and inconsistent" and the company said it is cutting about 4,000 jobs, or about 5% of its work force.

Cisco's revenue guidance for the current quarter was weaker than Wall Street expected, and shares fell sharply in extended trading.

The company's stock fell $2.51, or 9.5%, to $23.87 in extended trading after the results were released. The stock closed up 6 cents at $26.38 in the day's regular trading session.

Cisco Systems earned $2.27 billion, or 42 cents per share, in the three months that ended on July 27. That's up from $1.92 billion, or 36 cents per share, a year earlier.

Adjusted earnings were 52 cents per share in the latest quarter, squeaking past Wall Street's expectations by a penny. This figure excludes charges stemming from a patent settlement with TiVo and other one-time items.

Revenue rose 6% to $12.42 billion from $11.69 billion.

Analysts, on average, had expected revenue of $12.41 billion, according to a poll by FactSet.

Cisco's performance is widely regarded as a bellwether for the technology industry. That's because the San Jose, California, company cuts a broad swath, selling routers, switches, software and services to corporate customers and government agencies. Cisco's fiscal quarters end a month later than most other major technology companies, giving it additional time to assess economic conditions.

Cisco's product orders grew 4% year-over-year, the same as in the third quarter of this year. Orders in the Americas region grew 5%, while Asia declined 3% due to economic challenges in the region, Chambers said. Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia increased 6%. On its own, Europe was up 9%.

Chambers said that economic conditions in Europe still "vary significantly" by region, with the north and the UK showing "very positive progress."

"We remain cautious, however, given the instability of the southern region," he added.

The caution is evident in Cisco's guidance. For the current quarter, the company said that said it expects revenue to grow 3% to 5% year-over-year. Analysts are expecting $12.72 billion, a 7% increase from last year's $11.9 billion.

Over the long term, Chambers said that the company still expects revenue to grow 5% to 7%, and added that Cisco is in a "better position in the market today than ever before."

Microsoft to launch Windows 8.1 on October 18

Microsoft to launch Windows 8.1 on October 18
source: TOI

SAN FRANCISCO: A tweaked version of Microsoft's Windows operating system which restores the "Start" button missed by users and updates other features will be available on October 18, the company said. 

Windows 8.1 will be offered as a free download to those already using Windows 8, and comes in response to a lukewarm reception to the operating system introduced last year aimed at serving both mobile devices and PCs. 

A full retail version of Windows 8.1 will also be available on the same date. 

"I know a lot of folks are eager to find out when they will be able to get Windows 8.1," said a blog posting from Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc. 

LeBlanc said it would roll out worldwide starting in New Zealand just after midnight. 

"Windows 8.1 brings many improvements in areas like personalization, Internet Explorer 11, search which is powered by Bing, built-in apps including a few new ones, an improved Windows Store experience, and cloud connectivity with SkyDrive (and much more) that people will enjoy," LeBlack said. 

A public preview of Windows 8.1 was made available June 26. 

At the time, Microsoft said it had sold more than 100 million licenses for Windows 8 but that the update was planned after listening to customers. 

Some analysts say Microsoft was forced to act because of slow adoption of Windows 8, which made some radical changes to the design of the desktop. 

With Windows 8, Microsoft was trying to create a system that could be used on mobile touch screen devices while also serving the users of traditional PCs. 

Microsoft launched Windows 8 last October, revamping its flagship system in an effort to make inroads in the fast-growing mobile segment. At the same time, it launched its Surface tablet computer.