Friday, January 23, 2009

Microsoft to cut up to 5,000 jobs

Microsoft has said it will cut up to 5,000 jobs over the next 18 months, including 1,400 immediately.

The firm also reported a net profit of $4.17bn (£3bn) for the three months to 31 December, down 11% on last year and less than analysts' expectations.

Microsoft added it was "no longer able" to give a profit and revenue outlook for the fiscal year amid current volatile market conditions.

Shares in Microsoft fell 7.9%, dragging Wall Street lower.

Cost cuts

"While we're not immune to the effects of the economy, I am confident in the strength of our product portfolio and soundness of our approach," said Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer.

Richard Williams, an analyst at Cross Research, said: "Microsoft has never had a layoff like this in my knowledge, and it's sending a signal that the times are definitely changing."

Microsoft said the announced job cuts would take place in research and development, marketing, sales, finance, legal, human resources and information technology.

It added it would also be making other cost-cutting measures, including a reduction in spending on travel.

"These initiatives will reduce the company's annual operating expense run rate by approximately $1.5bn and reduce fiscal year 2009 capital expenditures by $700m," Microsoft said.

Source : BBC

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Silverlight to Stream Obama's Inauguration

Microsoft's Silverlight technology has been chosen to stream U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's swearing-in ceremony live on the Presidential Inaugural Committee's Web site, Microsoft said Friday.

Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden are due to be sworn in and deliver inauguration speeches next Tuesday in Washington, D.C. Both events will be streamed live on the PIC site using Silverlight, a cross-browser technology for delivering live and on-demand video over the Web.

The PIC will also stream video of an event with Obama and Biden in Baltimore on Saturday as part of their "Whistle Stop Tour," which will take them from Philadelphia to Washington for the inaugural ceremony and celebrations.

Obama was elected on Nov. 4 as the first African-American U.S. president, giving Tuesday's inauguration particular historical significance.

IStreamPlanet, an online content-delivery company in Las Vegas, Nevada, is working with Microsoft to stream the event, Microsoft said.

The inaugural event is the latest high-profile use of Silverlight, which was first released in April 2007 as a rival to Adobe Flash. The technology comprises a tool for developing and designing Internet applications and a media player for delivering content.

It wasn't until the release of Silverlight 2 in October, however, that the technology became a viable alternative to Flash for building rich Internet applications (RIAs), developers said.

"Silverlight 1.0 was a glorified media player," said Ben Dewey, a senior software developer for IT consulting firm twentysix New York, who has worked with Silverlight. "The release of Silverlight 2 is when it really took off."

While Silverlight 2 was in beta in August, the 2008 Democratic National Convention Committee used it to stream proceedings from the convention, including Obama's acceptance speech to more than 80,000 people at an outdoor stadium in Denver.

Microsoft also teamed up with U.S. television network NBC that month to deliver thousands of hours of both live and on-demand coverage from the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Silverlight has had its bumps in the road, however. The first high-profile user, Major League Baseball Advanced Media's site, dropped the technology in November and signed a two-year deal to use Adobe Flash for streaming live baseball games.

Source : PCWorld