Microsoft: Job cuts in tech sector spread, Microsoft lays off 10,000
Microsoft is laying off 10,000 employees, or nearly 5% of its workforce, joining other tech companies in slowing their pandemic-era expansions.
In a filing with the government on Wednesday, the company said that the layoffs were caused by “macroeconomic conditions and changing customer priorities.”
The software company, which is based in Redmond, Washington, also said that it was making changes to its hardware portfolio and combining its leased office locations.
With so many people working and studying from home, Microsoft is cutting far fewer jobs than it added during the COVID-19 pandemic as it responds to a surge in demand for its workplace software and cloud computing services.
“A large part of this is simply overeager hiring,” said Joshua White, a finance professor at Vanderbilt University.
Microsoft’s Staff Grew By 36%
In the two fiscal years after the outbreak, Microsoft’s staff grew by 36%, from 163,000 at the end of June 2020 to 221,000 in June 2022.
In an email to employees, CEO Satya Nadella said that the layoffs will affect “less than 5% of our total employee base,” and that some employees will find out today.
Nadella said, “We are cutting jobs in some areas, but we will keep hiring in key strategic areas.” He stressed how important it was to create a “new computer platform” based on advances in artificial intelligence.
Customers who increased their digital technology spending during the pandemic are now attempting to “optimize their digital spend to do more with less,” he said.
“We’re also seeing organizations in every industry and geography exercise caution as some parts of the world experience a recession and others anticipate one,” Nadella wrote.
Lots Of Cuts In The Tech Sector
Other tech firms have also cut jobs amid concerns about an economic slowdown.
Amazon and the company that makes business software, Salesforce, both cut a lot of jobs earlier this month. They did this to cut back on payrolls that grew quickly during the pandemic lockdown.
Amazon has announced the elimination of approximately 18,000 jobs. The layoffs are the largest in the Seattle company’s history, though they represent only a small portion of its 1.5 million global workforces.
Meta, Facebook’s parent company, is laying off 11,000 employees, or roughly 13% of its workforce. And Elon Musk, the new CEO of Twitter, has reduced the company’s workforce.
When Nadella spoke at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, he did not directly mention the layoffs.
Finding A Balance After Covid
When the forum’s founder, Klaus Schwab, asked what the tech layoffs meant for the industry’s business model, Nadella stated that companies that boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic are now seeing “normalization” of that demand.
“Quite frankly, we in the technology industry will have to become more efficient, right?” According to Nadella. “It’s not about doing more with less than everyone else. We’ll have to make do with less. So we’ll have to demonstrate our productivity gains using our technology.”
Microsoft refused to comment on where the layoffs and office closures would be concentrated. On Wednesday, the company told employment officials in Washington state that it was firing 878 people from its offices in Redmond and the nearby cities of Bellevue and Issaquah.
It employed 122,000 people in the United States and 99,000 elsewhere as of June.
A Rapid Rise In Interest Rates
According to Vanderbilt professor White, all industries are looking to cut costs ahead of a possible recession, but tech companies may be especially sensitive to the rapid rise in interest rates, a tool that the Federal Reserve has used aggressively in recent months in its fight against inflation.
“This hits tech companies a little harder than industrials or consumer staples because a large portion of Microsoft’s value is on projects with cash flows that won’t pay off for several years,” he explained.
One of these projects is Microsoft’s recent investment in its startup partner in San Francisco, OpenAI, which makes the writing tool ChatGPT and other AI systems that can make readable text, images, and computer code.
Microsoft, which owns the Xbox game division, is also dealing with regulatory uncertainty in the United States and Europe, delaying its planned $68.7 billion takeover of video game company Activision Blizzard, which had approximately 9,800 employees a year ago.
SOURCE – (AP)
Some ‘Diablo IV’ Players Report Invalid License Error Message After Early Access Launch
Washington, D.C. The highly anticipated action role-playing video game “Diablo IV” launched its early access on Thursday night. However, there were some delays, particularly for PlayStation players.
While many players who pre-purchased eligible “Diablo IV” editions experienced no problems with the early access launch, some PS5 users reported getting an invalid licensing error message. After initially stating that a server-side balance update had been implemented, Blizzard acknowledged the problem.
A software upgrade known as a hotfix focuses on a single problem and normally does not cause service interruptions.
The most recent game in the Blizzard “Diablo” series, which debuted in 1996, is titled “Diablo IV” and was released in May 2012. This is more than ten years after “Diablo III”‘s debut. Although the game’s early access began on Thursday, the launch is set for the following week.
Diablo’s general manager, Rod Fergusson, referred to “Diablo IV” as “our most brutal vision of Sanctuary,” the make-believe setting for the game. He continued, saying that it incorporates “the darkness of the original game” and expands on significant elements from other games in the franchise.
Activision Blizzard, the parent business of Blizzard Entertainment, announced in April that its net sales for the first quarter of 2023 increased to $2.38 billion from $1.77 billion. Activision reported that “Diablo IV” presales were robust, indicating that the game had undergone successful public testing.
What you need to know about “Diablo IV’s” upcoming official release and early access launch on Thursday is provided here.
WHEN DOES DIABLO IV COMMENCE?
Depending on your local time zone, “Diablo IV” will be formally published on Tuesday or Wednesday next week. The game will begin in the United States on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT).
Although “Diablo IV” is set to be on sale next week, early access started a few days earlier, on either Thursday or Friday, depending on where you are. Players who pre-purchased the game’s digital deluxe or ultimate edition were expected to have early access.
Additionally, some devices allow players who have previously purchased “Diablo IV” to pre-load the game. According to Blizzard, pre-loading is possible for Windows PC, Xbox, and PlayStation.
DIABLO IV “UNABLE TO FIND LICENCE”?
Although early access appeared to open without incident for the majority of gamers, some PS5 users reported receiving an error message that stated, “unable to find a valid licence for Diablo IV,” according to posts on Blizzard’s community forums and social media. Players on the PS5 appeared to be the ones most affected by the problem, but some other users said they also received the notice on Xbox and other platforms.
In a forum post late Thursday night, Blizzard recognized the PlayStation customers’ complaints. Adam Fletcher, director of global community development, later claimed that “Diablo IV” had received a server-side balance update implemented across all platforms.
How many early access players were affected by the problem is unknown. On Blizzard’s forum, some angry customers reported that they were still having access issues as of Friday morning.
The Associated Press requested statements from Blizzard and PlayStation on Friday morning.
WHAT CLASSES DO DIABLO IV CHARACTERS FALL INTO?
“Diablo IV” reportedly takes place decades after the events of “Diablo III: Reaper of Souls.” The angel Inarius and the demon Lilith have started a battle and are at odds.
In “Diablo IV,” players can choose from one of five classes: Druids, Rogues, Sorceresses, Barbarians, or Necromancers.
At launch, “Diablo IV” will support couch co-op and cross-platform play on Windows PC, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 4, among other platforms.
Financial results for Activation for 2022, Microsoft Deal
In 2022, Activision, the company behind “Call of Duty,” “Candy Crush,” and “World of Warcraft,” recorded net revenues of $7.53 billion, a decrease from the $8.8 billion reported in 2021.
Microsoft revealed plans to buy Activision in January 2022, but the historic transaction is doubtful more than a year later. Last month, the European Union authorized the $69 billion purchase, but British regulators halted it due to concerns about competition. Authorities in the US are also attempting to block the merger.
Regulators worldwide have scrutinized the agreement because of concern that it will give Microsoft and its Xbox platform control of popular s. PlayStation maker rival Sony has led a ferocious opposition.
Activision and Microsoft have appealed to a tribunal about the U.K. ruling. Liam Deane, a gaming industry analyst at digital research and consultancy firm Omdia, previously told The Associated Press that if the appeal is unsuccessful, Microsoft would be compelled to either cancel the arrangement or carve out the U.K. as a distinct market, which appeared to be an impractical choice.
SOURCE – (AP)
2023: Nvidia Signals How Artificial Intelligence Could Reshape Technology Sector
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Shares of Nvidia, already one of the most valuable businesses in the world, soared Thursday after the chipmaker forecasted a massive increase in revenue, indicating how dramatically the expanding use of artificial intelligence might transform the computer sector.
After a 25% rise in early trade, the California corporation is on its way to joining the exclusive club of $1 trillion companies like Alphabet, Apple, and Microsoft.
The developer of graphics chips for gaming and artificial intelligence posted a quarterly profit of more than $2 billion and revenue of $7 billion late Wednesday, above Wall Street projections.
However, Wall Street was caught off stride by its projections for $11 billion in sales this quarter. It’s a 64% increase over the same period last year and far above the $7.2 billion industry analysts predicted.
“It appears that the new gold rush has begun, and NVIDIA is selling all the picks and shovels,” wrote Susquehanna Financial Group’s Christopher Rolland and Matt Myers on Thursday.
Chipmakers throughout the world were dragged along. Taiwan Semiconductor increased by 3.5%, while SK Hynix in South Korea rose by 5%. ASML, situated in the Netherlands, increased by 4.8%.
The U.S. Shares of Nvidia are already one of the most valuable businesses in the world.
Jensen Huang, creator and CEO of Nvidia, stated that the world’s data centers require a makeover due to the transformation that AI technology will bring.
“The world’s $1 trillion data center is nearly entirely populated by (central processing NVIDIA units) today,” Huang remarked. “And $1 trillion, $250 billion a year, it’s growing, but over the last four years, call it $1 trillion in infrastructure installed, and it’s all based on CPUs and dumb NICs.” It is essentially unaccelerated.”
AI chips are intended to conduct artificial intelligence NVIDIA tasks more quickly and efficiently. While general-purpose processors, such as CPUs, can be utilized for lesser AI activities, they are “becoming less and less useful as AI advances,” according to 2020 research from Georgetown University’s Centre for Security and Emerging Technology.
“Because of their unique features, AI chips are tens or even thousands of times faster and more efficient than CPUs for training and inference of AI algorithms,” the paper continues, saying that AI chips can also be more cost-effective than CPUs because of their higher efficiency.
According to analysts, Nvidia could be an early indicator of how AI will impact the tech sector.
“Last night, Nvidia gave jaw-dropping robust guidance that will be heard around the world and shows the historical demand for AI happening now in the enterprise and consumer landscape,” stated Wedbush analyst Dan Ives. “We would point any investor calling this an AI bubble to this Nvidia quarter, particularly guidance, which cements our bullish thesis around AI and speaks to the 4th Industrial Revolution now on the horizon with AI.”
SOURCE – (AP)
China Defends Ban On US Chipmaker Micron in 2023
BEIJING, China – The Chinese government defended its restriction on using components from US memory chipmaker Micron Technology Inc. in some computer systems on Wednesday after Washington raised concern, escalating tensions over technology and security.
The security examination of Micron products was “conducted in accordance with the law,” according to Mao Ning, a foreign ministry official.
On Sunday, the Chinese Cyberspace Administration stated that Micron goods pose unspecified security threats but provided no further details. It barred them from using computers that handled sensitive data.
This came after the United States, Japan, and the Netherlands barred China’s access to advanced processor chip technology on security grounds, at a time when the governing Communist Party is threatening to attack Taiwan and is becoming more belligerent towards its Asian neighbors.
“China’s cybersecurity review does not target any specific countries or regions,” Mao explained. “We do not exclude technologies and products from any country.”
Supply disruptions and missed sales revenue have harmed businesses on both sides.
Washington and its allies’ restrictions on access to chips and methods for making them deter China’s ambitions to create its semiconductor sector. Potential sales to Chinese smartphone makers, chip foundries, and other clients have cost US vendors billions.
The Chinese government defended its restriction on using components from US memory chipmaker Micron Technology Inc.
Mao said the US had put security limitations on over 1,200 Chinese enterprises “without any factual basis.” She accused Washington of exploiting national security to “unreasonably suppress Chinese companies.”
“This is economic coercion, and it is unacceptable,” Mao declared.
According to State Department spokeswoman Matthew Miller, the US administration is “engaging directly” with Beijing to “make our view clear” on the Micron embargo.
“We have very serious concerns,” Miller added. He stated of China, “This action appears inconsistent with the PRC’s assertions that it is open for business and committed to a transparent regulatory framework.”
According to Micron’s chief financial officer, Mark Murphy, the company would work with the Chinese authorities to assess the ban’s impact.
“We remain unclear as to what security concerns exist,” Murphy said during a JP Morgan technology industry conference call. “We have received no customer complaints about the security of our products.”
According to Murphy, Micron expects to lose sales similar to a single-digit percentage of total revenue, but the exact figure will depend on which customers and products are affected.
The Chinese government defended its restriction on using components from US memory chipmaker Micron Technology Inc.
Foreign Minister Qin Gang urged his Dutch counterpart on Tuesday for access to chipmaking technology that has been restricted for security reasons.
China requires a machine that uses ultraviolet light to etch minuscule circuits on next-generation chips and is only available from one Dutch manufacturer, ASML Holding NV. Without it, the ruling party’s aspirations to build semiconductors for cellphones, artificial intelligence, and other cutting-edge applications will be hampered.
“China has serious concerns about this,” Qin said. “We should work together to jointly protect the normal trade order between us” and “keep global industrial and supply chains stable.”
Wopke Hoekstra, the Dutch minister, stated that he “shared our national security concerns” but provided no indication that his government’s position had altered.
SOURCE – (AP)
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