Displaying items by tag: Jobs

Taiwanese electronic colossus Foxconn has now admitted that it is currently reassessing its plans to invest in a new $10bn factory in Wisconsin.

When first announced it was hailed as a significant win for US President Donald Trump who had promised rust-belt states that he would breathe new life into the manufacturing sector and create millions of jobs.

However, that deal now may be dead in the water due to the ongoing dispute between Beijing and Washington that is becoming increasingly toxic. 

Foxconn manufactures devices and components for a host of the world’s leading technology leaders including Apple, and had previously unveiled its plans to build the $10 billion plant to make LCD flat screen televisions which would also in turn create around 13,000 new jobs.

The investment was vetoed by $4bn in controversial tax concessions which were embraced by Trump who said the deal was another illustration of his campaign promise which was to put America ‘first’ again. Trump has also tried to strong arm other tech giants like Apple offering them tax breaks if they move manufacturing back to the United States.

Trump appeared with Foxconn CEO Terry Gou at a groundbreaking ceremony proclaiming and stated that, "This is just the beginning. This is one of the largest plants in the world."

However, the global economic climate roiled by Trump's trade war with China where Foxconn has most of its assembly lines -- has led officials at the Taiwanese company to look again at the plans.

"The global market environment that existed when the project was first announced has changed. As our plans are driven by those of our customers, this has necessitated the adjustment of plans for all projects, including Wisconsin," Foxconn said in a statement Thursday.

However, Foxconn has moved swiftly to deny it’s pulling out of the proposed investment and released an official statement saying it is remained committed to building its science park in Wisconsin and wants to help create 13,000 jobs". 

Woo told Bloomberg, "We’re not scrapping our plans at all. However, given the global economic conditions and the trade tensions between China and the US, its’ impossible to say that we can always stay committed to our original plan without any change."

Published in Government

Uber’s new CEO has jetted into London for negotiations with the city’s transport regulator following the TFL’s (Transport for London) decision to suspend the license of the global ride-hailing service. The TFL deemed Uber unfit to run a taxi service and refused to renew its license.

The decision by the TFL left Uber reeling, as the UK, and in particular London is a massive market for the US firm. It was the latest setback in a long line of controversies and blows endured by Uber who have in recent months had allegations of sexual harassment within its work environment labelled at them.

In addition to this, Uber has faced countless legal battles in different markets all over the world – and pressure from stakeholders forced former CEO and founder Travis Kalanick to resign. TFL stated that it didn’t renew Uber’s license due to the firm’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences – and also highlighted safety issues in relation to Uber’s vetting process on its drivers.

London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is also chairman of the TFL, told Uber that it would serve the organization better to actually attempt to address the concerns raised by the transport regulator, instead of hiring a team of PR experts and lawyers.

However, it has emerged that Uber’s new CEO, former Expedia boss Dara Khosrowshahi has arranged a face-to-face meeting with TFL commissioner Mike Brown who is tasked with the responsibility of running TFL’s day-to-day operations. It was further disclosed that Khan, a member of the Labor Party had sanctioned the meeting.

While Uber’s license was suspended with immediate effect on September 30th, its 40,000 drivers can still pick up fares until an appeal process has been exhausted, and that is likely to take up to several months.

Uber’s CEO facing a tough task to restore order to a firm which has been battered by a host of controversies, and his job hasn’t been helped by the calling of a board meeting in San Francisco which will look at curbing the influence of former CEO Kalanick.

Many expect Uber to resolve the issue with the TFL and claimed that Khosrowshahi made a good start by penning an open letter to Londoners in which he acknowledged that the company had made mistakes, before vowing to adopt a new approach to penetrate new markets globally.

It has been reported that Uber will learn its fate when a judge will rule on its appeal when it is officially submitted on October 13th. Uber’s competitors have wasted no time in attempting to gain its business. London’s second-biggest private hire firm Addison Lee said on Friday it was planning to increase its driver numbers in London by up to a quarter.

Published in Apps

Ericsson’s financial uncertainty shows no sign of abating following reports in the Swedish media that the telecommunications firm is set to cut 25,000 jobs. Reports circulating from the Nordic region claim that management at Ericsson intend to lay off around 25,000 employees as part of its new savings program that has been devised in an effort to counteract its financial plight. 

In July, Ericsson formally announced that it planned to accelerate measures to meet a target of doubling its 2016 underlying operating margin of 6%. In addition to this, it also outlined its aim to reach an annual cost reduction run rate of at least $1.2 billion by the end of the second quarter of next year.

Ericsson stressed that any actions taken would primarily affect service delivery and common costs, and claimed that research and development would remain largely unaffected. However, the Swedish telecommunications colossus is facing increasing pressure from competitors such as China’s Huawei and Finland’s Nokia.

Other contributory factors to its financial woes is that of weak emerging markets and falling spend by operators with the demand for next-generation 5G technology still years away. Swedish media outlet Svenska Dagbladet claimed that a source within Ericsson leaked the information to them, but said it was unsure as to whether or not the planned culling of staff included employees within its media operations.

It has been claimed that these positions are up for strategic review, and many analysts have predicted that it is likely to be sold by the group. In a statement which was released on Ericsson’s website, a spokesman said it was too early to talk about ‘specific measures’ in relation to the latest jobs cuts at the organization. The statement read, “Ericsson has not communicated which specific units or countries could be affected. It is too early to talk about specific measures or exclude any country.”

This is just the latest in a long line of job cuts which have been made by Ericsson over the last number of years. Multiple job losses have been made in both Italy and Sweden. However, these reports if true would represent the largest reduction in staff by the company. Theres was hope that the appointment of a new CEO, and a number of board changes would reinvigorate the Swedish telecommunications giant, but that has thus far failed to materialize. Currently, Ericsson has around 109,000 employees.

Published in Telecom Operators

Yahoo and AOL’s parent company Oath to axe 2,100 jobs

Written on Wednesday, 26 July 2017 10:03

Tim Armstrong, CEO of Oath, the parent company of AOL and Yahoo, confirmed the company will axe about 2,100 jobs from the two technology companies. Verizon, which owns AOL, closed its $4.5 billion acquisition of Yahoo's internet business. People began to receive notifications one day after the telco completed its $4.48 billion acquisition of Yahoo properties.

Caroline Campbell, a spokeswoman for AOL, said the company could not comment on the impact the layoffs will have on specific locations. The company acquired Baltimore mobile advertising firm Millennial Media in 2015 for $238 million and still has 2400offices at St. Boston in Canton. AOL also bought Advertising.com in 2004 for $435 million. That office is now under the ONE AOL advertising umbrella.

Many of the cuts are likely to be felt at the company's Silicon Valley offices, but that will be the product and engineering headquarters of the combined AOL and Yahoo which will continue to operate under their old names. The cuts will affect about 15 percent of the roughly 14,000 people in AOL and Yahoo's combined workforce.

The job cuts will come in overlaps in business functions such as human resources, but there will also be some from consolidation of products such as mail and advertising. Job cuts "will come across the whole Oath portfolio," Armstrong said during an appearance on CNBC, using the name that the combined companies will now operate under.

"We're not announcing any product changes now but there could be product changes in the future," he told CNBC. "Yahoo Mail and AOL Mail are areas where we may have different consumer front ends, but over time we would like to have their back ends consolidated."

The companies' ad systems are another area where consolidation is likely to occur. "We have multiple systems that we would like to merge to have a unified supply stack of technology and a unified demand stack," Armstrong said.

Most of those cuts are happening now but others could come in the future. "Over time, as in any business, if it makes sense to consolidate or make structural changes to the company, we will do those," Armstrong said.

Oath will also consider acquisitions in the future if good opportunities pop up, he said. "Right now we are very focused on the organic integration of our assets. That could change over time."

Oath, ultimately owned by AOL parent Verizon, will operate from dual headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif. and New York.

"The Sunnyvale [Calif.] campus will lead the pack on product and engineering," Armstrong said. "I am looking at getting a place out here and spending a lot of time here. New York is going to be the connector to the media and advertising markets."

Armstrong said that despite the AOL-Yahoo deal being delayed by shocking revelations of massive hacking incidents, he is sticking to his goal of doubling Oath's number of users to 2 billion consumers and hitting between $10 billion and $20 billion in digital ad revenue by 2020.

Verizon is projected to see $1.5 billion in net global digital ad revenue in 2017 and Yahoo to generate $3.2 billion.

"The deal process took a little longer than expected so we are a little behind but we are staying with those goals," he said. "That is going to force us to be more creative and to work faster."

Armstrong said he isn't focused on recapturing the old days when most U.S. consumers used AOL and Yahoo as their front door to the Internet. Oath's content brands — which include HuffPost, TechCrunch, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Sports and Tumblr — generate plenty of traffic, he said.

"If you look at where traffic comes from on the Internet today, Oath is one of the top four places in the world that consumers come in and out of," he said. "Long-term, whether we are the front door to the Internet or we are your favorite room, we have a house of brands that touches almost every major community and every major vertical. We have a business model to build brands that people love."

The parent company name of Oath drew some derision when it was unveiled, but Armstrong said it appealed to him because it implies a long-term commitment.

"It is meant to be a brand name that is about values," he said. "We want all of our brands and teams to be connected by values and principles. We think Oath is a great way to explain that. You don't make an Oath to something unless you want to be in it for the long term."

A lot will be known about the ultimate success of the company by what happens in the next 36 to 38 months, Armstrong said.

"Our teams know that we are starting from a lot of scale, a lot of assets and talent," he said. "But if I had to sum up in three words what we need to do, it would be, 'Build, baby, build.' That's our focus."

Published in Telecom Operators

US technology leaders Microsoft has shocked its workforce by announcing that it plans to cuts ‘thousands’ of jobs as part of company reorganization strategy. However, it’s been reported from a source close to Microsoft that most of the reductions will be made outside of the US, and will target staff in its sales and marketing departments.

Some analysts are claiming that the restructuring of the organization is being driven by the fact Microsoft aims to double down on its fast-growing cloud business. Microsoft shares have suffered a decline and are down 0.7% at $68.63. The Washington-based company employs 120,000 people globally, and figures indicate that around the marketing and sales staff account for around 19% of that figure.

In addition to this, the source also claimed that some Microsoft employees have already been informed of their fate, although in some locations, the firm allegedly plans to notify employees that their jobs are under consideration.

Since assuming responsibility as CEO in 2014, Satya Nadella has been praised by many for reenergizing Microsoft, and he has certainly sharpened the organization’s focus on its cloud computing unit in a bid to counter a prolonged slowdown in the PC market.

However, the news still come as a huge surprise to many, with the scale of the job losses really taking some technology analysts by surprise. According to them Microsoft are under the tutelage of a dynamic and driven leader in Nadella, and are performing extremely well overall, despite the decline in its share price.

Published in Finance

South Korean conglomerate Samsung Electronics has announced its plans to invest 21.4 trillion won ($18.6 billion) into South Korea in an effort to strengthen and extend its lead in memory chips and next-generation displays for smartphones. Samsung has claimed that the investment could create up to 440,000 new jobs from now until 2021 – which would significantly boost the South Korean economy.

Samsung is the world’s largest chip maker by revenue and has indicated it intends to invest 14.4 trillion won by 2021 in its new NAND factory in Pyeongtaek. In addition to this, it disclosed that it plans to invest 6 trillion won in a new semiconductor production facility in Hwaseong, but declined to elaborate further on the timing or product.

Samsung will also develop a new production line to its NAND plant in Xi’an, China, which investment analysts have suggested is in response to booming demand for long-term data storage chips. However, it has thus far not set an investment amount or time frame.

Industry experts have predicted that Samsung and other leading memory makers will post record profit in 2017 - caused primarily due to a persistent shortage and demand for more capability in smartphones and servers increase prices. Industry sources and analysts said the shortage is more acute for NAND chips due to increasing adoption of high-end storage products.

Analysts have also claimed that Samsung’s production technologies are much more mature and are at least a year ahead of its rivals such as Toshiba and SK Hynix. Samsung invests more than $10 billion in semiconductors on an annual basis, which has provided the foundations for Samsung to take the lead, and according to analysts this latest investment strategy will only widen the gap even further.

Samsung and its rivals Toshiba and SK Hynix has committed tens of billions of dollars to boost NAND output in recent years, yet analysts and industry sources have said that they believe shortages will persist through 2017 and new facilities created will not make any meaningful supply contributions until next year. However, some have suggested that additional capacity could lead to oversupply in early 2018, but that price crashes are unlikely as smartphone makers opt for greater internal storage.

"I believe NAND market conditions will continue to favor suppliers until 2020," said HMC Investment analyst Greg Roh. Any oversupply issues will be temporary and limited to seasonally weaker periods, he said.

Samsung's investment plan comes on the back of South Korean President Moon Jae-in plea for local businesses to create more jobs and help reinvigorate the economy. In China, some South Korean firms have suffered from sales decline or have been forced to scale down operations due to retaliatory measures from Beijing over the deployment of a US anti-missile defense system outside Seoul. However, China smartphone makers remain one of Samsung’s biggest customers and are among its biggest buyers of memory chips and displays.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Qualcomm CEO, Steve Mollenkopf has claimed that 5G will represent a revenue opportunity of around $12 trillion by 2035. Mollenkopf made the statement when he was delivering his keynote address at Mobile World Congress Shanghai. However, the CEO of the global chip giant did express his belief that we have to utilize 4G technology. He said it was imperative we made the most of 4G and focused particularly on new gigabit LTE networks.

Published in Finance

The US government has announced that it is set to refocus its efforts on examining ways in which it can help speed up the process of taking new technologies to the marketplace. The Trump administration has announced its intentions to bring together a group of drone makers, wireless companies and venture capitalists to explore practices that will enable the commercialization of these technologies in a much more streamlined fashion.

It has been confirmed that President Donald Trump will meet with the CEOs of General Electric Co, Honeywell International Incorporated and AT&T. Representatives from major drones industries and venture capitalists will also attend the meeting as part of a combined effort to focus on innovative technology in a bid to kick-start new job growth.

The White House’s deputy chief technology officer, Michael Kratsios has said the primary objective of the discussions is to drive ‘economic growth’. He said: “The goal of the session is to find ways the United States can maintain its leadership, creating and fostering entirely new technologies that will drive our economic growth."

The Trump administration has expressed its desire to promote the development and commercialization of emerging technologies – and has shown a particular interest in the development of unmanned drones and 5G wireless technologies. Some analysts have predicted that the impact of 5G will be similar to that of electricity.

The Obama administration has implemented rules and practices that enabled low-level small drones to be deployed for education, research and routine commercial use. It has been reported that the Trump administration is currently weighing up the option of expanding drone use for purposes such as deliveries where aircraft would fly beyond the sight of an operator. However, security issues would need to be resolved before such legislation could be passed.

The FAA has projected that by 2021 the number of small hobbyist drones will more than triple – whilst the commercial drone fleet will increase tenfold to about 442,000. In addition to this, last year, the FCC cleared the way for 5G - with the race to commercialize the technology underway which is expected to be deployed by 2020.

New 5G networks are expected to provide speeds at least 10 times and maybe 100 times faster than today's 4G networks. The next generation of wireless signals needs to be much faster and far more responsive to allow advanced technologies such as virtual surgery or controlling machines remotely, regulators say. The networks could help wirelessly connect devices such as thermostats or washing machines to facilitate the internet of things.

Published in Government

One of the greatest threats to jobs around the world is automation - smart factories of the future. Germany’s ‘Industry 4.0’ initiative promotes the computerization of traditional industries such as manufacturing, as do many government initiatives around the world. While some praise the idea of “intelligent manufacturing”, tech leaders have spoken out in support of a universal basic income (UBI) to avoid technology companies being perceived as job destroyers.

In 1962, the first industrial robot made its debut as ‘Unimate’ which came online at General Motors in New Jersey. Since then, the manufacturing industry has changed drastically. In the 1990s, production robots were lined up in factories piecing together products across assembly lines in a painfully repetitive process. Now, the manufacturing industry is going through the first stages of adopting artificially intelligent robots that can make production decisions in real time.

How does real time artificial intelligence work in manufacturing? The technology enables sensors to spot defects in production. When a defect is detected, the data is fed to a computer system in the cloud, which can then immediately remove the defective part of equipment from the production line and order a replacement. This efficient real time problem solving can save manufacturers billions of dollars in repairs and recalls.

Jeff Immelt, chairman and chief executive of General Electric (GE), says manufacturing and industrial companies “need to become digital to survive.” Immelt believes the manufacturing industry must “turn information into insights and into outcomes.”

The advantages of smart manufacturing are clear: it enables industrial product companies, for instance, to keep their inventories as lean as possible to reduce costs and keep stock on-hand for when needed. Germany’s Industry 4.0 initiative defines smart factories as being characterized by adaptability, resource efficiency, and making great use of wireless connections, sensors and big data.

5G, expected to be commercially deployed by 2020, will play a major role in connecting production line robotics by providing high-performance mobile services, says Ericsson’s recent report ‘The 5G Business Potential’. The manufacturing industry, it says, shows a strong market potential for ICT players.

The use of 5G in smart factories could offer “extensive benefits to manufacturing processes,” the report adds. “Connected cameras and sensing devices can, for example, provide feedback to control centers enabling skilled staff to control and steer manufacturing remotely, resulting in increased productivity and flexibility.”

Industry digitalization investments are growing, according to the report, generating revenue for ICT players worth an estimated US$3.3 trillion by 2026. In a nutshell, the manufacturing industry is entering a new digital intelligent era. Smart manufacturing aims to take advantage of advanced information and manufacturing technologies to enable flexibility in physical processes to address a dynamic and global market.

There will need to be increased workforce training for such flexibility and use of the technology rather than specific tasks as is customary in traditional manufacturing, according to experts. Many fear that smart manufacturing will become so advanced that the need for humans in the workforce will diminish.

“There is going to be a backlash when it comes to jobs,” said Sayantan Ghosal, an economics professor at the University of Glasgow speaking to CNBC, who has written about how unemployment could rise once AI is rampant in the workplace. Ghosal has spoken out in support of a universal basic income to support people who are affected by the digitization of industries such as manufacturing.

The pace of development of artificial intelligence software has “surprised” even top executives such as Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google. The rapid growth of automated services and “intelligent manufacturing” has led many leading figures in the technology community like Brin to support the idea of a UBI.

At the World Government Summit held in Dubai this year, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said a UBI would be necessary. “There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation,” he said. Echoing Musk’s prediction, Marc Beioff, chief executive of Salesforce, has warned that AI could create “digital refugees”.

The technology industry is becoming more aware of its role in driving automation and job displacement, according to experts, and technology companies do not want to be the punching bag for workers who are made redundant because of technology advancement. But it is still unclear how a basic universal income could work.

There have been suggestions that every government could pay its citizens a monthly sum to get by. However, this could backfire because it would only provide a bare minimum for living, and workers would still try to seek out higher standards of living by working. Another potential avenue for a UBI is through a sovereign wealth fund, where governments would take an equity stake in all of the major publicly listed companies in the country and pay citizens money from the investments.

Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, has floated the idea of a “robot tax” as a way for governments to generate more income for displaced workers in the future. In an interview with Quartz, Gates said, “If a human worker does $50,000 of work in a factory, that income is taxed. If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think we’d tax the robot at a similar level.”

Faced with the potential job losses automation could bring, governments are finding themselves at a tricky crossroad. On one hand, alarm bells have been sounded, warning of the potential layoffs the role of robotics could cause. But on the other hand, automation has been a major driver of efficiency in manufacturing and other complex industries.

Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States shows that manufacturing jobs increased in the country between 1994 and 2000. After that period, manufacturing jobs spiraled downwards – a loss of five million jobs in the intervening years. However, productivity during that period increased.

IDC’s ‘FutureScape: Worldwide Robotics 2017 Predictions’ report says almost one-third of robotic deployments will be smarter by 2018, capable of collaborating with other robots and working safely alongside humans. What’s more, the report predicts that by 2019, governments around the world will have drafted or implemented specific legislation for robotics and safety, security and privacy. However, the World Economic Forum predicts that automation will result in the net loss of over five million jobs across developed countries by 2020. Another study, conducted by the International Labor Organization, states that as many as 173 million workers across Southeast Asia are at risk of job displacement by robots, which are predicted to become prominent in the manufacturing of clothing.

Now that the evolution of technology is advancing at a faster rate than it ever has, governments, companies and experts are left to weigh the benefits of automation (efficiency, increased profits) against the disadvantages (mass job losses). Should jobs be sacrificed for the efficiency that technology can bring?  

Published in Reports

Accenture plan to boost US workforce by creating 15,000 jobs

Written on Monday, 20 February 2017 10:04

Accenture have disclosed its plans to create an additional 15,000 jobs over the next three years in the US. The technology consulting and services company announced that it will increase its American workforce by 30%. In a statement issued by Accenture they outlined plans to create 15,000 ‘highly skilled new jobs’ which would subsequently increase its overall workforce in the US to more than 65,000 by the end of 2020.

Accenture further disclosed its plans to create 10 new ‘innovation hubs’ and confirmed it will invest $1.4 billion in training employees in order to have ‘leading-edge capabilities’ for doing their jobs. Accenture chief executive, Julie Sweet said the announcement represented a key moment for the company. She said: “Today marks a key moment for Accenture to help our clients play an even bigger part in the nation's growth and innovation agenda.”

Accenture has been a leader in the outsourcing business, and the Accenture boss says the new innovation hubs will be designed to help create the next wave of competitiveness. Sweet added: “That will involve helping companies figure out how to use new technologies in a process of “continuous innovation.” That kind of work "requires proximity to clients,” which is why Accenture is creating the regional centers.

Accenture are the latest in a series of major companies to announce investments or job creation in the United States. It is a trend that has followed the election of US president Donald Trump whose presidential campaign was centered on the theme of job creation. Trump vowed to bring back domestic manufacturing and jobs if he was elected president.

Published in Finance