A View from Kate Greene
Hard Times Hit Tech Hard
Profits plunge and technology companies cut jobs.
In hard times, it’s fair to say that some consumers cut back on electronic gadgets. And in response, a number of traditionally healthy companies, nervous about falling profits, have announced drastic moves. Microsoft, for one, started its largest mass layoff ever, cutting 5,000 jobs over the next 18 months. The company’s second quarter results showed an 11 percent drop in profits–something that can be explained, in part, by a sharp drop in sales of its Windows operating system.
But Microsoft isn’t the only one. Intel, maker of the chips inside those now dispensable gadgets, suffered its worst quarter in 25 years, prompting the company to lay off at least 5,000 employees. Sony, maker of televisions, cameras, and the PlayStation 3 video-game console, expects to post an operating loss of $3 billion. LG Electronics, manufacturer of cell phones, reported a loss of $500 million. Samsung Electronics is expected to post its first quarterly loss ever.
And even the sale of used and overstocked goods, which can appeal to consumers in a bad economy, isn’t helping matters at eBay. The auction site announced a 31 percent drop in profits.