Flickr Hit Hard by Yahoo Layoffs

Updated: Yahoo (s YHOO) layoffs have started and they seem to have hit the Flickr team. Many engineers from the service have been either laid off or are leaving on their own. Rev Dan Catt, Ashot Petrosian and Neil Kandalgaonkar were amongst those who tweeted about their exits. Catt, for instance, is moving back to UK. I am told Cal Henderson, Flickr Architect — a rock star developer — has also left, though I have not been able to confirm that. His name is missing from Flickr’s About page , but I don’t want to jump to conclusions. [digg=http://digg.com/tech_news/Flickr_Hit_Hard_By_Yahoo_Layoffs]

I dropped Henderson an email to confirm. He emailed back this morning. “I have left Flickr/Yahoo. I don’t have any plans yet, besides playing lots of video games and enjoying the san francisco summer,” he wrote back. Kara Swisher says he’s is working with Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of Flickr, on a new stealthy startup.

Meanwhile check out his presentation about scalable web architectures. Flickr was spared from cuts for a long time but in recent months has been slowly trimming its staff. Frankly, cutting the Flickr team is a bit of a head-scratcher: That group is one of the few pockets of future-thinking tinkerers at Yahoo, especially when it comes to building new media experiences around “social objects” such as photos.

Update#2: We’re hearing that further changes at Yahoo’s Flickr are going to be announced shortly, including exits of some senior/director-level people.

The Case of AT&T’s Incredible Shrinking Broadband Tiers

Updated with AT&T response: Time Warner Cable (s TWC) may have backed off its plans to meter broadband for now, but AT&T (s T) still has tiered broadband trials going on in Reno, Nev., and in Beaumont, Texas. And judging from one consumer’s experience with the trial, AT&T has backed off of its planned efforts to offer a 150-GB-per-month download tier — and it doesn’t inform users of the caps until after they’ve ordered service.
An AT&T subscriber near Lake Tahoe forwarded me a letter received via express mail a week after she signed up for naked DSL service from the ISP. The letter noted that AT&T has four tiers that allowed downloads of between 20 GB and 80 GB per month. When we reported on AT&T discussing its trial efforts with the Federal Communications Commission back in November, it said that the tiers would begin with a 20-GB-per-month tier and go all the way up to 150 GB per month. Update: AT&T spokesman Seth Bloom says that customers subscribing to AT&T’s fiber-to-the-node U-verse service can sign up for a higher 150 GB per month tier. While it may have lowered its tiers, t The carrier is sticking with a planned $1 per GB charge for users who exceed their limit. Read More about The Case of AT&T’s Incredible Shrinking Broadband Tiers

Stat Shot: IPTV Growing Broadband Slowing

Broadband obviously isn’t a growth engine anymore, but it’s underpinning the growth of new communications services such as IPTV. A report commissioned by The Broadband Forum shows that television delivered via broadband is up 63 percent globally. Meanwhile, broadband growth has slowed to the single digits around the world. Another interesting footnote from the research is that while DSL is the most popular access technology at 65 percent, fiber has doubled to 12 percent during 2008, driven in part by demand for services such as IPTV that require faster speeds. Read More about Stat Shot: IPTV Growing Broadband Slowing

Wireless Scorecard, Recession Edition

[qi:083] The financial results are in, so in order to give you guys an idea of how the major U.S. carriers are doing, we’ve gathered together the relevant data from their fourth-quarter wireless results and laid them out below. It’s looking like cheap is chic and the iPhone is keeping AT&T on a winning streak when it comes to new subscribers. Next quarter we’ll pay attention to Sprint and T-Mobile to see how their prepaid plans are faring after introducing new $50 plans. And perhaps AT&T and Verizon will start breaking out their prepaid customers. Read More about Wireless Scorecard, Recession Edition

MetroPCS Grows As Economy Shrinks

metroPrepaid mobile phone provider MetroPCS (s PCS) today reported profits of $14.6 million for the fourth quarter on sales of $723.6 million. The carrier didn’t meet Wall Street earnings expectations after writing down more than $90 million in auction rate securities, but it has added a significant number of new subscribers thanks to its expansion into new markets and the economic turmoil driving folks to consider pre-paid phone plans.

MetroPCS added 519,519 new subscribers in the fourth quarter — its best quarter ever for subscriber additions. New subscribers during the last three months of the year comprised 37 percent of its 1.4 million net adds for the year. During the fourth quarter, 73 percent of new subscribers were from new markets. On an annual basis, 12 percent of Metro PCS growth came from its core markets and 83 percent from expansion markets.

It also plans to continue its growth into new markets (most recently launched were New York and Boston), although it said it would reduce capital expenditures for 2009 to $700-900 million, compared with spending of $1.2 billion last year.

The economy may be working its favor, but the two smaller U.S. carriers, T-Mobile and Sprint (s S) are ratcheting up the pressure with Sprint’s $50 unlimited data and talk plan through its Boost Mobile subsidiary and T-Mobile’s $50-a-month retention plan.

Qualcomm Runs Android on Netbook Chip

snapdragonlaptop4rQualcomm (s QCOM) said today it is running Google’s (s Goog) Android platform on its Snapdragon chipset designed for netbooks and mobile Internet devices. This isn’t earth-shattering since Snapgragon is an ARM-based chip, and another Qualcomm ARM-based chip powers the G1 Android phone. Qualcomm is also a big Android backer through the Open Handset Alliance. But the news bolsters our previous reporting that we could soon see a netbook running Android rather than straight-up Linux or Windows. Once this happens, the lines between mobile operating systems and PC operating systems will be effectively blurred, and we wonder where Android will go next?

Google Has Adscape, Microsoft has Massive… Sony Next?

We’ve recently discussed Google’s planned acquisition of advertising company, Adscape, and now it appears that the deal is final. In a post on the official Google blog, Bernie Stolar, Adscape’s ex-chairman, announced the move over to the Internet giant. Another day in the business, right? For the most part, yes, but Red Herring’s Ryan Olson brings up a very interesting point: now that everyone has ad companies (Microsoft with Massive, Google with Adscape), is Sony going to join suit? Read More about Google Has Adscape, Microsoft has Massive… Sony Next?