Snow Leopard: A Brief Introduction to the New Big Cat

SnowLeopardInstallI’m now running OS X 10.5.6 on two of my three eligible Macs (the fourth is a 12-inch PowerBook G4), and so far, I couldn’t be happier. I haven’t run into any nasty compatibility issues or really disastrous bugs (although Finder once auto-quit and restarted when I was fiddling with the menu bar), and general system performance seems noticeably improved.

All that said, if you’re looking for big flashy changes, look elsewhere. Snow Leopard is exactly what Apple (s aapl) said it was all along: a nice collection of system refinements and improvements, with a few experience-enhancing features thrown in for good measure. Read More about Snow Leopard: A Brief Introduction to the New Big Cat

Subsidized Netbooks Go Nationwide at AT&T

Image 1 for post Acer's $99 netbook can actually cost you $1,540. Should you get it?( 2008-12-12 14:27:58) I’m still not sold on the whole netbook subsidy deal, but if you are and you want AT&T (s T) to provide 3G connectivity to your mobile computer, this is good news. In April, the carrier was testing subsidized netbooks in Atlanta as well as my Philadelphia backyard. It must have proved a positive experiment because AT&T is expanding the option nationwide in the near future. The company plans to expand the netbook model choices, but details aren’t available yet.

I don’t really have an issue with the subsidy model; after all, I’ve taken advantage of it time and again with my smartphone purchases. However, those devices are different because people generally have one primary phone that requires data. Yes, there are exceptions to that, but netbooks are different. They’re really intended as companion devices, not primary ones. And I think it’s far more likely for someone to own or use more computers than phones in a given time period. Having the wireless connectivity bundled with a netbook is convenient, but what do you when you want to use a different computer on the road and you’ve left your 3G service behind with your netbook?

The tech-savvy will find ways to use their 3G phone for data service on a computer or they’ll share the 3G connection from their netbook using software. Perhaps they’ll buy one bit of hardware that can easily share the 3G connection with several devices. This notion that each of our “cheap” devices needs its own dedicated costly 3G connection is lost on me personally.

GigaOM Spring Cleaning: Motorola and Others Hit the Dustbin

We’re no rating agency here at GigaOM, but Om and I got together this week to figure out our coverage priorities for the coming months — let’s call it a spring cleaning — and decided there are five companies that we’re just not going to spend a lot of time on anymore. Nortel (S NT) , AMD (s AMD), Motorola (s MOT), Vonage (s VG) and Alcatel-Lucent (s ALU) are getting the boot.
We’re making room for five companies that we think deserve a little more attention and/or deeper scrutiny: Qualcomm (s QCOM), MetroPCS (s PCS), Huawei, Juniper Networks (s JNPR) and Clearwire (s CLWR). All but Huawei are public companies, but Huawei is big enough to matter. This isn’t to say there aren’t tens of other companies we plan to cover closely, but since we’ve essentially upgraded a few and downgraded these others, we figured you guys might care to know what we’re thinking. If not, just skip our rationale below: Read More about GigaOM Spring Cleaning: Motorola and Others Hit the Dustbin

Nortel to Cut 3,200 More Workers

logo_purple1Nortel, (s NT) the bankrupt telecommunications gear maker, said today it will lay off an additional 3,200 workers worldwide over the coming months — bringing its total workforce down to 25,000. The Canadian company, which filed for bankruptcy in January, said last November that it would cut 1,300 employees — and that was on top of a 1,200-person culling announced even earlier. As part of today’s news it said that while 1,800 of those earlier layoffs have not yet been completed, they will still be made. Mike Zafirovski, Nortel president and chief executive officer, said in a statement: Read More about Nortel to Cut 3,200 More Workers

Let the Breakup of Nortel Begin

masterawhiteRadware (s RDWR), a maker of application delivery equipment, wants to buy a business unit of bankrupt gear maker Nortel Networks (s NT). The unit in question is known as Alteon; it makes application switching and WAN optimization products for the data center. Nortel bought Alteon for $7 billion back in 2000. Light Reading reports the Radware bid may be closer to $50 million.

Wireless area network optimization and application delivery, which provide visibility into networks, are becoming more relevant in data centers as software as a service and cloud computing becomes more accepted. Venture firms are investing in the space, and it looks like Radware would like to as well. Because Nortel filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year, any deal would have to go through the bankruptcy court approval process.

Ericsson Cuts 5,000 Jobs After Strong Quarter

ericsson_logoToday Ericsson (s eric) reported a 31 percent drop in its fourth-quarter profits to 3.9 billion kronor ($465 million), announced 5,000 job cuts and said its core telecommunication equipment business was still unaffected by financial turmoil. Ericsson saw a large loss in its handset unit, but demand from telecommunication operators and a weakening currency meant strong equipment sales. According to the AP, Ericsson Chief Executive Carl-Henric Svanberg said:

“It remains, however, difficult to more precisely predict to what extent consumer telecom spending will be affected and how operators will act,” Svanberg added. “To date, our infrastructure business is hardly impacted at all, but it would be unreasonable to think that this would be the case also throughout 2009.”

That conservative thinking is why Ericsson is cutting its workforce, hoping to lower its burn rate through tumultuous times. I can’t fault this line of thinking, especially given the weakness of other players in the market such as Nortel (s NT), which filed for bankruptcy last week or Motorola (s mot), which has laid off thousands. However, it’s a vicious cycle, as the news of layoffs (and the layoffs themselves) cause folks to rethink their spending. I want to buy into the idea that we have nothing to fear but fear itself, but in times like these, that’s a hard sell.

Updated: Nortel Is Bankrupt, More Layoffs Coming

logo_purpleUpdated with confirmation, comment from Nortel: In a sign of just how deep the troubles of the troubled telecommunications industry currently run, The Globe and Mail is reporting — and Nortel Networks has now confirmed — that the equipment maker (s NT) plans to file for bankruptcy, perhaps as soon as today. The Canadian company has $4.5 billion in debt, and faces declining sales for its gear as operators pause network deployments. To further its woes, Nortel is having a tough time selling off its metro Ethernet division, a move aimed at raising more cash. Read More about Updated: Nortel Is Bankrupt, More Layoffs Coming

Alcatel Makes Cuts — Will It Help?

logoToday beleaguered telecommunication equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent (s ALU) said it would cut 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion) in costs between now and 2010. It plans to do this by laying off 1,000 managers, 5,000 contractors and cutting costs in areas such as R&D and real estate. While this move comes amid troubling signs in the telecommunications industry, such as Alcatel-Lucent’s customers cutting costs and competitors such as Nortel (s nt) trying to raise cash as it tries to figure out how to steer through the downturn, it’s also an effort to make Alcatel more nimble in a competitive environment.

The company was struggling even before the bottom dropped out of the market, and the solution here is less about job cuts and more about consolidation or eliminating some of the weaker players in the overall industry. It has to happen, especially given that Alcatel executives expect the telecommunications equipment market will decline 8-12 percent in 2009 — declines that will stress stronger players, much less weaker ones. Alcatel-Lucent will also embrace new lines of business, such as services, but the company still has its work cut out for it. The cost-cutting can buy it time, but it still needs to address the issue of being a lumbering giant in a tough market.

Nortel Seeks Bankruptcy Advice

logo_purpleAccording to the Wall Street Journal,  telecommunications equipment maker Nortel is talking to lawyers about its strategy, including filing for bankruptcy.  This is grim news for the vendor and the industry at large. Nortel (s NT) has a lot of debt ($4.5 billion as of the last quarter), is facing continued pressure from emerging competitors such as Huwei, and the overall equipment industry is being pummeled by the global financial crisis. Nortel laid off 1,300 workers on Nov. 10, bringing its total layoffs this year to 2,500, and a spokeswoman says the company is still implementing its restructuring plan. Read More about Nortel Seeks Bankruptcy Advice