Tag: jobs

Blackberry sued by former workers

Troubled phone maker Blackberry is facing a class-action lawsuit from more than 300 former employees.

The outfit is accused of denying employees their termination entitlements by transferring them to a partner company and, once they had accepted employment there, firing them. The former employees were then allegedly given their final date of work.

“Blackberry’s actions amount to a termination of the employees’ employment. This entitles these employees to statutory, common law, and/or contractual entitlements on termination.”

Blackberry hasn’t commented on the case yet, though the suit said that it has refused to pay those entitlements and the transferred employees have lost their accumulated years of service.

In 2016, Blackberry also laid off around 200 employees from Waterloo and Florida, which followed an announcement in 2012 to cut over 5,000 jobs over the a multi-year period.

Blackberry is going down the toilet lately. No one is buying its phones and its current business plan is to flog its software and general patent trollage.

Blackerry said that it has reviewed the allegations in the lawsuit, and was confident it complied with all its obligations to its employees. It said the case “lacks merit”, and it will defend it “vigorously”.

Nearly half of our current jobs will be gone in 25 years

Robby the Robot - Wikimedia CommonsWharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania has warned that all the developed nations on earth will see job loss rates of up to 47 per cent within the next 25 years.

The statistic is based on a recent Oxford University study and includes blue and white collar jobs. So far, the loss has been restricted to the blue collar variety, particularly in manufacturing so no one has cared that much as this has been happening since the 1960s.

The new trend is not creating new jobs either. By 2034, just a few decades, mid-level jobs will be by and large obsolete.

So far the benefits have only gone to the ultra-wealthy, the top 1 per cent. This coming technological revolution is set to wipe out what looks to be the entire middle class.

Accountants, doctors, lawyers, teachers, bureaucrats, and financial analysts beware: your jobs are not safe. Soon computers will analyze and compare reams of data to make financial decisions or medical ones. There will be less of a chance of fraud or misdiagnosis, and the process will be more efficient. Not only are these folks in trouble, such a trend is likely to freeze salaries for those who remain employed, while income gaps only increase in size.

Unfortunately the report suggests that it is too late to turn Luddite and break up the machines. Governments will need to sort out some form of retraining, although it is not clear what the nasty fleshy pink lumps can do that robots can’t.



Robots will have six percent of US jobs by 2021

Robby the Robot - Wikimedia CommonsNever mind Mexican immigrants, by 2021, robots will have come over there and taken six percent of US jobs.

The first to go will be customer service representatives, followed by truck and taxi drivers.

According to market research company Forrester, the robots, or intelligent agents, represent a set of AI-powered systems that can understand human behaviour and make decisions on our behalf.

Forrester’s Brian Hopkins said in the report that already we are seeing virtual assistants like Alexa, Cortana, Siri and Google Now as well as chatbots and automated robotic systems. While these are quite simple, over the next five years they will become much better at making decisions on our behalf in more complex situations.

While robots are great for companies they are not so good for blue collar employees with little in the way of education or skills.

Forrester predicts that in 2021 a disruptive tidal wave will begin. Solutions powered by AI/cognitive technology will displace jobs, with the biggest impact felt in transportation, logistics, customer service and consumer services.

However, six percent of the industry is huge, particular as western economies have been pants at creating new jobs or providing cheap education so people can move into new areas.

Cue the stupidity

screen-shot-2012-08-05-at-1.15.14-pm-1344143971Apple’s Eddy Cue stuffed up Apple’s TV negotiations by trying to be Steve Jobs and telling big content what to do.

Apple’s senior VP of internet software and services, supposedly angered TV industry execs more than any other Apple employee during the negotiations with companies such as Disney and Time Warner.

The Wall Street Journal has found more evidence from multiple cable-industry executives about Cue’s antics. Apple wanted to expand into TV, confirming many rumours over the past five years that have claimed the company explored everything from making its own TV, to trying get TV-channel owners to sign-on for a video streaming service that would have cost $30.

The Journal said that during a meeting between Cue, former Time Warner CEO Glenn Britt, new CEO Jeff Bewkes and other executives Cue arrived 10 minutes late and was wearing jeans, tennis shoes with no socks, and a Hawaiian shirt.

“Apple wanted full on-demand seasons of hit shows and rights to a vast, cloud-based digital video recorder that would automatically store top programs and allow ad-skipping in newly aired shows.”

Execs supposedly “kept looking at the Apple guys like: ‘Do you have any idea how this industry works?’”

Talks with Disney and CBS didn’t go any better, even though Disney CEO Bob Iger sits on Apple’s board and CBS CEO Les Moonves said he would probably sign a deal. Cue however stuffed it up by making demands that would have completely changed the way TV channels fuel profit growth.

Apple demanded that Disney freeze the monthly rate per viewer it would pay to license its channels which usually get rate increases annually.   It appears that the easy negotiation ended with the Fark Cue from the studios.

So where did Cue’s belief he could mimic the dumb arrogance of his late boss lead?  Apple had to give up on the idea of launching a TV streaming service. Instead it added apps to the Apple TV last year, giving studios the ability to create their own channels on Apple TV with their own subscription rates.

It is also coming up with the worst content on TV including its new Planet of the Apps reality TV show and god awful “CarPool Karaoke”.


US software worth $1.07 trillion

US dollarSoftware trade outfit, BSA The Software Alliance said that in 2014, the software industry had a $1.07 trillion impact on US gross domestic product.

It is being driven by 2.5 million jobs directly related to the software industry and an additional 7.3 million positions for people in real estate, professional services and other fields the industry supports.

Most of the work is found in California which has 408,143 software jobs (not including supported jobs in other fields) that contributed about $90.53 billion to the GDP.

New York and Texas came in second and third, respectively, in regard to GDP, with New York’s 147,361 software jobs contributing $37.16 billion and Texas’ 200,000 jobs adding about $30 billion.

Alaska’s 1,325 software jobs contributed $248 million to the GDP. Also toward the bottom were Montana, North Dakota and Maine.

In Texas the reason the software companies are there is because of a friendly tax environment has helped attract companies to major cities like Austin, Houston and Dallas.

The numbers appear realistic, unlike the figures that the organsisation cobbled together on piracy.

Supremes tell Apple to shut up and face the music

The_Supremes_-_The_Supremes_Sing_Holland-Dozier-HollandThe highest court in the US has told the fruity cargo cult that Steve Jobs really was a monopolist who set up price cartel and it is going to have to deal with the consequences of his actions.

The Supreme Court officially declined to hear Apple challenge to an appellate court decision that it conspired with five publishers to increase e-book prices, meaning it will have to pay $450 million as part of a settlement.

The Supreme’s decision not to hear the case leaves in place a June 2015 ruling by the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that found Apple liable for engaging in a conspiracy that violated federal antitrust laws.

Apple trotted out its usual line saying that it didn’t do anything, and even it it did it should be allowed to do what it liked otherwise “chill innovation and risk-taking.”

The 2nd Circuit’s ruling followed a 2013 decision by US District Judge Denise Cote that Apple played a “central role” in a conspiracy with publishers to raise e-book prices.

The Justice Department said the scheme caused some e-book prices to rise to $12.99 or $14.99 from the $9.99 price previously charged by market leader Amazon.com.

Bill Baer, head of the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust division said that Apple’s liability for knowingly conspiring with book publishers to raise the prices of e-books is settled once and for all.

Publishers that the Justice Department said conspired with Apple include Lagardere, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Penguin Group, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan.

Apple and the publishers agreed on an arrangement in which Apple would get a 30 percent commission and publishers were allowed to set the prices for their books, a tactic known as “agency pricing” that prevents discounting.

The publishers also agreed they would charge all outlets the same amount, meaning Amazon was forced to raise its prices. E-books that had cost $9.99 suddenly cost $12.99 or $14.99.

Amazon said in a statement it was “ready to distribute the court-mandated settlement funds to Kindle customers as soon as it is told to do so.”

Apple-1 up for sale

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 16.02.11Christie’s auction house is to sell an original Apple-1 personal computer (pictured: Christie’s shot) but it won’t come cheap.

An online only auction has estimated it to be worth between £300,000 and £500,000 with a starting bid of £240,000. The machine, manufactured in 1976, was the designed by Steve Wozniak and sold by Steve Jobs.

Only 200 Apple-1s were built but according to Christie’s there’s only 50 or so of them remaining.

Christie’s said they haven’t tested to see whether it still works, but believe somebody competent could put it back together.

It comes with the original manuals, which apparently makes it an even rarer item.

If you do dish out half a million pounds for this old piece of kit, you have to pay a buyer’s premium as well as VAT.

The auction ends of October the 29th.

HP will lose 30,000 more jobs

BN-EE799_hp0820_P_20140820164645It looks like HP’s split into two companies will not save jobs – in fact, 30,000 more will go in the restructuring.

The purge will occur within the newly formed Hewlett Packard Enterprise, a bundle of technology divisions focused on software, consulting and data analysis that is splitting off from the company’s personal computer and printing operations.

The spinoff will be completed by the end of next month, dooming 25,000 to 30,000 jobs within HP Enterprise. The target means 10 to 12 percent of the 252,000 workers joining HP Enterprise will lose their jobs as part of the company’s effort to reduce its expenses by $2 billion annually.

About 50,000 workers will remain at HP, which become the new name for the company retaining the PC and printer operations.

This means that since CEO Meg Whitman took control of the company more than 88,000 people have collected their layoff notices. Mostly the problems have been caused by acquisitions that have not panned out and a slump in PC sales.

HP’s layoffs have been demoralizing blow to a company that provided a template for future Silicon Valley entrepreneurs when William Hewlett and David Packard founded it 76 years ago. Hewlett and Packard later embraced an employee-friendly philosophy that became known as the “HP Way.”

The HP Way was more or less killed off by the winsome CEO Carly Fiorina who is now a candidate for the Republican Party’s nomination in the 2016 race for president. Fiorina engineered a $25 billion acquisition of PC maker Compaq that angered many shareholders, including heirs of the company’s founders. She cut more than 30,000 jobs before she was fired.

Still HP remains one of the world’s biggest technology companies. HP Enterprise expects to have more than $50 billion in annual revenue.

“Hewlett Packard Enterprise will be smaller and more focused than HP is today,” Whitman promised in a Tuesday statement.

Jobs had nothing to do with early Apple technology

Wozniak_photoDancing Queen and all round good bloke Steve Wozniak has been giving interviews to help kids with their school projects and he has spun an interesting story about the formation of Apple.

When he was visiting Orlando he was asked by 14-year old Sarina Khemchandani to let her interview him for her website, ReachAStudent which with true Woz style he did.

Sarina set up her website to provide students at her school “the ability to access and share positive insight on any school related matter” and to allow students to ask questions of mentors.

In the third and final video Woz answers questions about Steve Jobs and Apple which might stick a spanner in the works for those who believe that Jobs was behind everything.

Woz said that Jobs played no role at all in any of his designs of the Apple I and Apple II computer and printer interfaces and serial interfaces and floppy disks and stuff that he made to enhance the computers.

“He did not know technology. He had never designed anything as a hardware engineer, and he did not know software. He wanted to be important, and the important people are always the business people. So that’s what he wanted to do,” he said.

The Apple II was the only successful product Apple had for its first 10 years, and Woz had built it before Jobs even knew it existed.

Being the sort of person he is, Woz did not slam Jobs for any of this. He said his partnership with Jobs was important. He warned that a great product would not do anyone any good unless it sells – and for that, you need a company.

“So it’s very important, even if you are not a business man, to find someone who is.”

In other words, Jobs was a leech, but he was a useful and necessary leech.

Movie dares to show Jobs as a narcissistic megalomaniac

steve-jobs-dr-evilIt is starting to look like Hollywood’s love affair with Steve Jobs is fading.  After a mind-boggling sycophantic flick failed at the box office, Danny Boyle has decided to show Jobs as he really was.

The Oscar-nominated Irish actor Michael Fassbender’s portrayal of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is that of a narcissistic megalomaniac who made everyone miserable.

The first trailer for the film is out and if the film follows its main theme then Jobs image of a saint and a genius is well and truly tarnished.

For example it has Steve Wozniak telling Jobs: “What do you do? You’re not an engineer. You’re not a designer. You can’t put a hammer to a nail. I built the circuit board. The graphical interface was stolen. So how come, 10 times in a day, I read Steve Jobs is a genius? What do you do?”

The Tame Apple Press thought that Woz might have a thing or two to say about that and sure enough he did.

“I don’t talk that way,” Wozniak said in an e-mailed response to questions. “I would never accuse the graphical interface of being stolen. I never made comments to the effect that I had credit (genius) taken from me.”

But then he added: “The lines I heard spoken were not things I would say but carried the right message, at least partly,” he said. “I felt a lot of the real Jobs in the trailer, although a bit exaggerated.”

This flick was written by The Social Network’s Aaron Sorkin, the film is based on Walter Isaacson’s biography about Jobs and stars Kate Winslet stars opposite Fassbender as co-worker Joanna Hoffman. Seth Rogen plays his business partner Steve Wozniak and Jeff Daniels appears as former Apple president John Scully.

Winslet’s character accuses him of “alienating people for no reason” and shows how Jobs refused for many years to acknowledge or offer financial support to his daughter Lisa.

Woz told Bloomberg that it was hard for him to be quiet, when Jobs refused to acknowledge his child when the money didn’t matter.  “I can almost cry remembering it.”

He said films about Apple rarely depict the real events accurately — even people who were there have different memories — although the overall meaning is often correct.

Steve Jobs is due out in UK cinemas in November.  Apple fans are furious of course.  The film shows them as very stupid people who Jobs played like an accordion.