The digital business week


1 Nov 2011

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A digest of the top business and technology news stories from the past week.

Microsoft – Best Multinational Workplace

Microsoft has been deemed Best Multinational Workplace in the world, in Great Place to Work’s inaugural list of the Top 25 World’s Best Multinational Workplaces.

Microsoft employs more than 1,000 people in Ireland. A gala awards ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange on 27 October announced the company as the No 1 global workplace.

Microsoft Ireland has been the winner of Best Place to Work in Ireland for the last three years running.

Google and FedEx Express join Microsoft in the top 5 on the list. McDonald’s, Marriott and Cisco also have significant operations in Ireland and rank in the top 10 global workplaces.

HP won’t spin off its PC business

HP will not spin off its PC division, saying it would be better to keep its Personal Systems Group (PSG) within the company for its shareholders and customers.

“HP objectively evaluated the strategic, financial and operational impact of spinning off PSG. It’s clear after our analysis that keeping PSG within HP is right for customers and partners, right for shareholders, and right for employees,” said Meg Whitman, HP president and chief executive officer.

“HP is committed to PSG, and together we are stronger,” she said.

Under the leadership of Leo Apotheker, HP previously planned to spin off its PC division and stop producing webOS products.

The move shocked investors and shortly afterwards, Whitman replaced Apotheker as HP said "additional attributes" were needed for the CEO of the company. HP also moved to reconsider its decision to spin off the PC business. 

Its strategic review of the PC business showed it was deeply integrated with “key operations” within the company and boosted HP’s brand value. HP also found that the cost of spinning off the company would outweigh “any benefits of separation.”

IBM appoints Virginia Rometty as president and CEO

Virginia Rometty has been appointed president and CEO of IBM, effective from 1 January 2012.

Rometty, who is currently IBM senior vice-president and group executive for sales, marketing and strategy, will also become a member of the board of directors.

She takes over from Samuel Palmisano, who became CEO in 2002 and chairman of the board in 2003. He will stay on as IBM chairman.

RIM being sued over BlackBerry outage

Consumers in the US and Canada are suing Research in Motion for the major outage that shut its service down for a week in the Americas, Europe and Middle East.

The recent BlackBerry outage prevented users from sending or receiving email, surfing the web and sending and receiving BBM messages.

The problem is understood to have been caused by a failure within Research in Motion’s own infrastructure. A transition to a back-up switch did not go according to plan, causing a large backlog of data.

A lawsuit filed in California last week was brought on behalf of all BlackBerry owners in the US with an active service agreement at the time of the outage. It accuses RIM of breach of contract, negligence and unjust enrichment.

The lawsuit filed in Quebec, Canada, was brought on behalf of Canadian BlackBerry owners, alleging RIM failed to compensate BlackBerry users with refunds for loss of service.

Novartis to cut 2,000 jobs

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis announced today it will cut 2,000 jobs from its workforce, with the majority of the redundancies being made in Switzerland and the US.

The company employs more than 115,000 people in 140 countries.  

Novartis said it was announcing cost-reduction activities to improve productivity and absorb pricing pressures. This activity will be carried out over three to five years and will include reallocating production within the Novartis network resulting in closure of two sites in Switzerland and one in Italy; restructuring the development organisation largely in Switzerland and the US; and relocating some research activities from Switzerland to the US.

The company said the job losses would be offset by 700 new positions in low-cost and other countries.

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