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Sony Busts Out the Ax

Sony Busts Out the Ax

Today in international tech news: Germany and patent disputes, Chinese media and rumor-mongering, Sony and job cuts --10,000 of them -- and more.

By David Vranicar TechNewsWorld ECT News Network
04/09/12 9:02 AM PT

Sony will cut some 10,000 jobs, or 6 percent of its international work force, according to a Monday report in The Wall Street Journal, which cited anonymous sources familiar with the situation.

The job cuts are part of new Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai's restructuring plan, according to the report.

From the article:

The cuts could run through the two fiscal years until March 2014, although the final timing hasn't been settled, the people said.

The potential layoffs are the first fresh details to emerge of Mr. Hirai's restructuring plan -- due to be announced at a corporate strategy meeting Thursday -- since he succeeded Howard Stringer as CEO of Sony this month.

Germany and Patent Disputes

The New York Times on Monday looked some of lengthy patent battles taking place in Germany and how they might be hurting business.

The article spotlights Microsoft, which recently moved one of its German offices next door to the Netherlands to avoid potential litigation.

From the article:

Microsoft is taking no chances. Thomas Baumgartner, a Microsoft spokesman in Unterschleissheim, Germany, said the possibility that the court in Mannheim might grant Motorola's request and ban the European distribution of the Xbox and Windows 7 had prompted Microsoft to seek a friendlier base ...

In the last two years, Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Microsoft and Motorola Mobility have either introduced or defended themselves against patent claims in Germany. In one case, Apple won a ruling at a court in Dusseldorf that banned the sale of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer in Germany. Samsung quickly modified the device, releasing the Galaxy Tab 10.1N a month later. Apple sued to block sales of the new device, but a court in Munich denied its request ...

The article goes on to say that settling a patent claim in Germany can be a years-long process, thereby preventing a rival from using technology for reasons that, in the end, don't hold up in court.

Egyptians Reach Out

President Obama's Facebook page has been inundated with comments from supporters of an Egyptian presidential candidate, the BBC reported Monday.

This comes on the heels of news that Hazem Abu Ismail may be barred from running because one of his parents had dual nationality.

From BBC :

Egypt's electoral commission has said Mr Abu Ismail's late mother became a naturalized U.S. citizen in October 2006 ...

Egypt's presidential election rules say that all candidates must have been born in Egypt to Egyptian parents who have never held citizenship of another country, are not dual nationals, and are not married to a foreigner.

This isn't the first time Obama's Facebook page has turned into a sounding board for the international community. In February, Obama's Google+ page was swarmed by Chinese citizens.

Gossip Folks

BBC on Monday published a roundup of the myriad Chinese media outlets to take up the issue of Internet rumors.

People's Daily and others report that the Internet Society of China published a proposal on the matter, claiming that online rumors had caused a "serious threat" to people's rights, public interest, national security and social stability.

The society -- which is overseen by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology -- asks Internet firms to "boycott the spread of online rumors consciously" and intensify management of online forums and microblogging platforms.

According to BBC's article, The People's Daily, Shanghai Morning Post, Southern Metropolis Daily (Guangzhou) and Beijing Times all ran commentaries hailing a "real name" system that would require users to register their real names before engaging in certain online activities.

These articles come at a precarious moment for Chinese social media.

A pair of microblogging platforms -- China's equivalents to Twitter, which is blocked there -- were recently penalized; more than 10 websites were taken down; and six people were detained amid rampant Internet rumors surrounding the ouster of Communist Party official Bo Xilai, who was dismissed and then went missing.

Apple Gets Press, Android Gets Users

The Next Web ran an article Monday detailing how, despite the furor over Apple and China, Android devices are actually far more prevalent in the country.

From The Next Web:

Recent data from Statcounter, among others, shows that Android is set to become the country's single largest mobile operating system (accounting for all device types), with more than double the devices of iOS.

Use of iOS is mainly relegated to Beijing and Shanghai, according to The Next Web. Elsewhere, iOS has been slow on the uptake.


Tech Trek is a blog that looks at tech news from around the world. David Vranicar is a freelance journalist currently living in the Netherlands. His ECT News Network archive, with links to articles and podcasts, is available here. Follow him on Twitter @davidvranicar.


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