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Tech Roundup: Nokia Down, Apple Market Share, Layoffs Everywhere, More

Good fortune hangs up on Nokia -- In its latest earnings release, Nokia said that sales were down by five percent and profit by 30 percent. Although management says that gross margins improved and that its outlook remained the same, there was a bigger problem: market share drop. The company's share dropped to 38 percent from 40 percent in the second quarter and 39 percent the year before. Nokia's reason may have been to trade off some volume for some additional gross margin, which lifted to 36.1 percent to 36.5 percent. When costs and revenues are watched to fractions of a penny per unit, that's something to phone home about. [Source: MarketWatch]

Layoff land -- As the economy gets worse, companies are starting to hunker down and lay people off. Internet ad marketplace Adbrite has just laid off 40 percent of its employees. SiriusXM has just dropped 50 and eBay will continue to use layoffs for "streamlining" while acquiring other companies. Jive Software laid off a third of its staff earlier in the week. There are also rumors of 3,000 Yahoo layoffs to come. Pink slips are likely to continue as the new fashion rage. Unfortunately, the race to slim down often means higher costs in the long-run from eventual training and recruiting expenses as well as losing experience that can put a company into a better competitive position. There's also a tendency to "bring in the clones" who think and act just like management does. For those companies that didn't see the financial problems coming, you'd think having people who did things differently might have some redeeming value. [Source: TechCrunch on Adbrite and Jive Software; Silicon Valley Insider on SiriusXM, eBay, and Yahoo; Bob Sutton's Work Matters]

Ballmer eyes Yahoo again -- Yahoo's stock price lifted a bit on news that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer thought that a deal between the two companies could "still make sense economically." Well, sure, when the cost of acquisition would now be in the realm of Microsoft's petty cash drawer. The folks in Redmond said that they have "no interest in acquiring Yahoo." Sure, just the search business, thanks. [Source: CNNMoney.com]

Less than 1/20th of web meets standards -- Opera, the browser company, has been doing a study of Internet content. After crawling through 3.5 million pages, it was able to conclude that only 4.13 percent of them could actually pass the W3C web page validation test, and only half of the sites that display an emblem claiming validation actually deserved it. The problem may be with the tools in use: 81 percent of pages created with Apple's iWeb were valid, but only 3.4 percent made with Adobe's Dreamweaver made the grade. That's the great thing about standards: everybody's got one. [Source: Ars Technica]

Apple close to 10 percent U.S. market share -- The days of thinking of a Mac as a niche machine are over, as Apple probably grabbed 9.5 percent of U.S. PC market share for the three months ending September, according to Gartner. That's up almost 30 percent from where the company was the previous year, keeping it just behind Dell and HP. The only other PC company that came close in growth rate was Acer, and its rate was just over 11 percent. But the Mac success appears to be largely a domestic phenomenon because on a global basis, Apple wasn't in the top five. That's a relief to Steve Ballmer -- for now. [Source: AppleInsider]

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