Microsoft Making a Little Brexit of Its Own

Making a Little Brexit of Its Own - Microsoft is Closing the Skype Office in London

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has announced plans to shut down Skype’s London offices.

Up to 400 staff members could be made redundant as part of the move, which will see Skype abandon its three-floor building in Holborn in line with a wider restructuring exercise that will also impact freemium enterprise network Yammer.

Microsoft has yet to confirm whether the decision was directly impacted by the United Kingdom’s June vote to leave the European Union — although technology trade bodies had previously warned to anticipate numerous multinational pullbacks from London in response to a so-called “Brexit”.

Budget airline EasyJet, telecoms provider Vodafone and credit card giant Visa have all reportedly entered talks to leave the UK as a direct result of impending political uncertainty.

Regardless of Microsoft’s intentions surrounding the move, it will undeniably pose a symbolic blow to the UK’s tech scene. Skype was founded in London in 2003, and has rapidly grown to become one of just 18British “unicorns” — which is a tech firm valued at more than $1 billion.

Its innovative services have proven a lifeline to businesses across the globe over the course of the last decade, enabling small companies to reach new audiences by providing incredibly cheap international callsand revolutionizing remote working with the help of cutting-edge group call features. Today, Skype boasts over 300 million users, who spend an estimated three billion minutes using the service each and every day.

Plenty of investors have picked up on that potential, which is why Skype has changed hands several times since its inception. The unicorn was first picked up by eBay in 2005, then sold to a group of investors in 2009 before American multinational Microsoft swooped in and bought out the company for a whopping $8.5 billion in May 2011.

Since that acquisition, many of Skype’s top roles have been eliminated or moved overseas. Microsoft’s Skype headquarters are now based in Luxembourg, and much of its development team works out of Estonia. It is not thought those offices will be impacted by Microsoft’s decision to consolidate its London operations.

Skype won’t be the sole victim of Microsoft’s latest job cull.

Last month, the company’s annual report confirmed plans to shed approximately 2,850 jobs across in the globe in the fourth quarter of 2016. Yet a Microsoft spokesman did add the company would be working to offer redundant Skype employees new opportunities elsewhere in the company.

“We are deeply committed to doing everything we can to help those impacted through this process,” he said. “Microsoft will be entering into a consultation process and offer new opportunities, where possible.”

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Microsoft Making a Little Brexit of Its Own

Making a Little Brexit of Its Own - Microsoft is Closing the Skype Office in London

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has announced plans to shut down Skype’s London offices.

Up to 400 staff members could be made redundant as part of the move, which will see Skype abandon its three-floor building in Holborn in line with a wider restructuring exercise that will also impact freemium enterprise network Yammer.

Microsoft has yet to confirm whether the decision was directly impacted by the United Kingdom’s June vote to leave the European Union — although technology trade bodies had previously warned to anticipate numerous multinational pullbacks from London in response to a so-called “Brexit”.

Budget airline EasyJet, telecoms provider Vodafone and credit card giant Visa have all reportedly entered talks to leave the UK as a direct result of impending political uncertainty.

Regardless of Microsoft’s intentions surrounding the move, it will undeniably pose a symbolic blow to the UK’s tech scene. Skype was founded in London in 2003, and has rapidly grown to become one of just 18British “unicorns” — which is a tech firm valued at more than $1 billion.

Its innovative services have proven a lifeline to businesses across the globe over the course of the last decade, enabling small companies to reach new audiences by providing incredibly cheap international callsand revolutionizing remote working with the help of cutting-edge group call features. Today, Skype boasts over 300 million users, who spend an estimated three billion minutes using the service each and every day.

Plenty of investors have picked up on that potential, which is why Skype has changed hands several times since its inception. The unicorn was first picked up by eBay in 2005, then sold to a group of investors in 2009 before American multinational Microsoft swooped in and bought out the company for a whopping $8.5 billion in May 2011.

Since that acquisition, many of Skype’s top roles have been eliminated or moved overseas. Microsoft’s Skype headquarters are now based in Luxembourg, and much of its development team works out of Estonia. It is not thought those offices will be impacted by Microsoft’s decision to consolidate its London operations.

Skype won’t be the sole victim of Microsoft’s latest job cull.

Last month, the company’s annual report confirmed plans to shed approximately 2,850 jobs across in the globe in the fourth quarter of 2016. Yet a Microsoft spokesman did add the company would be working to offer redundant Skype employees new opportunities elsewhere in the company.

“We are deeply committed to doing everything we can to help those impacted through this process,” he said. “Microsoft will be entering into a consultation process and offer new opportunities, where possible.”

[“source-ndtv”]

Happy 40th birthday to the little computer that could

The revolutionary Apple I computer was released on this day in April, 1976. We revisit an early profile of Steve Jobs and Stephen Wozniak by legendary Fairfax journalist Peter Smark

Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs with the Apple I computer in 1976. Photo: AP

  • Woman tosses rare Apple computer worth hundreds of thousands of dollars
  • The pioneering Australian computer retailer who came up with the Apple Store concept long before Apple did

First published in The Age on January 15, 1979

Middle-class university drop-outs or never-starts, intelligent but confused and restless, are the object of scorn from many businessmen.

We’re foolish enough not to know it couldn’t be done. We just went ahead and asked questions as we went.

Steve Jobs

“No purpose, won’t work, spoiled, no sense of money or reality,” is the cry.

An Apple I computer held by the US Smithsonian Institution.An Apple I computer held by the US Smithsonian Institution. Photo: Supplied

Steven Jobs, 23, and Stephen Wozniak, 28, have both been on the receiving end of comments like that.

Jobs dropped out of university, drifted to India to talk to a guru, then tried rural life in an Oregon commune.

Wozniak also dropped out of university, and worked without qualifications as a junior engineers at Hewlett-Packard while he fiddled with electronic gadgets in a hobby club for years.

Both had been interested in gadgets since childhood. But the main result of their youthful tinkering was a “blue box” which enabled them to plug in free to the telephones of the world, and brought down the wrath of Ma Bell and their families.

Both, now, are multi-millionaires, and their company, Apple Computer Inc., which makes homes computers, is doing $US25 million annual business.

The picture of such a casual pair as the embodiment of the American dream must send shivers down the spines of country club America.

But the entrepreneurial skills of Jobs and the engineering genius of Wozniak, plus the ability to call in experts to make up for the talents they lack, have caused Apple to flourish where many little outfits have failed.

Wozniak built the Apple I computer in his bedroom. Jobs sold a chain of computer shops on the product which gave them a $US25,000 order and no company.

Jobs pot together the company and Wozniak organised production. In a few weeks, they had orders for 200 at$US500 each.

Then they developed Apple II, a portable wonder of a machine which plays pontoon, stores tax records, controls burglar alarms and does all the other things a home computer can do. With a small television screen added it costs about $US2000.

Job says drily: “We’re foolish enough not to know it couldn’t be done. We just went ahead and asked questions as we went.”

[“source-Gadgets”]