Beth Callaghan

Recent Posts by Beth Callaghan

Weekend Update 11/14/08

Safe to say that the mood of last week–with its anticipation of change–is a distant memory. A different kind of anticipation permeated the tech and online media industries, one more reminiscent of April 2001. There was news all around of layoffs, pending layoffs, bankruptcies and stock dives.

To wit:

Digital Daily offered up a body count of companies in the tech sector that have been beaten into whimpering submission. Nortel (NT), once a telecom high-flyer, lost $3.4 billion in Q3. The company announced plans to lay off five percent of its workforce–including some high-ranking executives–eliminating 2,500 positions. Other high-ranking execs are taking part in the econalypse too, notably Kevin Kettler, Dell’s (DELL) chief technology officer. A week after the computer maker began offering workers voluntary separation plans, Kettler decided to take the company up on it. No word on how many followed suit. Other victims of the gloomy economy are Circuit City (CC), which declared bankruptcy this week, and Intel (INTC), which faced “sharply lower revenue.”

Media Memo presented a handy index of actual online advertising sales results (courtesy of Jupiter Media) and noted that the ad slowdown has hit Google (GOOG), too. Nick Denton, Gawker Media publisher, folded Valleywag into, the flagship blog of the media empire and, in an ironically appropriate move, put Consumerist up for sale. Denton, doom-mongerer of the econalypse, would surely appreciate the following layoff roll call: Condé Net and Time Inc., not once, but twice. No, wait. Three times.

BoomTown was on a Yahoo (YHOO) roll this week, writing about the company’s upcoming layoffs and its stock plunge. Just to squash rumors: Jerry Yang will not be laid off. Social media, mainly Twitter, became a hot topic this week in terms of its effect on the PR industry, and BoomTown had something to say about it. Also noted was the good humor of Mobuzz video, which made a plea to its users to donate five euros apiece to keep it afloat. And in case you were wondering what makes BoomTown impatient, the main two things this week were Microsoft’s (MSFT) continuing failure to find a head for its digital business and Yahoo/AOL’s failure to make anything happen in the ongoing yawn-fest of a nonacquisition.

In Personal Technology, Walt Mossberg gave the lowdown on Wi-Fi for your car, and in Mossberg’s Mailbox discussed disabling Wi-Fi on a laptop. In The Mossberg Solution, Katherine Boehret reviewed the Flip MinoHD, the latest addition to the Flip family, and its first foray into hi-def.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus