Month in Review

November 2008 saw a run of chief executive departures at technology companies.

Philippe Germond, CEO of IT services provider Atos Origin, was unexpectedly ousted in what has been described as a ‘boardroom coup’, while Symantec’s John Thompson announced his retirement from the CEO spot.

Meanwhile Yahoo! revealed that its CEO and co-founder Jerry Yang is also to step down following a 12-month tumble in its share price, thanks in part to its reluctance to accept an acquisition offer from Microsoft.

BT announced that it will have laid off 10,000 workers by the end of the year, more than 6% of its workforce, following a dip in profitability. The majority of redundancies will affect ‘indirect labour, including agency, contract, subcontract and offshore workers’, the company said.

Sun Microsystems is also cutting 6,000 staff following its announcement of a $1.7 billion loss.

Hardware giant Dell joined technology giants Microsoft and SAP in offering interest-free loans in a bid to slow plummeting demand brought on by the credit crunch, and to discourage IT departments from delaying their procurement plans.

Meanwhile, Dell’s third quarter results revealed a 3% drop in revenues, although the company boosted its profit margins 1.4% to 5.3%.

Online consumer spending declined in the US for the first time in the Internet’s history, according to a report by online research company comScore.

The study found that US consumers spent $8.19 billion online during the first few weeks of November, down 4% from $8.51 billion during the same period last year. Never before has a year-on-year comparison yielded a negative rate of change.

The UK’s privacy and data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office is to have its powers to punish companies that breach the Data Protection Act enhanced.

The exact size of the fines it will be able to enforce are still in discussion, but the government said it may mirror the powers of the Financial Services Authority which can fine companies 10% of revenue for breaking regulation.

Applications maker SAP revised the terms of its controversial Enterprise Support package – a more expensive package which all new customers must adopt – following pressure from its global user group. The company announced that Enterprise Support contracts would be extended from seven to nine years, the final two being optional.

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