Category Archives: Financial Performance

Over 10000 Microsoft employees may lose jobs soon

After Twitter, Meta, and a host of tech giants, Microsoft is preparing mass layoff due to uncertain macroeconomic conditions. As reported by The Verge, the company may fire 5 per cent of its workforce by this week. A Bloomberg report claims that the tech giant may announce layoffs as soon as today. Currently, Microsoft has over 220,000 employees, and 5 per cent roughly translates to 11,000. In October last year, Microsoft laid off close to 1000 employees across divisions.

The latest reports point out that the latest round of job cuts will majorly impact the engineering divisions. This comes just days after Microsoft announced an “unlimited time off policy” for its salaried employees in the US. As a part of the policy, US salaried workers won’t have a fixed number of vacation days and can take unlimited leaves for the same. This does not apply to part-time workers.

Although the news about the job cuts is unfortunate, the development isn’t entirely surprising as Microsoft has been giving signs of uncertainties ahead. For instance, its CEO Satya Nadella, who recently visited India, said in an interview with CNBC that Microsoft is not immune to global changes. 

Nadella expects the next two years to be challenging for tech companies after the pandemic-fuelled growth. He also admitted that Microsoft is not immune and says the tech sector must look inwards to boost efficiency to remain competitive.

Microsoft is yet to confirm reports about a potential mass layoff this week.

Over the last five months, many American tech giants have fired thousands of employees to save operational costs. The companies have mainly blamed the Ukraine-Russia war, slow growth, and over-hiring during the peak COVID-19 pandemic.

Mass layoffs majorly began with Twitter in October, following Elon Musk’s formal takeover. The new Twitter CEO has taken strict measures to limit expenses. Twitter has fired over 3000 employees. Amazon laid off close to 10,000 workers late last year, and the company recently announced that more employees would lose jobs. This will take the total tally to 18000.

Meta, formerly Facebook, too, fired thousands of employees last year. It trimmed nearly 13 per cent of its workforce, which impacted more than 11,000 employees worldwide. Several other tech giants such as HP and Adobe also announced layoffs to save expenses. 

In India, startups such as Dunzo and ShareChat have taken similar measures. Many companies have also ended their work-from-home and hybrid work.

Apple eyes India, Vietnam to replace China as its key manufacturer

China, which is still the key Apple supplier, may lose its tag as leading iPhone manufacturer as Apple looks at India and Vietnam to bolster its supply chain, the media reported on Saturday.

Largest Apple supplier Foxconn has “quietly finalised plans” to relocate some of its Apple iPad and MacBook production to Vietnam, reports The South China Morning Post.

Apple has reportedly cut back on orders citing weakening demand in potential blow to its Chinese suppliers amid Covid disruptions.

At the moment, China is way ahead on the Apple product manufacturing global map.

According to Bloomberg’s analysis of Apple’s global supply chain, 121 (17.7 per cent) of Apple’s 2022 suppliers were domiciled in China, making the country the second largest global source of Apple’s supply chain after the US.

India is in eighth spot, with two companies (0.3 per cent) and 278 out of 12,248 global facilities (2.3 per cent).

Vietnam was in 14th place with two companies (0.3 per cent) and 160 facilities (1.3 per cent).

Apple is eyeing to ramp up manufacturing in India amid Covid-related supply chain issues in China.

Apple is fast forwarding its manufacturing plans in India and Vietnam in the wake of unrest in China over zero-Covid policy which has severely disrupted its supply chain, leading to an acute shortage of new iPhone 14 Pro models last last year.

The Wall Street Journal had reported that the company is “telling its suppliers to plan more actively for assembling Apple products elsewhere in Asia, particularly in India and Vietnam” in order to “reduce dependence on Taiwanese assemblers led by Foxconn”.

Apple aims to ship 40-45 per cent of iPhones from India compared to a single-digit percentage currently, according to Kuo.

Every fourth iPhone will be made in India by 2025, according to JP Morgan.

Buoyed by the ease-of-doing business and friendly local manufacturing policies, Apple’s ‘Make in India’ iPhones will potentially account for close to 85 per cent of its total iPhone production for the country in 2022, according to industry experts.

Apple first started manufacturing iPhones in India in 2017, with iPhone SE.

The tech giant manufactures some of its most advanced iPhones in the country, including iPhone 11, iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 at the Foxconn facility, while iPhone SE and iPhone 12 are being assembled at the Wistron factory in the country.

Samsung Electronics Renews Technology sharing Agreement with Huawei

Samsung Electronics has recently renewed a technology-sharing agreement with Huawei, according to media reports.

According to a report by The Elec, a Korean online media outlet specializing in electronics parts, Samsung Electronics transferred 98 patents it has in the United States to Huawei in November 2022. The value of the transferred patents is said to be equal to the difference in their cross-licensing agreement.

The report says Samsung handed over 81 patents to Huawei in 2019 under a cross-licensing deal, which was intended to put an end to ongoing patent disputes. 

Huawei disclosed on Dec. 9 that it has recently patent license deals with Samsung Electronics.

Alan Fan, head of Huawei’s Intellectual Property Department, said in a press briefing that Samsung is Huawei’s biggest licensee among foreign companies in terms of the number of devices sold and the patents covered.

Huawei said it has patent cross-licensing deals with 20 companies, including Chinese and foreign players. The licensees include Oppo, the world’s fourth-largest smartphone maker by shipments. The deal with Oppo is Huawei’s largest ever with a Chinese company.

According to Nikkei Asia, Huawei has been working to expand revenue from patent licensing after U.S. sanctions disrupted its core smartphone and telecom equipment making businesses. The company said its revenue from patent licensing was between US$1.2 billion and US$1.3 billion from 2019 through 2021, and such revenue was growing.

n 2016, Huawei filed a patent infringement suit against Samsung Electronics with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and the Shenzhen People’s Court in China, alleging that Samsung used its 4G communication standard-related patents without approval. Courts in China and the United States collided hard, siding with Huawei and Samsung Electronics, respectively. In March 2019, the two sides settled their disputes out of court, signing the cross-licensing agreement.

As Huawei’s semiconductor and smartphone businesses have been hampered by strong trade sanctions from the United States, Huawei is seeking new revenue generation through patent licensing. It is actively taking advantage of its position as the No. 1 company in 5G standard patents. From 2017 to 2020, Huawei filed the largest number of patents with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) among global companies. In particular, the Chinese IT giant boasts overwhelming competitiveness in the field of 5G technology.

Huawei also hinted at expanding the royalty business based on a solid patent portfolio. At an intellectual property (IP) forum held at its headquarters in Shenzhen, China last year, Huawei announced that it would negotiate licensing agreements including 5G patent usage fees with major 5G smartphone makers such as Samsung Electronics and Apple. At the time, Huawei proposed a policy of imposing royalties of up to US$2.5 per 5G smartphone.

Indonesia Encouraging 4 Digital Skills to Achieve US$315 Billion by 2030

Indonesia has great ambitions for its digital economy and has deployed strategies to achieve its ambitions with a goal to reach USD315 billion by 2030. The 2021-2024 Indonesia Digital Roadmap is set on 4 pillars, namely digital infrastructure, digital government, digital economy and digital society.

As part of its strategy, the government is promoting four important digital skills to accelerate its digital economy. The government believes that the future demand for digital skills will be focused on four areas Artificial Intelligence, Bitcoin, Cloud Computing, and Data Analytics (ABCD). The ABCD skills are projected to help the national economy hit its US$315 billion by 2030 target.

Therefore, the Indonesian government is encouraging young people to start businesses through a variety of free programs such as Beta School, 1,000 Startup Movement, Startup Studio, HUB.ID and IGDX.

“Aside from university disciplines, the ABCD is becoming increasingly important for everyone. I believe that all young people require ABCD,” stated Dedy Permadi, Expert Staff of the Minister of Communication and Informatics, in a discussion forum.

Mastering ABCD technical hard skills apart, Indonesian digital talents are also expected to be proficient in non-technical or soft skills known as the 4C’s, which are Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Creativity and Communication.

The Director of SDPPI Kominfo, Ismail, expressed his hope that the young generation in Indonesia would capture the golden opportunity for digitalisation. Digitalisation will transform Indonesia from a consumer country to a prominent player in the new normal.

The government recognises the importance of good infrastructure support in boosting the digital economy. As a result, the government is working to ensure an equitable distribution of internet connection networks across Indonesia, particularly in frontier, remote, and underdeveloped (3T) areas.

According to Ismail, the development of ICT infrastructure must meet three criteria: broad coverage, the deployment of a fibre-optic cable network on the backbone, and affordability, which means that the price is reasonable for the community.

Private operators focus on developing infrastructure in high-demand urban areas and, as a result, the digital divide between cities and towns has grown wider. Consequently, the government is beginning to develop 3T telecommunications in rural, underserved areas.

“We cannot rely solely on private-sector investment. To speed up and accelerate digital transformation, the government must invest in infrastructure,” Ismail said emphatically.

The Ministry of Communication and Information Agency and Telecommunications and Information Accessibility (BAKTI) have also worked to improve and expand internet access for public services throughout Indonesia. BAKTI is working with telecommunications companies to build Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) in remote areas of Indonesia.

“We hope to finish building BTS in all remote areas by 2023 and connect them to the 4G network,” Deddy stated.

Indonesia is a vast archipelagic country. So, relying solely on fibre optic cable networks will make it difficult to provide connectivity. As a result, the government is combining the fibre optic cable network constructed with the 150 Gbps SATRIA 1 satellite.

This multifunctional satellite can provide internet access to 150,000 public service locations in Indonesia, including educational institutions, local governments, defence and security administration, and health facilities. This satellite is scheduled to launch in 2023.

The government has begun construction of the first National Data Centre in the Delta Mas Region, GIIC, Cikarang District, Bekasi Regency, West Java Province, in connection with its digital strategy. It will then gradually expand data centres in Nongsa Digital Park in Batam, Riau Archipelago, the new National Capital City (IKN) in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, and Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara.

The creation of this government data centre is intended to promote efficiency, effectiveness, state data sovereignty, and national data consolidation as part of the One Data Indonesia initiative. “This (data centre) is critical because government data management is critical to developing society’s transformation into a digital society,” Deddy said.

Malaysian Celcom Axiata’s Q3 FY2022 profit after tax and minority interest up 65.3% at USD190 million

Celcom Axiata Bhd’s profit after tax and minority interest (Patami) rose by 65.3 per cent in the third quarter of 2022 (Q3 FY2022) to RM856 million despite higher prosperity taxes.

Its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) grew 12.4 per cent to RM2.29 billion in Q3 FY2022, underpinned by on-going cost management resulting in lower operational expenditure (opex) and higher debt recovery, a statement from the company said today.

Celcom’s revenue ex-device grew by 3.9 per cent year-to-date (YTD) to RM4.58 billion, driven by prepaid revenue and contribution from new enterprise subsidiaries.

Chief executive officer Datuk Idham Nawawi said the mobile service provider’s strong performance over the quarter was the result of its strategic transformation programme that has touched every part of the organisation.

“We delivered a great financial performance in all key metrics, whilst gaining market share in a very competitive market and a challenging macro environment,” he said.

Idham noted that addressing the surging data traffic growth remained the top priority as Celcom has invested over RM1.8 billion to cater for a significant growth in traffic demand over the past three years.

Celcom’s YTD data traffic increased by 73 per cent to 1.78 terabyte (TB) compared to 1.025 TB three years ago, while the average monthly usage per user rose by 75 per cent to 26.2 gigabyte (GB) in the Q3 FY2022 compared to 14.9GB in the first quarter of 2020.

On prospect over the merger between Celcom with Digi.Com Bhd, Idham said the company will be starting a new chapter and entering the merger on a strong footing.

“Our transformation journey has made the organisation much stronger, leaner, and resilient and it enters the merger with Digi with a positive momentum.

“We look forward to the merged company to continue delivering quality and affordable services, connecting more Malaysians nationwide,” he added.