IT Channel News Briefs, Jan. 23

Today's headlines: Microsoft, Yahoo, IBM: Cuts all around; Bell Micro beefs up security

Microsoft, Yahoo, IBM cut costs

Even the biggest of the big are feeling pain. Reeling from an unexpected 11% drop in profits, Microsoft announced Thursday that it will cut 5,000 jobs in research and development, marketing, sales, finance, legal, human resources and IT over the next year and a half. The company cut 1,400 jobs immediately. The headcount reduction is expected to save $1.5 billion for fiscal 2009. As of June 30, Microsoft had just over 91,000 employees worldwide. For its second quarter ended Dec. 31, Microsoft's "operating income, net income and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $5.94 billion, $4.17 billion and $0.47 -- declines of 8%, 11% and 6%, respectively, compared with the prior year," the company said Thursday.

Microsoft's not alone. IBM, on the heels of a robust quarter, is reportedly also eyeing layoffs. IBM insiders have reported to the Communication Workers of America's Alliance@IBM that workers at several IBM locations have been told their jobs will be cut. IBM has not commented on those reports. Speculation is that the cuts could run as high as 10,000 and 16,000 workers.

One of the first acts of new CEO Carol Bartz' tenure at Yahoo was to freeze salaries. Even search kingpin Google is seeing some woes -- its fourth quarter profit fell 68% despite the continuing strength of its search advertising business. Google logged net income of $382 million ($1.21 per share) down from $1.21 billion ($3.79 per share) for the year-ago period. A $1.1 billion investment in America Online and Clearwire Corp. dragged its top line down.

Bell Micro bulks up security lineup

Bell Microproducts Inc. will now offer its North American VARs security products from Bloxx Inc., Barracuda Networks and Cyberoam.

Cyberoam offers unified threat management (UTM) appliances; Barracuda Networks fields email archiving appliances and Internet monitoring products; Bloxx offers Web filtering products for businesses. San Jose-based Bell Micro launched its North American security unit, led by director Duncan Hume, late last year.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 hits

Red Hat released version 5.3 of its Enterprise Linux distribution on Tuesday, about eight months after version 5.2. The new version claims to provide enhanced virtualization scalability, OpenJDK functionality and Intel Nehalem processor support, according to the Enterprise Linux Log.

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