THE WRAP: Cisco's job cuts; DTAC escapes legal action
It was the week that saw rampant speculation over Cisco job cuts, as DTAC dodged a foreign ownership lawsuit and the GSMA lobbied Taiwan to drop Wimax for LTE.
Reports emerged during the week that Cisco Systems may chop anywhere between 5,000 and 10,000 jobs as part of its overall plan to restructure the company, according to inside sources speaking to Bloomberg. Cisco has said it will trim its workforce as part of the restructure, but hasn't officially said how many or from which divisions.
It was also the week that saw Thai operator DTAC escape legal action over its foreign ownership structure – for now. The Business Development Department decided not to file a lawsuit against DTAC for allegedly breaching Thai law restricting foreign ownership of more than 49% of a telco. However, the department referred the case to the police to let them determine if DTAC violated the law.
Meanwhile, Etisalat – whose JV in India, Etisalat DB, is also facing allegations of breaching foreign investment rules – wasn’t so lucky this week. The Enforcement Directorate said it would fine Etisalat DB 70 billion rupees ($1.6 billion) for foreign direct investment violations. Etisalat has 30 days to respond.
In other news for the week, the GSM Association advised Taiwan to abandon its emphasis on Wimax manufacturing in favor of LTE and HSPA – and issued a report to make an economic case for that advice.
The report [PDF], prepared under commission by Analysys Mason, claims that global adoption of LTE will generate $934 million for Taiwan's economy by 2015, compared to just $100 million for Wimax.
The report was released a couple of days after ZTE announced it had completed the world's first TD-LTE to 2G/3G handover test, demonstrating interoperability between TD-LTE terminals and GSM, UMTS and CDMA EV-DO networks.
In business news for the week, Rockstar Bidco – the consortium of tech giants that wrestled Nortel's patent portfolio away from Google – won court approval to buy the patent horde for $4.5 billion, but the deal may still face anti-trust scrutiny over concerns Rockstar could use the patents to halt Android’s market growth.
Ironically, Google is facing his own anti-trust scrutiny, and this week chairman Eric Schmidt agreed to testify before a US senate hearing into the company's growing internet dominance and business practices, according to the WSJ. Schmidt’s decision to appear is significant because Google has resisted sending senior execs to testify at the hearing.
The week’s Big Rumor (apart from how many jobs Cisco will cut): Bharti Airtel may put its tower business up for an IPO that would value the division at as much as $10 billion. The company is believed to be in talks with bankers over an IPO for Bharti Infratel to raise up to $1 billion, according to the Financial Times.
The week’s Big Stat: There were 1.91 million Chinese websites in operation at the end of 2010, according to Chinese government think-tank the Academy of Social Sciences. That’s a 41% drop from 2009 and the first year the number of websites in China has shrunk.
Independent analysts blame heavy censorship in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution protests in the Middle East. The Academy says it’s due to the economic crisis and porn site crackdowns, not political censorship.
And finally, it was the week that Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer declared Windows Phone 7 “very small”.
Opening the 2011 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference this week, Ballmer said that while Microsoft Office and Windows 7 had done well in the past year, Windows Phone 7’s market share in the mobile OS space had “gone from very small to ... very small".
Which adds up to about 1% of all handsets in the US, according to a Nielsen report last month, reports Network World Asia.