Fire public servants: IMF
The country’s rescue creditors on Wednesday pressed the debt-shackled country to fire excess public servants and further scale back workers’ pay rights. The IMF’s top official in the country warned the government it would not escape high budget deficits unless it switches efforts to spending cuts, arguing that the country’s taxpayers had reached the limit. IMF mission chief Poul Thomsen told a financial conference in Athens that Greek government should “move aggressively” to reduce the size of the public sector.
Malaysia Air to cut routes
Loss-making national carrier Malaysia Airlines said it will cut eight routes to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and other destinations starting next month as it seeks to return to a profit. Routes servicing Rome, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Buenos Aires, Karachi, Dubai, the Saudi Arabian city of Dammam, and the city of Surabaya in Indonesia will be dropped, it said in a statement released on late on Wednesday. They will be phased out at different times throughout next month and February.
Lam to buy Novellus
Lam Research Corp agreed to buy Novellus Systems Inc for about US$3.3 billion, combining two of the biggest companies in the chip-equipment industry in a challenge to market leader Applied Materials Inc. The transaction values Novellus at US$44.42 a share, Fremont, California-based Lam said on Wednesday in a statement. The two companies make machinery used by chipmakers to build semiconductors out of disks of silicon. The combination will help the new business keep pace with the latest chipmaking technologies, Lam chief executive officer Steve Newberry said in the statement.
Gates rules out return
Microsoft founder Bill Gates yesterday ruled out ever returning to the helm of Microsoft while dismissing criticism by late Apple founder Steve Jobs, who he called “brilliant.” Gates, in Sydney for a family holiday, said recent rumors that he was considering a full-time comeback to the US software giant he founded, but stepped back from in 2006, were untrue. He told the Sydney Morning Herald he was busy working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation “and that will be what I do for the rest of my life.”
Intel forms smartphone unit
Intel on Wednesday formed a new unit devoted to making chips for smartphones and tablets that have become must-have gadgets in a post-personal computer age. Four units were combined into a Mobile and Communications Group headed by Hermann Eul and Mike Bell, whose background includes having worked on the iPhone at Apple, Intel spokesman Robert Manetta said. “We are trying to speed and improve the development of Intel-based mobile devices,” Manetta said after the internal announcement was made at the California-based chip titan.
PlayStation Vita to hit stores
Sony’s long-awaited PlayStation Vita portable game machine hits stores in Japan tomorrow, with the company predicting brisk sales even though the launch has missed much of the holiday shopping season. Sony Computer Entertainment Inc president Andrew House said yesterday that enthusiasm among gamers could lead to some shortages at first. The PS Vita goes on sale in North America and Europe on Feb. 22.