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.
STEPPING UP: The firm has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week and to halt all but essential overseas business travel from next month Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) has implemented a remote work policy for employees not on production lines in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, the world’s largest contract chipmaker said yesterday. This is the first time in the Hsinchu-based company’s history that it has launched a large-scale remote work policy, joining global technology companies, such as Apple Inc and Google, that encourage employees to work from home. The chipmaker has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week, it said. As the number of virus infections continues to climb worldwide, TSMC has urged employees to halt unnecessary
Manufacturers are on a mission to produce desperately needed medical ventilators for the COVID-19 pandemic, even if it means converting assembly lines now making auto parts. Along with a shortage of masks and gloves, the spread of COVID-19 to almost every corner of the globe has highlighted a great need for specialized machines that help keep severely afflicted patients alive. “As the global pandemic evolves, there is unprecedented demand for medical equipment, including ventilators,” GE Healthcare chief executive officer Kieran Murphy said. The group has hired more workers and is making ventilators around the clock. Swedish group Getinge AB is also ramping up output
Facing the rapidly evolving global COVID-19 pandemic, Citibank Taiwan Ltd (台灣花旗) has proactively taken precautionary measures. “The health and safety of our colleagues and their families, as well as our clients and the communities we serve, are of the utmost importance. We continue to take proactive measures to preserve their well-being while we maintain our ability to serve our clients,” Citibank Taiwan chairman Paulus Mok (莫兆鴻) said in a statement yesterday. “We have local and regional contingency plans in place, and we have well-established business continuity plans for the firm. We are monitoring the situation closely, adjusting our operations accordingly,
GoShare, an electric scooter sharing service provider with Gogoro Inc (睿能創意), plans to expand to Tainan next quarter in a strategic alliance with Aeon Motor Co (宏佳騰). The company currently offers its services in Taipei and Taoyuan. “Tainan is very popular among tourists. The city receives an average of 22.94 million tourists every year,” GoShare head Henry Chiang (姜家煒) told a news conference yesterday in Taipei, citing Tourism Bureau statistics. “Besides, the city has a long history of riding scooters,” he said. Each household owns an average of 2.5 scooters, he added. “Expanding presence” is one of four strategies GoShare is adopting for this