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Wed, Nov 26, 2003 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ LaborSprint Corp lays off workers

Sprint Corp will lay off 2,000 workers, or nearly 3 percent of its work force, by the end of the year as part of an effort to cut operating expenses over the next three years. The job cuts will involve both Sprint's wireline and wireless divisions. The company employs about 70,000 people overall, including about 20,000 people in the Kansas City area. About 20 percent of the jobs that will be cut are in the Kansas City area, company spokesman Mark Bonavia said Monday. The cuts are part of the Overland Park, Kansas, telecommunications firm's reorganization around two market segments: business and residential customers. The restructuring is scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1. Including the layoffs announced Monday, Sprint has cut more than 21,000 jobs in just over two years.

■ Wireless

Rules for keeping numbers

New rules went into effect on Monday letting US consumers switch mobile phone companies without changing their phone numbers. Verizon Wireless, the nation's biggest mobile carrier, reported more than twice the usual traffic in its stores, while No. 2 Cingular Wireless said portions of its Web site were down for about two hours as the company added capacity to handle heavier-than-normal visits. The long-awaited rule change, which some called "wireless emancipation," has set off a marketing blitz by mobile phone companies, fearful of losing their customers and anxious to snare new ones from rivals. But while some forecasts suggested that millions of cellphone users might try to switch carriers on the first day, anecdotal reports indicated that many people were waiting to make sure the process runs smoothly enough so they are not left without service due to unexpected glitches.

■ Computers

Dell moves support center

After an onslaught of complaints, direct sales computer king Dell Inc has stopped routing corporate customers to a technical support call center in Bangalore, India. Tech support for Optiplex desktop and Latitude notebook computers will be handled from call centers in Texas, Idaho and Tennessee, Dell spokesman Jon Weisblatt said on Monday. "Customers weren't satisfied with the level of support they were receiving, so we're moving some calls around to make sure they don't feel that way anymore," Weisblatt said. He would not discuss the nature of the dissatisfaction, but the Austin American-Statesman reported on Saturday that some US customers have complained that Indian support operators are difficult to communicate with because of thick accents and scripted responses.

■ Semiconductors

Intel downsizes chips

Intel Corp said on Monday that it has demonstrated a tiny computer chip built with the next generation of manufacturing technology -- called 65-nanometer circuit design -- which it expects will be ready for use in 2005. The 65-nanometer milestone is significant because of its tiny size. A nanometer is a mere billionth of a meter, meaning 10 million 65-nanometer transistors could fit on the tip of a ball-point pen. Intel said the development of the new circuits renews its confidence that Moore's Law, which projects the steady improvement in chip performance, remains in place for at least another 10 years.

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