Hitachi's losses expand
Hitachi Ltd said yesterday its group net loss swelled to ¥58.1 billion (US$560.5 million) in the fiscal year through March, from ¥32.8 billion in the previous year, because of poor sales of plasma TVs in the US. “While domestic sales of plasma TVs were fine, those in the US were particularly sluggish,” Hitachi spokesman Masayuki Takeuchi said. The slump in US sales was a major cause of the company’s dismal performance, he said, but declined to give data on US sales of plasma TVs. Revenue at the Japanese firm rose 9.6 percent from the previous year to ¥11.2 trillion. Overseas revenue increased 14 percent to ¥4.7 trillion, lifted by steady demand in China and Europe.
Global telescope launched
Microsoft Corp launched its WorldWide Telescope late on Monday, bringing the free Web-based program for zooming around the universe to a broad audience. WorldWide Telescope, developed by Microsoft’s research arm, knits together images from the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory Center, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and others. Computer users can browse through the galaxy on their own or take guided tours of different outer-space destinations developed by astronomers and academics. The site lets users choose from a number of different telescopes and switch between different light wavelengths. The WorldWide Telescope is a powerful tool for science and education that makes it possible for everyone to explore the universe,” Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said in a statement.
IBM upgrading game chip
International Business Machines Corp (IBM), the largest computer-services provider, is making lower-cost supercomputers for Wall Street firms and movie studios using chips designed for video-game consoles. The BladeCenter QS22 uses a new generation of the chip developed for Sony Corp’s PlayStation 3. The machine is five times faster and has 16 times more memory than IBM’s earlier offering, the Armonk, New York-based company said in a statement yesterday. IBM, Sony and Toshiba jointly developed the original PlayStation 3 chip in 2006 at IBM’s research lab in Austin, Texas.
Pioneer to cut 2,000 jobs
Troubled Japanese electronics maker Pioneer Corp plans to cut 2,000 jobs as it restructures its plasma TV operations in an effort to return to profit, the Nikkei Shimbun reported yesterday. The job losses in Japan and overseas, which are expected to be implemented in the current fiscal year to next March, follow the company’s decision in March to stop making plasma display panels. Instead it will buy them from Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co. The Nikkei said Pioneer would transfer about 200 researchers and engineers involved in the plasma operations to Matsushita.
A380 delayed again
European aircraft manufacturer Airbus formally acknowledged yesterday that delivery of its superjumbo A380 would be delayed again. A review of the program has shown “that the steep [production] ramp-up planned in 2006 is not fully achievable,” Airbus said in a press statement, confirming suggestions made recently by its management. As a result, Airbus is now scheduling 12 A380 deliveries this year, instead of the originally planned 13, and 21 in next year, instead of 25.