Article 43

 

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Alcatel-Lucent Turns Profitable

Alcatel-Lucent Surprises With Profit

By Joseph Woelfel
The Street
July 30, 2009

Telecommunications-equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent swung to a second-quarter profit of 14 million euros ($19.7 million) from a year-earlier loss of 1.1 billion euros, the first profit since its merger in 2006

"Operationally, we are seeing positive trends in our top-line, gross margin and operating expenses,” said CEO Ben Verwaayen, in a statement Thursday.

The latest quarter includes gains of 277 million euros from the sale of its satellite business and a stake in French defense company THALES.

Revenue in the quarter fell 4.8% to 3.9 billion euros.

Verwaayen said market conditions remain “difficult and operators continue to be selective about their investments,” and he reiterated that the company’s market should be down between 8% and 12%. But he said Alcatel-Lucent expects to make its target of adjusted operating income “around breakeven through further improvement in our margins and EXPENSE STRUCTURE.”

The second-quarter profit ends a streak of nine consecutive quarterly losses.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had forecast a net loss of 191 million euros in the second quarter on revenue of 3.85 billion euros.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 07/30/09 •
Section General Reading
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The Controlled Demolition of the American Republic Part 3

Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power
- Benito Mussolini

How Bad Will the Economy Get? Really, Really Bad

By Thomas Greco, Jr
Alternet
July 14, 2009

Historically, every financial and economic crisis has been used to further centralize power and concentrate wealth. This one is no different, and in fact the moves being promoted by the Obama administration and the central banks of the Western powers will take the whole world to the pinnacle of financial despotism—unless enough people wake up and claim their own “money power.

In recent months, the Fed has expanded its “assets” from about $800 billion to more than $2,000 billion. Those so-called assets are securities it bought from financial institutions and loans made to central banks in other countries. But the Fed refuses to name the specific recipients of those funds, while admitting that by doing so they are manipulating the value of the US dollar on foreign exchange markets. (Congressman Alan Grayson Grills Fed Vice Chair Donald Kohn.)

Where does the Fed get the money to buy those “assets” or to make those loans? Quite simply, it creates the money. Unlike you or me or any other economic entity, the Fed has the power to create Federal Reserve dollars by effectively writing a check against no funds. This is the function known as OPEN MARKET OPERATIONS.

What is the economy experiencing now, and what is in prospect for the future? Despite unprecedented inflation of the money supply, we are now (mid-July, 2009) in a period of depression. How can we have simultaneous inflation of the currency and still have economic depression?

It is a matter of where the money is going. While the public sector (federal government) is being lavishly funded to maintain a global empire, and the banks are being bailed out to try to keep a dysfunctional and destructive financial system from collapsing, the private productive sector is being starved for credit. As a result, businesses are bankrupting, people are losing their jobs and their incomes, and lower levels of government are being squeezed because their tax revenues are shrinking.

There is also the matter of the real estate bubble that was created by the financial institutions as they loaded up the private sector with a debt burden that was way beyond its ability to bear. Now that burden is being shifted to the public sector as the government assumes those “toxic” loans. Unfortunately, it is not the poor suckers who were lured into the debt trap that are being relieved, but the predatory lenders who laid the traps. So mortgages are being foreclosed at an unprecedented scale, people are losing their equity as housing values plunge, and more Americans are being made homeless.

These are the factors that have so far kept the effects of monetary inflation from becoming extreme. Ultimately, however, such abusive issuance of political money shows up as rising prices.

When will the price effects of hyper-inflation begin to kick in? How will the government respond to it? What will be the social and political fallout? What can ordinary people do to protect themselves from monetary and legislative abuses? These are the questions that beg for answers.

Already there are rumblings and signs that the U.S. dollar is about to lose its status as the global reserve currency. When that happens, imports of energy and other necessities will become more expensive. The U.S.s massive trade deficits will not be sustained into the future. China, the OPEC countries, and others that have been buying massive amounts of U.S. government bonds with their dollar earnings, are indicating that their appetite has been sated. Bilateral and multilateral trade agreements are being made that bypass the use of the dollar for international trade.

One thing is clear—we cannot rely upon the government to act in the best interests of the people. Already, President Obama has moved to give the Federal Reserve even more power to control the people’s credit and financial resources. According to a June 18 article in the Wall Street Journal, “The central bank would win power to monitor risks across the financial system, and sweeping authority to examine any firm that could threaten financial stability, even if the Fed wouldn’t normally supervise the institution.” This is not a new plan; it was floated as a trial balloon during the Bush administration. As early as March 2008, then Treasury Secretary Paulson WAS PROPOSING TO “give the Federal Reserve broad new authority to oversee financial market stability, in effect allowing it to send SWAT teams into any corner of the industry or any institution that might pose a risk to the overall system.”

Ostensibly that would be done to prevent the errant financial institutions from repeating their sins of the recent past, but more likely it will have the effect of suppressing any private initiative that might compete with the financial cartel. The Fed is, after all, a private company run by the bankers for the bankers. A recent Reuters article is critical of Obama’s move because of the Fed’s lack of accountability. It is a plan that seeks to preserve at all costs the credit monopoly that exists under the central banking regime and to perpetuate the looting of the economy by monetization of federal government debts and other ultimately worthless “assets.”

During the Great Depression, President Franking Roosevelt, upon taking office in 1933, declared a “bank holiday.” He ordered all banks to close. Many of those banks never reopened and many people lost their savings. He also demanded that all Americans turn in their gold holdings in return for paper currency, which was one of the biggest robberies in history up to that time. Some pundits are predicting that another such bank holiday is being planned to put the brakes on price increases, once they begin in earnest, by depriving people of access to their savings, as was done in Argentina in 2002.

Governments that mismanage money invariably use the force of law to prevent the sheep from escaping from the shearing pen (or the slaughter house). So long as people are completely dependent upon political money and banks, they will docilely (or grudgingly) accept whatever “solutionsҔ the political leadership puts forth, and do whatever the government demands of them.

Fortunately there is a way out. The primary purpose of money is to facilitate the exchange of goods and services in the markets. But it is possible to mediate the exchange process without using political money as the payment medium, and without borrowing from banks.

There is plenty of precedent for this sort of CASHLESS TRADING. It involves a process of direct credit clearing among associated buyers and sellers. During the Great Depression the entrepreneurial middle class in Switzerland organized themselves into the WIR Economic Circle Cooperative. After 75 years, the WIR clearing circle continues to thrive with more than 60,000 member businesses trading the equivalent of about US$1.3 billion per year.

The past four decades have seen the emergence of a new industry comprised of commercial trade exchanges, sometimes called “barter” exchanges, that act as “third part record keepers” enabling the same sort of direct credit clearing for thousands of businesses in cities around the world. Efforts at the grassroots by social entrepreneurs to localize exchange and finance have been similarly widespread in many communities over the past twenty-five years.

Measures to properly reform the money and banking system by political means have about as much chance as the proverbial snowball in hell. However, what is possible, and what seems to be gaining traction to transcend the dominant system, is the materialization of voluntary, private initiatives that enable the cashless exchange of goods and services. As these systems continue to improve, proliferate, and scale up, they will provide a pathway toward a sustainable economy, greater local control, and a better quality of life for all.

Thomas H. Greco, Jr. is the director of the Community Information Resource Center, which he founded in 1992. CIRC is a nonprofit consulting organization and networking hub dedicated to economic equity, social justice, and community improvement, specializing in community currency and mutual credit design, development, and implementation. His newest book is The End of Money and the Future of Civilization.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 07/30/09 •
Section Dying America
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Monday, July 27, 2009

Democracy Hollowed Out Part 20

phantomaccess.jpg

“AT&T’s actions strike at the heart of the public’s concerns over the power that corporations have when it comes to determining what the public sees and hears through communications media.”
- Pearl Jam, August 8, 2007

AT&T blocks 4chan /b/

By Duncan Riley
The Inquisitr
July 26, 2009

The global internet CENSORSHIP debate landed in the home of the free Sunday with news that AT&T has censored the popular 4CHAN /b/ image board.

The censorship was first reported on Reddit, where users confirmed with AT&T that the site had indeed been censored, and was not being blocked due to a technical issue. 4chan owner Moot later confirmed the news, saying that the /r9k/ was also blocked and that AT&T users should call or write[to] customer support and [AT&T] corporate immediately.

The censorship at this time extended only to AT&T DSL customers, with wireless (3G) customers believed to be unaffected. Erling Loken Andersen notes that 15.5% of all US internet users use AT&T DSL, meaning that /b/ is now blocked somewhere around 40-60 million people in the United States.

There is no official word from AT&T on the decision yet, and given that its Sunday still in the US none is likely until business hours Monday. 4chan users though aren’t particularly happy about the decision, with /b/tards currently discussing ways to fight back against the IMPOSITION OF CENSORSHIP.

The decision by AT&T to censor /b/ may also further spark further debate around NET NEUTRALITY; love or hate 4chan, the decision by a provider to start censoring sites is THE BEGINNING of a slippery slope to unaccountable corporate imposed draconian censorship that should have no place in allegedly free democratic societies.

There is also the question of why censor /b/ now and not previously? Could a third party such as Scientology have lobbied for the decision?

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 07/27/09 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Alcatel-Lucent 2009 - Still Firing And Reorganizing

“I’m no fan of big reorganizations”
- Ben Verwaayen - Alcatel-Lucent CEO, InformationWeek, September 3, 2008

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My husband was one of those 250 employees layed off. He had been there over 22 years.

It’s no treat for the survivors. I know, because I saw what my husband went through for the past 8 years.

1) survivors guilt--yes it’s real
2) their work load increases suddenly and drastically
3) they’re expected to work and be productive while living in fear of the next round of layoffs

This will be the first time in YEARS that he won’t be pulling “all-nighters” at least once or twice a week. In fact he and a couple of other engineers were up all night solving some kind of problem and he was laid off that following morning.

I was beginning to worry that he was going to work himself into a heart attack. You can maybe get away with chronic high stress and sleep deprivation in your 20’s, but when you’re middle aged it can get dangerous.
- soccermom Alcatel-Lucent lays off 250 in Naperville, Lisle September 19, 2008

Alcatel-Lucent is to lay off an additional 1,000 French staff

By Anke Schroter
Evertiq
July 13, 2009

The telecommunications equipment manufacture plans to lay off an additional 1,000 staff in France in 2009 and 2010. The group blames the current economic downturn for the cutbacks.

Alcatel-Lucent has already reduced staff numbers by around 17,500 in recent years, French media reports.

SOURCE

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Alcatel-Lucent to lay off 850 in France

By Anke Schroter
Evertiq
July 24, 2009

ALCTEL-LUCENT plans to lay off 850 employees at its FRENCH OPERATIONS. The company is looking to achieve these job reductions mainly by voluntary means.

The reducndancies are part of the global restructuring effort that aims to save around 750 million Euros in costs by the end of the year. Dow Jones Newswires cited an unnamed union source in saying that the company also PLANS to outsource about 150 jobs (in addition to the announced job cuts).

SOURCE

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Alcatel-Lucent to lay off 6,000

By Anke Schroter
Evertiq
December 12, 2008

Alcatel-Lucent will lay off 6,000 of its global staff, while implementing a major strategic transformation as well as a realignment of operations.

Alcatel-Lucent will initiate a set of strong actions designed to reduce the companys break-even point by L1 billion per year in both 2009 and 2010. As a part of these INITIATIVES, Alcatel-Lucent expects to reduce the number of MANAGERS BY APPROXIMATELY 1,000 and the number of CONTRACTORS BY APPROXIMATELY 5,000. The company will also complete its existing RESTRUCTURING initiatives as well as seek savings in REAL ESTATE, support functions and discretionary spending.

These actions will aim to:

Improve gross margin by reducing its manufacturing, supply chain and procurement costs, introducing stricter pricing discipline and over time, improving the product mix.

Enhance R&D efficiency by focusing on four key segments (Optical, IP, broadband and Applications enablement) and partnering or rationalizing spend in other areas.

Materially reduce SG&A expenses both in absolute terms and as percentage of revenue, through the de-layering of the organization and the elimination of sales duplication between product groups and regions.

Altogether, Alcatel-Lucent expects that, by the fourth quarter 2009 on a run rate basis, it should achieve total savings of Euro L750 million at constant exchange rate, of which approximately one-third in the cost of goods sold and two-thirds in R&D and SG&A expenses.

Alcatel-Lucent will be partnering, co-sourcing and participating in the consolidation of the industry to reduce spending for WiMAX, CPE, classic core, non-IMS based fixed NGN portfolio and some legacy applications.

Other actions will be taken to have a more agile R&D, such as further simplifying the Carrier Product Group from 6 to 4 divisions, completing platform rationalization program for W-CDMA and NGN as well as consolidating global R&D centers.

SOURCE

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Alcatel-Lucent Acquires English Firm Velocix

By Narayan Bhat
TCM Net Europe
July 30, 2009

French network giant Alcatel-Lucent has acquired Velocix, an English firm which helps media companies and ISPs to accelerate the delivery of rich content, like videos and video games, over the Internet.

Lucent has not disclosed the amount it paid for the acquisition, but the merger will surely introduce the telecom networking giant to the video distribution services market.

“Velocix, with demonstrated strength in video and multimedia content delivery technologies, the highly distributed nature of their network architecture, and the skills and expertise of their team made them an ideal fit forAlcatel-Lucent,” said Philippe Keryer, President of Alcatel-Lucent’s Carrier product group.

Velocix is a content delivery network services and technology specialist and its technology for rich video content is critical for media companies, carriers and other enterprises. The British firm has also developed a metro node that can be deployed by ISPs to speed up the delivery of video over their networks or to sell their own CDN services.

CDNs optimize digital distribution over the Internet by replicating popular video and rich media content to geographically dispersed networks of delivery servers. This allows user requests for content to be served from these local delivery servers rather than from a single source.

“With the acquisition of Velocix, Alcatel-Lucent brings a value proposition to network operators struggling to support their CUSTOMERS’ demands for high-performance delivery of rich media content,” said Melanie A. Posey, Research Director, Hosting & Telecom Services,IDC ( News - Alert).

Velocixs solutions complement Alcatel-LucentҒs existing technology and business initiatives. Velocix was first to market a turn-key solution - Velocix Metro - allows Internet and broadband service providers to deploy their own advanced delivery capabilities to support their digital content initiatives.

“The acquisition is a great fit for both businesses; it fully leverages our achievements to date and adds the strategic backing of a major corporation that is well positioned to shape the future of digital content distribution,” said John Lee, Chief Executive Officer at Velocix.

SOURCE

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Alcatel-Lucent Cuts Some Area Positions

Daily Herald
March 8, 2008

Alcatel-Lucent said it issued layoff notices to some workers at its Naperville and Lisle campus Thursday but declined to provide specifics. “It was not a large number of people,” Alcatel-Lucent spokeswoman Mary Lou Ambrus said. Since Lucent Technologies merged with Paris-based Alcatel, it aimed to eliminate 10,000 jobs worldwide by 2009. Ambrus said the campus has about 4,000 employees and contractors.

SOURCE

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Alcatel-Lucent Lays Off 250 In Naperville, Lisle

Topix
September 18, 2009

Alcatel -Lucent laid off about 250 employees based in Lisle and Naperville on Thursday as part of broader reductions across North America, a company spokeswoman said.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 07/25/09 •
Section Telecom Underclass
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Friday, July 24, 2009

70 Cents An Hour

The FEDERAL MINUMUM WAGE goes up to $7.25 today, from $6.55 A YEAR AGO.

Sounds like good news for the folks that work at America’s largest private employer - WAL-MART.

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The Minimum Wage And Why “The Recovery” Is Not Coming

By Jonathan Tasini
Working Life
July 24, 2009

Today, the minimum wage rises to $7.25 an hour. We should all be glad that millions of people are going to get a bit more money in their pockets. But, this hike masks a very grim fact: the “recovery” is not going to happen anytime soon, if the measure we use for “recovery” is that working Americans are going to find meaningful, full-time, decently-paid employment.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the SCANDAL OF THE MINIMUM WAGE - a level of income that at the grand sum of the new $7.25 per hour, if you worked every single week, every day, you would earn $14,645 a year - with likely no health care, no retirement, no vacation days, no sick days. By comparison, the federal POVERTY LEVEL for a family of three is $17,600--a number that is outdated because it doesn’t take into account the real cost of living. But, even that number is higher than what a person would earn at the new minimum wage.

So, the truth is that by feeling good about the new minimum wage, we are quietly accepting the fact that millions of people will continue to work as slaves--laboring at sub-standard wages. In New York State, the minimum wage hike will do very little for workers because the state minimum wage is already $7.15 and, as the Fiscal Policy Institute points out,"New York’s minimum wage will still be more than 21 percent below its peak value in 1970, which was $9.23 in today’s dollars. The 10 cents an hour increase for New York’s minimum wage workers amounts to only a 1.4 percent raise, well below the 4 percent general rate of inflation since January 2007 and even further below the nearly 7 percent inflation rise in the New York City metropolitan area.”

Remember that fact and, then, take into account what we now face in America: an effective unemployment and underemployment rate of more than 16 percent.

Yes, 16 percent. Not the 9.5 percent that the we mostly hear about. The typical number the media reports--the Labor Department’s U-3 rate--excludes people who have given up looking for work and people who only have part-time work because they can’t find full-time work (part-time workers are counted as “employed” even if they only work ONE HOUR A WEEK).

And, thanks to the glories of the “flexible” free-market, the economy we now live in has forced more people into part-time work--because that allows companies to hire and fire people without having to assume all those annoying things like health care and pensions for the workers.

16 percent of our fellow citizens do not have full-time, decent paying work. And that does not count those people working full-time for the minimum wage--who end up in poverty.

This is a national crisis and a national scandal. It is what I call The Audacity of Greed - feel free to join the FACEBOOK FAN PAGE.

So, when we hear the discussions about “recovery”, my reaction is this: until we know that we have returned to the concept of FULL EMPLOYMENT in the country (which no one seems to talk about) and until we begin to see people working for above-poverty level wages and until people can join unions in large numbers so they can have some power in the marketplace (not just to raise wages and benefits but to have DIGNITY AND RESPECT on the job), there will be no recovery.

Why are we not marching, by the millions, to protest what is effectively the robbing of working Americans?

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 07/24/09 •
Section Dying America
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