May 31 - Planned job cuts at U.S. firms hit an eight-month high with the computer industry topping the list. Sasha Salama reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS 4:3 MATERIAL Hewlett-Packard's huge layoffs propelled the computer industry to top the list of job cuts so far in 2012. That follows a trend of rising layoffs across corporate America, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Computer companies have laid off more than 32,000 employees, followed by transportation and consumer products companies. Analysts say the computer industry is not a victim of the sluggish economy as much as it is simply trying to keep up with innovations in technology. Frank Gillett is Vice-President of Forrester Research. SOUNDBITE: FRANK GILLETT, VICE-PRESIDENT AND PRINCIPAL ANALYST, FORRESTER RESEARCH (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The disruptive changes in technologies, like tablets, like cloud computing, are affecting the kinds of products that people buy and how these big vendors need to rearrange themselves in order to better compete." Take Apple's iPad. Ever since it was introduced two years ago, its growing popularity has been eroding sales of personal computers. Apple's competitors have tried to dream up their own kind of tablet, using the android operating system from Google. But analysts say these tablets haven't sold very well for anyone except Amazon and its Kindle. Attention is now focused on Microsoft which is rolling out an upgrade to its Windows operating system. Analysts caution, however, that it will take some time before computer makers like Dell and Hewlett-Packard can come up with a new, and successful, product to compete with the iPad. SOUNDBITE: FRANK GILLETT, VICE-PRESIDENT AND PRINCIPAL ANALYST, FORRESTER RESEARCH (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We think it will take them another year, until literally 2014, before all the software and the new applications and the new hardware all kind of come together and really click in the marketplace." And until the big computer makers do see something click, analysts say there could be more volatility and layoffs ahead. Sasha Salama, Reuters.