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It is raining outside in San Francisco. It is cold and miserable and New York Yankees could not hit their way out of a loss. I am feeling a bit down, and gloomy. This bit in Dave Burstein’s newsletter is getting me down even more. How […]

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It is raining outside in San Francisco. It is cold and miserable and New York Yankees could not hit their way out of a loss. I am feeling a bit down, and gloomy. This bit in Dave Burstein’s newsletter is getting me down even more. How many more friends will be in trouble? When will it stop?

100,000 will soon be fired in our industry, including well over 30,000 at Deutsche Telecom and tens of thousands more at Alcatel Lucent, Nokia Siemens, and AT&T BellSouth. Many of those fired, especially older folk, will never find a decent job again. Klaus Kleinfeld and other Siemens executives are giving up 5 million euros in pay increases to enhance the fund for fired ex-Siemens workers at BenQ, after a massive public outcry led by German clergy. Few other CEOs are likely to follow that example.

By Om Malik

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  1. I spoke about trends in municipal wireless broadband at The Hague Telecom Event (which is considered to be THE annual telecom networking event in the Netherlands) on Sept. 20 and at the end of my presentation, the moderator asked me, “What advice would you give the audience? What message do you have for them?”

    I said, “You should all be polishing up your CVs and looking for another job outside the telecom industry, or you should simply start your own businesses.” It’s been very clear to me for years that the telecom industry is shrinking and changing dramatically. And I’m not even a telecom expert! Surely all these people sitting in these companies could see it coming and my question is why had they not bailed out earlier or at least prepared for this eventuality. Very odd.

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  2. Yanks in 4!

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  3. Telecom Industry Layoffs…

    A couple of disturbing articles on layoffs in the mobile industry today. The first, are gloomy predictions published on Om Malik’s blog :

    100,000 will soon be fired in our industry, including well over 30,000 at Deutsche Telecom and tens of thousands…

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  4. It is possible (likely?) that this is the typical “big layoffs get big headlines but hiring by thousands of small businesses goes unnoticed” syndrome that is a common ailment in Washington, New York, and most of Europe. If one merely read headlines one would have to conclude that overall employment in the US has dropped over the past two decades when in fact it has increased by massive numbers. Europe is, of course, another story.

    Other than working off the boneheaded excesses of the late 90s, there is absolutely no macroeconomic reason that telecom should not be a ripe sector for investment and employment. This does not mean that century-old telecom conglomerates aren’t still faced with wrenching adjustments. But with several billion folks on the planet still clamoring for real broadband so they can upload crappy home videos to YouTube, telecom (at least the access piece of it) is doing fine.

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  5. Kevin Walsh’s comments are well stated. One of my thoughts — how can anyone feel sorry for people who think that their job is safe for years and so they don’t spend the time to educate themselves on new technology (e.g. VOIP)? These people who are about the be laid off, have they not been reading Om Malik’s blog to keep up with trends? Change is forever — that is one constant you CAN count on! So sink or swim.

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  6. I think this is a fairly classic case of creative destruction, as the “old” industry is restructured and the new has not yet taken shape.

    There is a wonderful book, called “The Victorian Internet” and it describes how telegraphy had 3 distinct phases – and then was finally destroyed by telephony. The parallels are instructive.

    Also, a huge number of people left the Telcos in the “dot.com” wave, and the bulk have not gone back – but they are still mostly toiling in the fields growing small internet and mobile businesses. I wonder where the best talent is?

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