Modern News: Facts Are Not Required

TimesOnline: Microsoft poised to announce job losses

Cheers for not fact checking. I mean, it’s not all bunk – yes, the Zune 30 had a Leap Year related bug and yes, Microsoft is going to be at CES… the rest? Various levels of bunk – someone can’t even handle simple date math.

Let’s look at it one section at a time…

Before I get into this, let me state what should be obvious: I’m not speculating on whether or not there will be layoffs because I have absolutely no idea on it. What I am pointing out here is that these guys don’t know either yet they’re willing to post their information as fact. This is what makes them inaccurate and – IMHO – irreponsible.

That said, the article is in italics.

Microsoft is preparing to announce the first widescale layoffs in its 32-year history, with up to 15,000 jobs at risk, according to some predictions.

Speculation about job cuts was triggered by a report from Fudzilla, the technology blog site, which said that employees had been told that the software group was “readying major layoffs to its worldwide operations” on January 15.

That prompted a flurry of internet commentary, with estimates of planned redundancies varying from

10 to 17 per cent of the company’s 91,000 employees worldwide. MSN, the online division, is expected to be heavily affected.

Some predictions? It’s one prediction that everyone on the fuckin’ globe keeps on repeating (and the original posting didn’t mention MSN, IIRC.) It’s not news. And mind you that I don’t know if there are layoffs coming at any time. Either way, they didn’t even fact check the date! Microsoft was founded in 1975: 34 years, bay-bee.

The news came as the company was forced to apologise [yes, I know it’s spelled wrong but it’s a quote] for an embarrassing hiccup with its Zune digital music player. A bug in the device’s internal clock in the original 30-gigabyte version failed to cope with the last day of the leap year and thousands of owners were left with a frozen screen on December 31.

Microsoft said in a statement that the problem would fix itself: “The issue should be resolved over the next 24 hours as the time change moves to January 1, 2009. We expect the internal clock on the Zune 30GB devices will automatically reset.”

I have a Zune 30 in my house still: yes it auto-corrected. However, while we did apologize for the bug and resulting outage, did anyone else notice that the Toshiba Gigabeat 30GB had the exact same issue? Right, it was a driver issue… and as with most things driver releated, the end product gets the blame. Not making an excuse for it – I am in Test after all – but people blaming an OS for a shitty driver has always been a hot button be it Windows 3.1, Windows 7, or OSX. Just give credit where credit is due. Either way, the “news of the layoff” didn’t come from us and it’s timing was coincidental – the Times spins it to make it sound like two press releases were issued at the same time…

Steve Ballmer, the company’s chief executive, is to speak at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which opens next week, where he is expected to release a new version of the Windows operating system.

Microsoft’s second quarter results are due on January 22.

This one they get right: Ballmer will be at CES and our Q2 results are due on the 22nd. Oh, wait, what’s this? We’re releasing a new version of the Windows operating system? Uh, the M3 release was just at PDC – we haven’t even had a public beta yet. What the hell are they talking about?

Sad day when news websites have to be picked apart as carefully as spam and phishing emails…

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