Microsoft's Phone Biz Feels Brunt of Latest Round of Layoffs

Today's topics include cuts at Microsoft, a disruption of United Airlines flights, Apple pushing for packaging changes from third-party vendors and a report on how attackers impact Google search results.

Following weeks of talk about "tough choices" ahead for Microsoft, CEO Satya Nadella announced July 8 that the Redmond, Wash., tech giant is in the midst of eliminating more than 6.5 percent of the company's workforce, or 7,800 positions. As of March 31, 118,584 employees worked at Microsoft.

The company's finances will be affected by a planned $7.6 billion impairment charge and a restructuring charge of up to $850 million related to the acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Services businesses. The deal, completed in April 24, was worth approximately $7 billion at the time.

All U.S. flights on United Airlines were grounded for about two hours early on July 8 due to what the airline called a "network connectivity issue" that kept airplanes out of the skies. The outage was reported by the airline to the Federal Aviation Administration about 8 a.m. EDT, which led to a ground stop that grounded the airline's mainline jets. The stoppage did not affect the smaller aircraft that are operated by regional affiliates. By about 10 a.m. EDT, the airline reported to the FAA that its flights were again being restored.

Apple wants to streamline and standardize the appearance of product packages in its Apple Stores by having third-party vendors use new packaging that has been designed in cooperation with the company.The push to standardize product packaging for customers was revealed in a July 7 article by Silicon Angle, which said that the move is being made over the coming weeks and months.

Getting a top ranking in Google's search engine is supposed to be an organic task, with the best content ranking highest, but according to a new research report from security vendor Sophos, attackers are using cloaked PDF files to influence Google's search results. The cloaked files may include malware and links to malicious sites.

Maxim Weinstein, security adviser at Sophos, explained that SophosLabs researcher Jason Zhang first noticed the cloaked PDF files at the beginning of June. The PDF files are full of different words that are intended to help influence search engine ranking. Weinstein noted that some are related to foreign exchange and investment terms and lead to a binary trading broker.

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