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AT&T plans to layoff 12,000 employees. The telco giant claims that a decline in landlines and a lack of growth in broadband subscribers has significantly cut into their business. An analyst at UBS believes that AT&T will cut spending in 2009 by 10-15% from the $20 billion spent in 2008.

Viacom is cutting 7% of its work force. Besides cutting 850 jobs, Viacom will take on $450 million in 4Q asset write-downs. The company, which continues to deal with major ratings declines at its most valuable networks, will also implement a salary freeze for 2009.

CEA reissued its holiday forecast yesterday and cut its sales projections. The Consumer Electronics Association, which predicted sales would increase by 3.5%, now believes sales will be equal to last years. While unit shipments of televisions, a key indicator, have been up, the amount of revenue generated by sales fell 3%.

Microsoft named former Yahoo! executive Qi Lu head of its Internet division. Qi Lu is a tech-centric executive, a computer scientist with Ph.D. and more than 20 patents, rather than an advertising and marketing exec, who Microsoft believes can help them compete with Google.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has canceled the company’s plan to let employees cash out of their shares early. The original plan, announced in August, would have allowed employees to sell up to $900,000 or 10% of their stock holdings, whichever was less. The retraction of the stock sale is a good indicator that Facebook’s $15 billion valuation is now a relic from the past.

Plus, today’s consulting question, “Why is Amazon collecting data and giving it away for free?” Shelly has the answer on today’s MediaBytes.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit shellypalmer.com.



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