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A roundup of the latest high-tech news “Hot off the Wire” from The Associated Press and Local Tech Wire:
• MySpace braces for redesign losses
LOS ANGELES – The MySpace redesign set to launch in mid-October may be so jarring that the social networking site could lose members at first.
That’s according to Jon Miller, the chief digital officer of MySpace parent company News Corp.
Miller says the overhaul marks a “full swing of the bat.” He was speaking Tuesday at a conference hosted by entertainment and media news website TheWrap.
He said, “I can’t see how it doesn’t shed some people initially.”
News Corp. has been struggling to turn around the site, which has lost ground to Facebook and Twitter. In the most recent quarter, the segment responsible for MySpace lost $174 million, mostly due to lower search and advertising revenue.
MySpace already revamped its home page in August to lay groundwork for the fall overhaul.
• Adobe cuts revenue forecast
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE) posted a 69 percent jump in quarterly net income Tuesday but its shares tumbled after the software company said its revenue in the current quarter would be less than what Wall Street expected.
Analysts cautioned investors not to read too much about the broader economy into Adobe’s numbers, saying the company’s niche software for creative professionals doesn’t make it a good proxy for the technology sector as a whole.
Adobe’s adjusted earnings and revenue for its fiscal third quarter that ended Sept. 3 surpassed analysts’ expectations.
The company said it saw some weakness in its U.S. education segment and its Japanese creative business during the period due to the difficult economy, and this pulled its revenue guidance for the fiscal fourth quarter below what investors were hoping for.
CEO Shantanu Narayen told investors that, although the company is experiencing a “couple of speed bumps,” overall Adobe is well positioned to take advantage of the ongoing expansion of digital content that’s being consumed on phones, computers and TVs.
• One of top eBay’s execs is leaving
SAN FRANCIS CO – One of eBay’s (Nasdaq: EBAY) top executives is stepping down, leaving a void in the e-commerce company’s largest division, which includes the namesake auction website.
Lorrie Norrington, the president of eBay Marketplaces, is leaving for personal reasons, eBay Inc. said Tuesday. EBay said it will look outside the company for her replacement.
Norrington, 50, spent two years at the helm of marketplaces, the division that includes eBay.com and numerous other e-commerce sites. She joined eBay Inc. in 2005 when eBay bought
Shopping.com, a comparison-shopping company that had just named her CEO, for $634 million.
The announcement comes at a time when San Jose-based eBay is trying to improve its flagship website to lure and retain more shoppers. In recent years, the company has tried such things as changing its search system and lowering the upfront fees it charges sellers. EBay credited Norrington for both adjustments.
RBC Capital Markets analyst Stephen Ju said that Norrington’s sudden departure is not a good thing for eBay.
Remaining executives including Donahoe will have more work running marketplaces for the time being — and that’s if eBay’s explanation for her departure is taken at face value.
“The other interpretation is that she might be held responsible for what the management team admitted will be a slower turnaround than they originally thought,” Ju said.
• Microsoft increases its dividend
REDMOND, Wash. – Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MFST) said Tuesday it is raising its quarterly dividend for the first time in two years in a move that will return more of the software maker’s nearly $37 billion cash hoard to its shareholders.
The increase signals Microsoft is feeling more confident that the economy won’t lapse back into recession.
The severity of the last downturn prompted Microsoft to resort to the largest layoffs in its 35-year history while keeping its dividend unchanged for the longest stretch since it started making the quarterly payments to shareholders in 2004.
Tuesday’s announcement marks the fifth time that Microsoft has raised its dividend.
With the latest increase, investors who own Microsoft stock as of Nov. 18 will be get 16 cents per share. That’s a 23 percent increase from the 13 cents a share that Microsoft had been paying for the past eight quarters.
The new rate translates into an annual dividend yield of 2.5 percent, based on Microsoft’s current market value. The company’s shares fell 28 cents to close at $25.15 Tuesday before plans for the higher dividend were disclosed, then rose 19 cents in extended trading.