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Quick Hits: Dell to Force Employees to Take a Week's Vacation


Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

Given a choice, would you rather take 5 days of unpaid vacation and keep your job - or have no job?

Dell (DELL) has asked workers to consider taking up to 5 days of unpaid vacation in an effort to cut costs, as worldwide demand for personal computers slumps in the sour economy.

Dell has nearly completed slashing about 8,500 of 8,900 planned job cuts and has announced a worldwide hiring freeze. It's also offering voluntary severance packages. The company said it plans to achieve an annual savings of $3 billion a year in 3 years.

The job cuts are part of the company's generally successful effort to remake itself.

Dell faces increasingly stiff competition from sector leader Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and the cult-like devotion of a few to all things Apple (AAPL).

Dell reported a sharp drop in profits in its second quarter. The company said it plans to increase market share in emerging markets, such as India.

Dell is betting a good chunk of its future on "cloud computing" - or services and programs delivered over a network rather than fixed on an office computer.

Right now, Dell has its eye fixed on the bottom line. Without the job cuts and voluntary time off without pay, talk of "cloud computing" is just Never-Never Land stuff.
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