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HP plans 6,000 layoffs

Hewlett-Packard reported a 3 percent drop in revenue as its major lines of business continued to be hammered by the global recession. It also became the latest technology vendor to resort to layoffs in order to cut costs. Over the next 12 months, HP will lay off about 2 percent of its work force, or about 6,000 employees. The company remained profitable, however, posting a profit of 1.7 billion billion dollars on sales of 27.4 billion.

Pirate Bay judge may be pro-copyright

The Swedish court of appeals is investigating allegations that the judge who handled a case involving the Pirate Bay bit-torrent tracking site had a conflict interest. The allegations of a conflict of interest were leveled at the district court judge Tomas Norström because of his membership in pro-copyright organizations. Last month, Norström handed down a guilty verdict against the operators of the Pirate Bay site, sentencing them to a year in prison and ordering them to pay damages of 30 million Swedish kronor (US$3.9 million) for their role in enabling people to find and download music and films without authorisation from copyright holders.

Gmail gains auto-translation

Gmail users can now automatically translate messages they receive into 41 languages with a new feature introduced by Google Labs. The company hopes the service will simplify communications among people who speak different languages by letting them compose messages in their native tongue. It can be used by individual Gmail users, and those who use it as part of the Apps collaboration and communication suite for organizations. Google acknowledges that its machine translation technology isn’t perfect, but maintains that, even if mistakes creep into the text, recipients should be able to get the gist of a message.

Sun plans online app store

Sun Microsystems plans to launch an online app store for PC users, piggybacking it on the software that automatically updates the Java software running on most PCs. The company already has deals with Microsoft and Google to distribute browser toolbars through this channel, but now hopes to make more money from it by distributing other PC applications. The service, codenamed Project Vector, could reach a billion customers, CEO Jonathan Schwartz wrote on his blog. That would dwarf the tens of millions of users of Apple’s iPhone Apps store.

And those are the top stories from the IDG Global IT News Update, brought to you by the IDG News Service. I’m Peter Sayer in Paris. Join us again later for more news from the world of technology.

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