AT&T Partners With ChaCha, Lays Off 12000

December 4th, 2008 at 12:00 am

at&T logo

AT&T, the United States’ largest telecommunications company has made a partnership with search engine ChaCha to provide its users with a voice search product, 1-800-2-CHACHA.  Also, in an unrelated twist of events, AT&T is laying off 12,000 employees due to the economic crisis.

First, the deal with ChaCha is quite simple, Telco and search engine partner up for a voice enabled search.  Users will call the 800 number and ask anything.  The product will then provide users with answers through both voice and SMS.  The latter will probably be the popular option.

"The two companies also will work together to further enhance ChaCha’s free mobile-answers service and explore opportunities in both text and voice ad-based services. ChaCha will continue to provide free answers to any question – anytime, anywhere – to and from any activated wireless phone. Questions can cover any topic, from science to culture to sports and more."

"AT&T continues to look for new ways to make its voice and local search services tailored to the needs of today’s consumer – in the voice space specifically, beyond just traditional name and number searches," said Susan Johnson, senior vice president of AT&T Customer Information Services. "Our work with ChaCha provides a great opportunity – really, another vehicle – to put information and answers right at people’s fingertips." [News Release]

Second and probably the more disturbing piece of news, AT&T is laying off 12,000 employees.  This move has nothing to do with the ChaCha deal.  Anyway,  it is again due to the economic crisis the country and world is facing.  The reduction of jobs as usual is for teh company to cut costs and streamline their operations.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) today announced a planned reduction of approximately 12,000 jobs, or about 4 percent of the company’s total workforce, citing economic pressures, a changing business mix and a more streamlined organizational structure.

Associated with these job reductions which will occur in December and throughout 2009, AT&T will take a charge of approximately $600 million in the fourth quarter of 2008 to pay severance to affected employees.[News Release]

The laid off employees are promised their benefits and everything else in accordance with management policies and  union  agreements.