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HP, IBM, Cisco and Juniper among those slimming down this year
This by no means has been the bloodiest year of layoffs in the technology industry, not that this is any comfort for the thousands who lost their jobs this year. The good news is that market watchers say the economy is slowly improving and that tech-focused hiring managers expect to hire more people during this second half of the year than they did in the first. (Network World and IDG News Service contributed to this report).
HP has been among the most aggressive in making cuts over the past couple of years under CEO Meg Whitman, who has outlined a $3.5 billion cost reduction plan that is being achieved in large part through layoffs and early retirements across what had been a 350,000-person staff last year.
HP has also been cutting costs by adopting more cloud computing services. Whitman said in March that the company had reached the halfway mark in its restructuring, with 15,000 cuts to go between then and the end of next year.
HP rival IBM has also been trimming its workforce, though it’s always difficult to put a finger on just how many cuts IBM is making. An employee organization called Alliance@IBM said 1,600 employees have lost their jobs this year, with more cuts possibly on the way. Computerworld reported in June that IBM is believed to have more employees in India (112,000 as of last fall) than in the United States, where the number is said to be below 100,000.
Another big computing player, EMC, has said it will lay off more than 1,000 people this year as part of a restructuring designed to slash $80 million in spending (though the company has also said it is hiring people to focus on growth areas).
EMC subsidiary VMware announced in January it would zap some 900 jobs from its nearly 14,000-person workforce, though it is also adding about as many jobs CEO Pat Gelsinger at the time called the move a "realignment of resources" as the company sharpens its focus on software-defined data centers and hybrid cloud services.
"This includes shifting talent to new roles that support our growth opportunities as well as some targeted head count reductions," he said, according to an IDG News Service report.
Cisco, which cut its workforce by about 500 people in May. said at the time: "We routinely review our business to determine where we need to align investments based on growth opportunities. Yesterday, Cisco performed a limited restructuring that will impact less than 1 percent of our population globally.” Cisco in August said it was slicing 4,000 jobs, or 5% of its workforce, in a global restructuring intended to rebalance the business, though wouldn’t impact new acquisition Sourcefire.
Juniper Networks said in October it would be cutting its workforce by 280, or 3%, this quarter to realign resources in high growth areas. Among those losing jobs were personnel who worked on the company’s cancelled MobileNext enhanced packet core product line for mobile operators.
Communications chip maker Broadcom said in October it is cutting approximately 1,150 jobs, nearly one-tenth of its workforce, as part of a global restructuring. The company announced the cuts as it reported third-quarter revenue that was nearly flat from last year's. Broadcom said the restructuring is aimed at cutting costs as well as better focusing the company's spending on key initiatives.
Extreme Networks revealed in a January financial filing that it was cutting 13% of its workforce (about 90 jobs) as part of an effort to slash spending by $7 million per quarter. Extreme, which has struggled to grow its market share in Ethernet switching, had a similar-sized layoff 18 months before.
The year began very roughly for Nokia’s IT professionals, as more than 800 were transferred to outsourcing firms and another 300 lost their jobs. Nokia said at the time: The goal is to reduce operating costs and create an IT organization "appropriate for Nokia's current size and scope."
Motorola Mobility employees have been feeling the results of the company’s buyout by Google in 2011. Motorola Mobility said in March it was cutting 1,200 staff, in addition to 4,000 axed last year as the company refocuses on high-end devices. Earlier this month, Google acknowledged in a financial report cutting more than 5,000 jobs at Motorola Mobility last quarter. Most of the job cuts last quarter were the result of a deal between manufacturing company Flextronics and Motorola.
The Taiwan-based handset maker said in September that it would be cutting an undisclosed number of jobs at its U.S. operations. The move is meant to "streamline and optimize" the company's U.S. organization "after several years of aggressive growth," HTC said. HTC has been facing a difficult year on weak earnings that have sent its stock price tumbling. The weak financials are major change from only a couple years ago when HTC was riding high selling Android smartphones in the U.S.
You didn’t think BlackBerry was going to come away unscathed considering the year it’s had, did you? The company said in September that it lost $1 billion during its most recent quarter to write down an excess of Z10 smartphones and lay off about 4,500 staffers.
The carrier was fairly quiet about its layoffs, which appear to have numbered in the hundreds, and affected those in marketing and engineering, according to published reports.
On the consumer side, social games maker Zynga in June said it was eliminating 18% of its workforce, or about 500 jobs, in an effort to reduce costs and hone its focus on mobile. Zynga has struggled mightily since going public in 2011 and despite its high profile relationship with Facebook.