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Bloodiest tech industry layoffs of 2011

Cisco, RIM, Nokia among top tech companies that thinned their ranks in 2011 to boost financials, refocus

By , Network World
November 03, 2011 03:11 PM ET

Network World - Job cuts in the U.S. technology industry in 2011 are down significantly from a year ago and turnover levels in IT shops have returned to pre-recessionary levels, but that doesn’t make the tens of thousands of people in the United States who have been laid off from electronics, telecommunications and computer industry jobs feel much better.

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Cisco, HP, RIM and others have been among those cutting their workforces this year to reduce costs, refocus or eliminate overlap in the wake of buyouts. Here’s a rundown of this year’s biggest technology industry layoffs (not all in the U.S.):


Cisco Whacks 6,500 Jobs

Cisco said in July it would eliminate about 9% of its regular, full-time workforce and some 15% of those of VP level and up. Cisco is taking drastic measures to slash operating costs by about $1 billion and to return its focus to core routing and switching businesses after posting disappointing results and watching its stock tumble. CEO John Chambers called for widespread changes in an internal memo earlier this year. In April, the company said it would close down its Flip video division and fold its Umi consumer video systems into the enterprise telepresence business.

Nokia hitches wagon to Windows Phone, obliterates 3,500 Jobs

Nokia has had at least a couple of big jobs cuts in 2011, announcing in September it would cut 3,500 jobs as it restructures to align business with its plans to put its full weight behind Microsoft Windows Phone technology, moving away from Symbian. Job losses will take place at a manufacturing plant in Romania being shuttered by year end, and others will take place next year. The changes are painful, yet necessary, and will turn Nokia into a "more dynamic, nimble and efficient challenger," CEO Stephen Elop said in a statement.  

These recently announced cuts are on top of another 4,000 cuts announced earlier this year. In April, Nokia said it will outsource Symbian activities to Accenture, transferring 2,800 employees to the company in the process, and cutting about 4,000 jobs.


RIM Axes 2,000 Workers

RIM announced in July it was slashing its workforce by 11%. RIM says its layoffs will eliminate redundancies and focus on realigning people with growth opportunities for the company. In its announcement, RIM emphasized a series of management moves that combined with the layoffs "are intended to create greater alignment of the organization and to streamline RIM’s operations in order to better position the company for future growth and profitability."

RIM’s rough year has included losing ground to Apple, Google and even Microsoft in the smartphone market, a poorly received entry into the tablet computer market with the PlayBook, a number of product delays, and an amazingly badly timed BlackBerry network outage just as Apple was announcing its new iPhone 4S.  


Motorola Trims Down by 1,500 Jobs

Motorola Mobility ended October by revealing it will lay off 800 people, the latest in a string of worker reductions at the handset maker, as it prepares to become part of Google. The 800 people include staff at its mobile device business and its home business, as well as some who perform corporate functions, Motorola said. The company has already let go around 700 employees this year.

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