RealTime IT News

Sun to Slash 6,000 Jobs

NEW YORK -- Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ: JAVA) said on Friday it will cut 5,000 to 6,000 jobs, as the economic crisis compounds the company's struggles with depressed demand for its high-end business computers.

It said the job cuts represent 15 to 18 percent of its workforce, and are part of a broader restructuring plan it has undertaken in hopes of saving $700 million to $800 million annually.

The Santa Clara, California-based company expects to incur total charges in the range of $500 million to $600 million over the next 12 months in connection with the plan, which also includes realigning its software division. Rich Green, who ran the software division, is leaving the company.

Shares of Sun were down about 2 percent in pre-market trade, after closing at $4.08 on the Nasdaq.

The company said its software business will be split into three divisions: Application Platform Software, run by Executive Vice President Anil Gadre; Systems Platforms, run by Executive Vice President John Fowler; and Cloud Computing and Developer Platforms, run by Senior Vice President Dave Douglas.

The moves come as the economic downturn is prompting deep job cuts across a range of industries, from technology to financial services to retail. U.S. jobless claims hit a 25-year high in September, according to recent government figures.

But many of Sun's problems preceded the current economic crisis. The company has been struggling since the Internet bubble burst and demand for its computers dried up.

Shares of the company are down 98 percent since 2000, the peak of the dot-com boom, and down around 77 percent this year. This year's decline is more than double the fall in the Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC.

Lately, investors have grown frustrated with Sun's high operating expenses and failure to boost profitability. Last month, Chief Executive Jonathan Schwartz hinted the company would take more dramatic cost-cutting measures after it posted a $1.7 billion quarterly loss.

Sun's struggles have given rise to speculation that it could sell itself, or some key assets.

Southeastern Asset Management disclosed last month that it had become Sun's top investor, holding about 20 percent of its shares. The investment firm said it might go around the tech company's board to talk to "third parties" about alternatives.