Intel’s layoffs that aren’t layoffs

Clear as mud

Intel - logoIntel released a statement in response to their rumored layoffs.

There are no layoffs. There are currently no activities underway that could be construed as a layoff. As we said in our year-end report, we expect to end 2013 with a flat headcount. Beyond that we have no further comment on speculation based on rumors.

A bit more has come to light about the Intel layoffs story from earlier in the week, namely where things are targeted. Some parts are clearer, others more murky, and Intel’s denials are not adding much clarity to the matter.

As we said earlier, SemiAccurate is aware of what looks like layoffs at at least two Intel sites. The numbers our sources claim matched exactly what several other sources told us was going to happen in at least two other parts of the company. This was not just numbers but also the suggested progression from voluntary early retirement to layoffs. Intel responded to our requests for comment with the following statement.

There are no layoffs. There are currently no activities underway that could be construed as a layoff. As we said in our yearend report, we expect to end 2013 with a flat headcount. Beyond that we have no further comment on speculation based on rumors.

With a little more digging, some things have become much clearer while a few others are now less so. Of these, the biggest problem is simple, we can not as of this writing verify any other layoffs at the two other divisions of the company that we heard were in line for similar actions. The good news is that at least for now, whatever happened appears confined to multiple sites in a single area of the company.

The bad news is that those sites were responsible for high end server products, Xeon-EX and Itanium along with their respective support chips, as was a specific name we can not publish. At least a portion of the people no longer at Intel were chip designers, not exactly jobs that you would expect to go away without a project being canceled. Once again, SemiAccurate can not find anything that dropped off the roadmap other than Kittson not being shrunk to 22nm from 32nm, but that doesn’t mean something wasn’t cut.

Last is a bit of clarity on whether or not there are layoffs going on. Intel is quite adamant that no such thing is happening at the company, nor are there any impending layoffs. How can that possibly be the case if SemiAccurate says that there are layoffs? Both can’t be right, they are effectively complete opposites. That said, there is one way that both sides can be correct, but is is kind of a technicality.

One thing our sources have made clear is that there is a step between voluntary early retirement and layoffs, the nearly mythical redeployment. In redeployments, a company will tell their employees their jobs are longer required but not make them redundant. They are then given the option to move to another part of the company be it in the same locale or elsewhere. If they don’t find some place they fit, that is when the layoffs begin.

In this case, our sources said some workers could have been offered redeployment, but because Intel is said to have no place for them, they have no other jobs to be hired at. Hiring is an essential part of preferential hiring, so if you re not hiring… If this is the case, then we 100% agree with Intel that there are absolutely no layoffs, but that is just a technicality.

SemiAccurate is quite positive that a fair number of workers at multiple Intel sites are no longer employed as of last Thursday, call it layoffs, redeployment to nowhere, or whatever flowery terms your thesaurus can spit out. The questions about whether this will happen to other divisions in the short term, what the targets are, and what if any projects went with them are still not nailed down to our satisfaction. We will keep digging until we get much better answers, and we will update you as new information comes in.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also a council member with Gerson Lehman Group. FullyAccurate