It looks like Intel is ending this week with a lower headcount than it started with. Rumors of impending layoffs at the company have been making the rounds for a few months, picking up frequency over the last few weeks. Lets take a look at some of what SemiAccurate has been hearing, what we know, and what is still a bit murky.
Early next week SemiAccurate will go in to a bit more detail about some other aspects of these layoffs that we’ve been stalking on the fab side for months now but today the focus is elsewhere. Unfortunately for the employees, in this case elsewhere seems to be a synonym for everywhere. The numerical targets in all of the whispers seems to be the same almost no matter which division is being discussed, 5%.
We have been tracking these layoffs from the rumors of late 2012 to the more direct hints over the last few weeks, confirmation has been difficult. Over a month ago, SemiAccurate has heard that some people were offered early retirement but there was nothing to tie it in to a company wide program. The numbers rumored from multiple sources all said the targets were 5% of the headcount irrespective of the part of Intel they came from. If those numbers were not met with voluntarily early retirement, that is when the layoffs were going to start.
Unfortunately last Thursday it went from a theoretical outcome to another sad layoff story. What we are hearing this time is that the design side of Intel had layoffs last week, but because of the confidentiality of our sources, we will not give out more details. Earlier rumors had not said the design area was specifically targeted. While we have not been able to confirm it directly with an Intel spokesperson, all of the details this last week line up exactly with reliable information from several others. If it is just coincidence, it is a very very good one, too good in our estimation.
More troubling is that Intel was totally silent about the layoffs when they happened, usually a sign that they are not over with yet. Most companies have the decency to put out a memo telling everyone that they happened and that if you are not an ex-employee now, no worries. To the best of our knowledge, no such communication was put out when the layoffs happened this last week. It may sound odd to say this but we hope that can be interpreted as Intel HR being unfeeling corporate minions because the other option is that there is more to come. Lets smile and hope HR lives up to it’s icy reputation this time.
Moving on to speculation, it looks like Intel didn’t meet numbers the nice way, so it is time to use far less nice methods. Given the nature of the three areas we have heard are targeted, it looks like the reductions are company wide. At least one of the groups has been said to be reduced by a bit more than the rest so that 5% may go up by a bit in at least one part of the company. Lets once again hope that the target in this case was reduced instead of being a floor, but more next week.
SemiAccurate is looking for confirmation of this and layoffs in other parts of Intel, we will update this story as soon as there is more information. All we can say for now is that we are very confident that there were layoffs last week and they were fairly substantial, or will be when the dust finally settles. Sorry to have to bring you bad news, and we will bring you anything more as soon as we get it, including tangential analysis in our regularly scheduled programming.S|A
Updated February 24, 2013, 7:20pm
Chuck Mulloy of Intel responded to our request for comment with the following:
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.