Tough Year In Tech: 10 Crushing 2012 Layoffs

The Axe Falls

Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas summed it up in mid-July, with a report stating that in the first half of 2012, layoffs in the technology sector hit their highest levels since 2009, with more than 51,000 planned cuts announced by the end of June.

Not surprisingly, the layoffs are hitting major tech companies experiencing major corporate restructuring or strategic changes. Here's a look at some of the announced layoff plans from those companies, going back to the beginning of the year -- the slow recovery of the tech sector writ large.


As Challenger Gray & Christmas noted, HP's planned 27,000-plus layoffs lead the pack in terms of major reductions in headcount. HP made the announcement in May, saying it would eliminate about 8 percent of its workforce over the next two years and look for ways to prop up the flagging Autonomy software business it bought last summer.


Cisco appeared to have finished off a major restructuring last year, parting with more than 13,000 jobs through a series of layoffs, early retirement packages and asset sales. But in mid-July, Cisco confirmed an additional 1,300 planned job cuts -- about 2 percent of its global workforce -- thought to be concentrated in its wide area application services (WAAS), collaboration, Linksys and consulting businesses.


What a year for Yahoo so far: two major CEO changes, a whole lot of public relations black eyes, and yes, job cuts. Back in April, Yahoo cut about 2,000 employees across all the major units of the company, but Yahoo's overall slim down is expected to mean more cuts as new CEO Marissa Mayer (left) gets her feet wet.


The pain has been frequent and unrelenting for once-proud handset giant Nokia in the past two years. Back in February, Nokia said it would eliminate some 4,000 jobs across three of its manufacturing sites, an expected move following what was then a company loss of $1.3 billion in its fiscal fourth quarter. More potential cuts are expected as beleaguered CEO Stephen Elop (left) attempts to rejigger Nokia's corporate strategy.


In a long-expected move, Google earlier this month confirmed it would axe about 4,000 jobs from its Motorola Mobility subsidiary, representing about 20 percent of Motorola's 20,000-employee headcount. In a Form 8-K filed with the SEC, Google said more than two-thirds of the cuts would occur outside of the U.S. and that some 90 former Motorola facilities would be closed down as Google looked to refocus Motorola Mobility on higher-end mobile devices.


Logitech's financial struggles haven't been as frequently documented as some of the other tech companies orders of magnitude bigger, but the $2.3 billion peripherals king is still emerging from a bruising fiscal 2012. In June, Logitech said it would cut about 450 jobs -- roughly 13 percent of its global workforce -- as part of a plan to trim $80 million from its annual operating budget.


It's been tough times at Sony, which in April said it would slash about 6 percent of its global workforce -- about 10,000 employees -- behind an effort called "One Sony," to refocus the company around its digital imaging, gaming and mobile businesses. Kazuo Hirai (left), who became Sony's CEO earlier that month, said Sony will take a roughly $926 million restructuring charge in its fiscal 2012 as a result.


Panasonic cut headcount heavily last year, announcing in April 2011 plans to eliminate 17,000 jobs over two years. News of more cuts has crept up this year; in May, Panasonic fielded reports that it would trim another 7,000 at its corporate headquarters in Japan.

Progress Software

Down in the niche markets of the software channel, Progress Software said in April it would divest 10 product lines and lay off 10-15 percent of its global workforce. That was the result of a five-month review undertaken by new CEO and President Jay Bhatt (left) following his joining the company in December 2011.

Research In Motion

For RIM, the year's been grim. Once the smartphone market's reigning superpower with its line of BlackBerry devices, RIM has suffered setback after setback trying to turn its fortunes around in the face of Apple and Android competition. RIM early this year warned of workforce reductions, and in mid-June, several reports held that those reductions had already begun, in small batches of 10-or-so employees. New reports in August stated that RIM will eliminate some 3,000 other jobs this month.