Cisco to cut up to 10,000 jobs, 14% of its workforce

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Cisco Systems, the largest networking-equipment company, may cut as many as 10,000 jobs (about 14 percent of its workforce) to revive profit growth. The number is not yet official; it comes from two people familiar with the plans cited by Bloomberg.

The cuts include as many as 7,000 jobs that would be eliminated by the end of August. Cisco also offered early-retirement packages to about 5,800 employees, which included one year's pay and medical benefits, and about 3,000 workers accepted the buyouts.

Cisco CEO John Chambers is reportedly slashing jobs and exiting less-profitable businesses as competitors such as Juniper Networks and Hewlett-Packard take market share from Cisco with lower-priced, simpler products. "We will provide additional detail on the cost reductions, including layoffs, on our next earnings call," a Cisco spokesperson said in a statement, referencing an earnings call scheduled for early August but declining to discuss exact job-cut figures.

Three months ago, the company announced that it would exit aspects of its consumer businesses (Flip Video) and realign the remaining parts to support four of its five key company priorities: core routing, switching/services, collaboration, architectures, and video. The move is part of a larger strategic decision to trim down the company's money-losing divisions. At the time, Cisco said it was expecting a reduction of approximately 550 employees in Q4 2010, which meant it was axing less than 1 percent of its work force.

14 percent is obviously a much more significant cut. We will follow this story closely so that we can update all those at Cisco as well as those potentially affected by their friends working there.

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