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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

IBM Microelectornics has become the latest unit of Big Blue to experience the vendor's job cuts programme as it pulls back from some markets and switches its emphasis to others.

The unit, which handles the vendor's silicon production, is to cut 1,500 jobs, or 7.5% of its total workforce.

A spokesman for the company said the chip industry as a whole had been going through "some tough times". While the company "appreciates the impact" the job
cuts will have on individuals, he said restructuring at IBM's chip unit was less severe than other companies had experienced.

IBM microelectronics was looking to capitalize on business where it could add value he said. The company would be emphasizing its high end foundry
operations, particularly a fab in New York due to come on line later this year, which will offer customers the opportunity to exploit 0.13 micron, 300mm and
copper technologies and benefit from design assistance from IBM.

Other key areas for the company going forward would be ASICs. PowerPC would continue to key to IBM's silicon offering he said, and the firm would be looking to push the platform to other companies, he said. IBM was "still very active" in network processors, the spokesman added.

The spokesman said "some standard chip areas we'll be backing away from." However, he said the firm could not detail those areas at present.

IBM has been cutting jobs across its business units over recent weeks, hard on the heels of rampant speculation that the firm was planning a wide-ranging redundancy program. So far its services and server divisions have been hit by the cuts, which are thought to have totaled between 7,000 to 9,500. To date, the firm has resisted portraying the cuts as anything other than individual business units refocusing their resources. The company has also offloaded its hard disk business to Hitachi.

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