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On Tuesday Hewlett Packard CEO Mark Hurd HP promised that the layoffs wouldn't affect HP's R&D. The changes would be "minimal", he said.

But HP has confirmed it is closing DEC's old Cambridge Research Laboratory, and axing three projects in Palo Alto. A spokesman told The Register that around 70 of the 700 Labs positions would go, "in line with the ten per cent reduction announced Tuesday" in what amounts to a significant restructuring of the Labs.

Prestige old lag Alan Kay, who was given a sandpit three years ago, has also departed. Kay is credited with inventing Smalltalk, was involved in the design of ARPAnet and fathered the Atari computer in the 1980s.

In Palo Alto, three projects will be axed: the Consumer Applications and Systems Lab, the Emerging Technologies Lab and Kay's Advanced Software team.

"That doesn't mean we're not interested in researching technology for consumers," said spokesman Dave Berman.

Berman said that a tier of three centers had been scrubbed from the org chart, with VP positions held by Patrick Scaglia and Kris Halvorsen eliminated. Scaglia headed the Internet and Computing Platforms center, and Halvorsen the Solutions and Services center. All projects will now report directly to Labs chief Dick Lampman, said Berman, and Halvorsen and Scaglia may find other positions within HP.

HP lost one if its most senior researchers Fred Kitson last month. The twenty year veteran was director of the Mobile and Media Lab at HP and has joined Motorola to head up its’ Applications, Content and Services Research center.

Researchers without jobs are being invited to make their case in what sounds like a round of speed dating which one source describes as "chaotic".

But help us make our own research more accurate by filling us in, here. ®

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