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ClearSpeed clears out staff

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Floating point specialist ClearSpeed has been wounded by the subprime/credit crunch meltdown. The company has laid off a large chunk of workers to save costs, as its financial services clients abandon new projects.

One source reckoned that ClearSpeed dropped about 40 per cent of its staff, including consultants. But CEO Tom Beese told us the figure is "not quite as high as that." Still, Beese confirmed that large cuts occurred in the marketing department, along with smaller cuts in the sales, finance, administration and engineering groups. All told, ClearSpeed now employs 75 people.

"It's been tough for everyone," Beese said.

Financial services companies had been one of ClearSpeed's major markets. Such companies tend to buy cutting-edge gear and need the mathematical operation boost provided by ClearSpeed's floating point accelerators.

As a result of their own failings, these financial services firms have suffered in recent months and pulled back on internal spending.

"Things look like they're going to be slower than anticipated ahead of the credit crunch," Beese told us.

Still, ClearSpeed remains optimistic about its long-term prospects with customers in the high performance computing markets eyeing accelerators that can improve the performance of large server clusters.

"I feel like we're strongly placed and on course to drive our HPC business to profitability," Beese said.

In a Jan. filing, ClearSpeed revealed that it planned to embark on a reorganization to reflect "tougher market conditions." It also reported total cash reserves of close to $38m and savings of close to $8m from the layoffs. ®

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