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EMC preps (limited) layoffs

Company-wide efficiency drive

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EMC is responding to the deepening recession by laying off a small number of employees from around the company.

Up until now, EMC has been focussed on controlling indirect spend - travel costs, for example - but the global recession is having its effect. In early November, CEO Joe Tucci sent around an e-mail saying that although EMC had had good results from controlling indirect spend, the increasingly-challenging environment meant that the time had now come to look at people spend as well.

My understanding, from a person familiar with the situation, is that Tucci laid out six principles guiding EMC's activities, and these are:-

1. Maintain external focus, staying closer than ever to customers.

2. Gain share in top markets.

3. Retain, attract, and develop key talent.

4. Sharpen discipline on costs.

5. Sustain and extend product technology, assuring an enhanced competitive advantage.

6. Stay close and communicate frequently.

I'm told that the email went on to say that he had requested his EVPs to look across the entire business for efficiencies. EMC will try extremely hard to keep job losses to a minimum and will take whatever steps in it can, in terms of severance deals for example, to mitigate the effects on the people laid off. Tucci wants everyone in the company to go the extra mile to help in taking the internal actions necessary without reducing the strong focus on customers required for them to meet their goals.

So far the storage supplier world has not been hit by any tier one firm laying off people. Quantum is laying off 180 employees and Pillar let 150 people go at the end of October. Other suppliers affected by the recession have preexisting stresses and include Overland Storage and Plasmon.

The EMC numbers have not been quantified but several sources say that the layoffs are small and modest in quantity.

This EMC activity tallies with other measures being taken by Cisco and other large IT companies as the recession looks likely to be longer and deeper than originally anticipated. It is in line with the server sales alarm calls being raised by IDC.

The thought on every storage vendor's mind right now is that if the recession can affect broad-based, huge, and well-run EMC, even in this relatively small scale way, then no one is immune. ®

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