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Websense sharpens the axe as sales fall

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Web filtering firm Websense is reportedly planning to lay off 5 per cent of its workforce to cut costs.

The move is a response to a slowdown in security spending during the recession. PC World reports that Websense plans to lay off 70 people from its worldwide workforce of 1,400.

In a statement, Websense confirmed it was planning to make job cuts without saying which divisions of its business would be hit or specifying a timescale.

We have been aggressively managing our expense structure during the recession without any reduction in personnel costs.

The recession has continued, and based on our outlook for the second half of the year, it is now necessary for us to take additional actions and reduce our personnel related costs globally. Out of respect for our employees, we are not prepared to provide additional details at this time.

Websense announced last week reported Q2 revenue of $79.5m and profits of $3.1 million compared with a net loss of $8.2m Q2 2008. These figures, taken in isolation, look rosy enough but the big problem for Websense is that its billings (sales) in Q2 2009 came in at $82.2m, compared to $87.3 million in Q2 2008.

A strong dollar hurt Websense's sales but other factors were also at play. Some Websense customers are either shortening the length of contracts or paying for fewer licences as their businesses shrink, resulting in knock-on effects for the software developer. This factor was only partially offset by financially healthier customers upgrading to Websense's new line of web security gateways.

Websense isn't the only security firm to cut jobs to cope with the economic downturn. Last October Symantec announced a similar 4.5 per cent headcount cull. ®

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