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Intel to cut 12,000 workers by 2017 as focus shifts

Intel announced that it will be laying off about 12,000 employees, or about 11 percent of its total workforce, as it deals with the continued decline in PC sales and refocuses its efforts, moving toward cloud computing and “smart” consumer electronics devices, or Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

CES Keynote Speaker Brian Krzanich Intel CESThe move comes on the heels of the loss of key company executives, namely Client Computing Group senior vice president Kirk Skaugen and Internet of Things general manager Douglas Davis.

The layoffs will continue through the middle of 2017, with a combination of “voluntary and involuntary departures,” as the chipmaker plans to consolidate its worldwide offices. The company also said that it will be embarking on a “re-evaluation of (its) programs.” Intel made no mention of where most of the job cuts will take place, but the Santa Clara-based firm has U.S. facilities in California, Arizona, and Oregon, and international facilities in China, Ireland, Israel, and Mexico.

“We are evolving from a PC company to one that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices,” read a statement prepared by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.

Analysts believe Intel’s moves, which followed a disappointing first-quarter earnings report that fell short of Wall Street forecasts, come as no surprise.

“Unfortunately, a reduction in the workforce was long overdue,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Betsy Van Hees. “It’s a pivotal time for the company, and it’s critical that they align the organization to support the new business model.”

Another expert, economist William Conerly, agreed, telling Seeking Alpha that the move should have taken place years ago.

“The sudden, massive layoff looks (at least to this outsider) as if management had been in denial or had failed to take the unpleasant steps it knew it needed to take,” he said. “Intel is a survivor, with lots of really talented people. … But this announcement is a sign that management is not as sharp as it should be,”

Intel reported $13.7 billion in revenue and earnings per share of $0.42, which fell below forecasts of $13.8 billion in revenue and $0.48 earnings per share from a pool of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

At the present, Intel still relies on PC sales for approximately two-thirds of its revenue, which has put it under great pressure to shift its focus elsewhere. And with PC sales still trending downwards, the company has been putting more attention on cloud computing, where profit margins are higher than they are in the PC chip space.

“They’ve done an excellent job over the last several years moving the needle away from PCs,” said S&P Global Market Intelligence analyst Angelo Zino. “We expect that to continue. In the immediate term, look for more aggressive moves on the cost-cutting side of things.”

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