Sybase, the embattled database company, has laid off almost 10% of its staff in an attempt to return to profit this year.
The company, which used to be number two in the database market, made a $55 million (#33.5 million) loss last year. Now it has laid off almost 600 employees, mainly in its Californian headquarters and some in its overseas divisions.
The company also split its CEO position between current incumbent Mitch Kertzman and John Chen, previously chief operating officer.
Sybase refused to say exactly how many jobs would go in the UK. Colin Tenwick, Sybase's UK general manager, would not disclose which division of the company is firing staff. He said: "It is imperative that the changes we're making guarantee a profit."
While Tenwick insisted that Sybase's UK division "had its best performance yet last year and will only suffer a single figure staff cutback", he admitted that the company has to refocus from "databases towards Internet, mobile computing and data warehousing activities".
"We don't perceive ourselves as a database company," he claimed. "Sybase is not just a single product line company."
However, Mitch Kramer, an analyst from Patricia Seybold Group in the US, said the layoffs will set the company's recovery back several quarters.
"People will resume asking whether Sybase should be their database vendor," he predicted.
Sybase claimed its fall into the red is due mostly to the accounting scandal which forced it to restate its accounts and sack the management team of its Japanese subsidiary, but industry watchers feel there is more to it.
UK OLAP expert, Nigel Pendse, commented: "Microsoft has been growing at the expense of Sybase since it started selling its SQL Server. Sybase has made more technical progress with its product but Micro-soft's version is cheaper."
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