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Oracle lied: Database giant is axing hundreds of staff – at least 450 in its hardware div

Larry's biz swings the axe after denials and silence

By Shaun Nichols, 23 Jan 2017

Oracle will cut hundreds of jobs from its embattled hardware division in California, a move the tech goliath had previously denied.

About 450 people from the company's hardware operation in Santa Clara will get pink slips, according to a letter from Oracle to the California Employment Development Department seen by The Mercury News.

The filing, which is required by law when organizations shed staff, is due to be published online by the employment department later this week.

"Oracle is refocusing its Hardware Systems business, and for that reason, has decided to lay off certain of its employees in the Hardware Systems Division,” the letter reads.

We're told the axed staffers – who include hardware and software engineers as well as managers and admin workers – will get benefits and pay for the next 60 days. We understand that American and foreign nationals are all hit: essentially, if you're on the wrong project, you're out of a job.

Those 450 or so laid-off workers are unlikely to be the only ones dumped by Oracle in this latest round of redundancies: it is rumored there are hundreds more around the world who have been let go, adding up to potentially 1,700 workers heading for the exit. We know that just before Christmas 71 employees at Oracle's site in Austin, Texas, who were working on Project RAPID, were shown the door.

The cuts are not a surprise. Oracle's hardware branch has been suffering from dwindling sales. Last week, word broke that Solaris 12 had been wiped from Oracle's product roadmap. And in December, co-CEO Safra Catz somewhat cryptically told investors and analysts: "We are proactively evaluating our expense infrastructure needed to support the on-premises hardware business in light of on-premises hardware revenue declines."

Now we know for sure that "evaluating our expense infrastructure" is next-generation corporate droid speak for "laying people off."

After hearing various downsizing rumors from industry insiders at the end of last year, The Register asked Oracle to confirm or deny if it will lay off staff, particularly those in its hardware, SPARC processor and Solaris divisions. Oracle PR denied there would be any changes to head counts, SPARC and Solaris, and stonewalled journalists when pressed for more information.

That facade came crashing down this week when employment laws mandated that Oracle notify the state of the looming cuts, and when a roadmap sans Oracle 12 emerged. Completely coincidentally, Catz is an advisor to President Donald Trump, who is adept at "alternative facts" aka lying.

Meanwhile, Oracle is battling a legal challenge from the US Department of Labor over its hiring and pay policies. The DoL has accused Oracle of paying women and minorities less than their white male counterparts in some cases, and in others favoring Indian applicants over other groups when hiring.

Should Oracle lose the case, it risks losing its lucrative government supply contracts.

Oracle has maintained that the complaint, filed just days before the DoL transitioned to the new Oracle-friendly administration, "is politically motivated, based on false allegations, and wholly without merit." ®

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