Sun to keep hiring in chip division

While Sun Microsystems Inc. announced it would slash its workforce by 9 percent less than two weeks ago, the company vowed to continue hiring in its processor division over the next nine months, an official said Tuesday.

Sun has been punished by slowing hardware sales in the U.S. and elsewhere. As a result of lower than expected earnings for its first fiscal quarter, the company will cut around 3,900 of its 43,200 employees by year end. Sun was one of the last among its peers -- such as IBM Corp. and Dell Computer Corp. -- to announce layoffs due to faltering sales in this time of economic downturn. "Even with this economy the processor product group is not affected and is still growing," said David Yen, vice president and general manager of the Sun Processor Products Group, during a speech Tuesday at the Microprocessor Forum event held here.

Yen didn't specify how many new people Sun plans to hire in its processor product group. He did say that the company wants to increase the headcount in that division to about 1,400 workers within the next nine months and that the company is actively recruiting at this event. He didn't say what the group's head count is now.

Sun works with Texas Instruments Inc. on the UltraSPARC processor and positions the chip as one of the key building blocks for its server line.

The moves to keep building out the company's processor division underscores much of what Sun Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Scott McNealy has preached about the importance of research and development resources, even in a tough economic climate.

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