Sun begins layoffs of up to 4,400 workers

Sun Microsystems this week began laying off up to 4,400 employees in keeping with previously announced plans to reduce its worldwide workforce.

The company had said last month when it released its quarterly earnings that it planned to cut about 11 percent of its 39,000-strong workforce.

On Monday Sun started notifying U.S.-based employees affected by the job cuts. Local rules will govern the layoff process in other parts of the world, according to Diane Carlini, a Sun spokeswoman.

The reductions are based on a "needs analysis" completed by each of Sun's business units, Carlini said. She declined to say, however, which business units or regions of the world would experience most of the cuts.

"We announced these cuts during our earnings call in October," Carlini said. "It's part of our continuing efforts to return Sun to profitability."

The job cuts mark the second time in 18 months that Sun has laid off staff. Last year the company reduced its workforce by about 3,900 employees. The latest round of cuts will reduce Sun's worldwide workforce to about 35,000 employees -- roughly 20 percent less than it employed 18 months ago.

Sun will take a charge of approximately US$300 million in the second quarter of 2003 as a result of the workforce reductions, the company said when announcing its first quarter results Oct. 17th.