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Intel To Lay Off 1000 Managers 291

Posted by Zonk
from the cutting-the-fat dept.
sprash writes to mention a Forbes article about an Intel cost-cutting measure. In response to stiff competition from AMD, the company is laying off 1000 managerial positions. From the article: "In April, Intel reported a 38 percent drop in first-quarter profit as demand slackened for PCs and microprocessors from AMD continued to steal market share. That same month, Chief Executive Paul Otellini vowed to spend the next 90 days identifying underperforming business groups and cost inefficiencies in an effort to save the company $1 billion a year. He said he planned to make changes as his analysis progressed, rather than waiting until the end of his review."
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Intel To Lay Off 1000 Managers

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  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Thursday July 13, 2006 @05:28PM (#15714907) Homepage Journal

    In my experience it's middle-managers who go first, then after consolidating groups and departments, headcount follows. If this is 1% of Intel's workforce then there's likely 5% or more to follow, which would be 5,000 or more when the next boot hits the Linoleum.

    It's inevitable when a business loses a significant amount of market share and only the most ignorant Intel employee wouldn't see this coming. I wish them luck. This is probably more a move to maintain profitability and stock value (got to convince those anaylists on Wall Street you're minding your P's and Q's) than "streamlining for growth", which is exactly what you hear when they are doing major houseclearing no matter whether the house is merely smoldering or engulfed in flames.

    The pity is those most responsible rarely are held to account for keeping a business trundling along only to be blindsided something some from the inside saw coming, but weren't taken very seriously (Yamhill). Intel may pare their losses, but they'll never enjoy 90% market dominance again.

    • 10% cut? (Score:5, Informative)

      by kripkenstein (913150) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @05:43PM (#15714992) Homepage
      TFA says:

      ... predicting Intel would reduce its work force by more than 10,000 employees

      and

      ...Intel had about 100,000 employees

      So, the 1,000 managers will be followed by some 9,000 more, for a total of about 10% of the workforce - if the predictions / estimations are correct. If so, then this is very significant.

      I personally know three people who worked at Intel, one who still does. All worked in the same division, so this isn't a representative sample. But all of them saw money thrown around quite freely, including on hardware and on salaries (which are among the highest in the area here). I hope they tried to cut other things before they started firing.
      • Re:10% cut? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by flooey (695860) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @06:04PM (#15715087)
        I personally know three people who worked at Intel, one who still does. All worked in the same division, so this isn't a representative sample. But all of them saw money thrown around quite freely, including on hardware and on salaries (which are among the highest in the area here). I hope they tried to cut other things before they started firing.

        Well, I don't think it's that simple. If you reduce employee benefits, you risk having some of your best people (the people who could most easily get jobs elsewhere) start leaving. By having a layoff, you're hopefully going to be getting rid of some of your worst people. So, it may be wiser (from a business perspective) to lay off people rather than cut benefits, even though it's not very nice.
        • Re:10% cut? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 13, 2006 @06:15PM (#15715129)
          My manager was just laid off (I'm a blue badge).

          It's not that he is incompetent, just redundant. I have meetings with his boss at least monthly, and so do the other engineers and managers on my team.

          If someone is necessary, they will not fire them. This guy was smart, but useless in his position. He would be equally useless elsewhere, because his technical skills were replaced with corporate management BS - and he's only a 2nd-level manager.

          Intel will be weird for the next 3-6 months.
        • One part of the productivity gains that we have enjoyed in the US over the last 15 years or so have come from layoffs - it's a well-documented case of exactly what you're saying. Layoffs target the less productive aspects of a business, thus raising overall output per worker.
      • I hope they tried to cut other things before they started firing.
        Yes this did cut at least one thing [austinchronicle.com]. Maybe they shouldn't have, since AMD started beating them with CPU's designed in Austin.
      • Re:10% cut? (Score:4, Funny)

        by Black Art (3335) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @07:59PM (#15715605)
        So, the 1,000 managers will be followed by some 9,000 more, for a total of about 10% of the workforce - if the predictions / estimations are correct. If so, then this is very significant.

        I believe the Romans called this Decimation [wikipedia.org].
    • Wall St is a catwalk for business fashions. Like clothing fashions, the business fashions that drive business decision making are seldom rooted in practical thinking. If you're performing well, then you can ignore the business fashions. If you're performance is sub-stellar then you need to conform otherwise Wall St starts to get nasty. The current fashions seem to be cost reduction and focussing on core business (conservative mindsets that go with current political thinking) resulting in RIFs and dumping t
    • 7 more shoes to go? (as in huge octopus?)
      • by ackthpt (218170) * on Thursday July 13, 2006 @06:48PM (#15715263) Homepage Journal

        7 more shoes to go? (as in huge octopus?)

        I worked for a company that went through 7 rounds of layoffs in about 14 months. They started with paring away a few middle managers, including mine, to "streamline" the company. It did anything but that. The remaining rounds were hacking away at necessary people until there were only keystones left. When suddenly a customer (Hint: Think big computer company in Austin, TX) proclaimed they were happy with the level of service they were getting and wanted to step it up, which would have put the company very far into the black, the executives had to confess they no longer had sufficient staff to handle the load. The customer elected to dump us and that was all she wrote.

  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday July 13, 2006 @05:28PM (#15714910) Homepage Journal
    I remember over the years how a bunch of the regular mods used to mod me down as troll when I defended Intel against the "they're a monopoly!" posts. For the newbs here, Intel in the past was right up there with Microsoft now, IBM in the 90s, GM in the 80s, etc. Intel wasn't a monopoly, they were just a very aggressive company with a great marketing system, great support, great products and happy customers. As I said many times (I wish I could dial back to quote my old posts), Intel's future would be as shortlived as IBMs was, as Atari's was, as GM's was -- there is no need to start screaming anti-trust! anti-trust! when a company you don't like seems like they'll never fall. I said Intel would have its down days, just as I say today that someone will beat Microsoft fair and square some day, too.

    Here are some posts that I recall people talking about Intel being a "bad monopoly," looking back in recent slashdot times:

    Timeline Set for Intel/AMD Antitrust Trial [slashdot.org]
    Intel and Skype Exclude AMD [slashdot.org]
    AMD Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Intel [slashdot.org]
    Japanese Government Raids Intel Tokyo Offices [slashdot.org]
    AMD Alleges Intel Compilers Create Slower AMD Code [slashdot.org]

    Of course, some people will defend their "Intel is a monopoly" belief by saying they're not really a monopoly, they just engage in anti-competitive practices. Like what? Lowering prices below market value? That is _good_ for consumers because NO business can sell for a loss forever -- the minute that they raise their prices after they've wiped the competition clean, new competition will turn up the beat them down again. It has to be good prices, good quality hardware and good quality support -- if they want to give items away, let them. The other anti-competitive practice we hear about is how they "force" suppliers to buy bundles or maintain a certain ratio of items sold to branded items bought. Again, this is all acceptable if the contract stipulates these situations -- most suppliers are happy to sign agreements if they know what the customers want.

    I'm glad to see these big companies fall because they're all colluding with the various governments to maintain their power through what I consider negative rights -- copyright, patents and ridiculous mandates requiring their products. Some even have defense contracts. They fall because the customer decided -- there are no natural monopolies as long as the customer is given the opportunity to make their decisions. The market will decide the victor, and the victor won't be on top for long.
    • by rainman_bc (735332) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @05:42PM (#15714986)
      That is _good_ for consumers because NO business can sell for a loss forever -- the minute that they raise their prices after they've wiped the competition clean, new competition will turn up the beat them down again.

      Not necessarily. It takes enourmous amounts of capital, and even more importantly, reputation to compete in the processor space. It's not like anyone can jump on that...

      Recall the success of Cyrix, and consider the success of Transmeta and Via today. The processor space is currently about reputation. AMD started getting some respect around the time of the Athlon.
    • by GlassHeart (579618) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @05:49PM (#15715022) Journal
      Lowering prices below market value? That is _good_ for consumers because NO business can sell for a loss forever -- the minute that they raise their prices after they've wiped the competition clean, new competition will turn up the beat them down again.

      You are wrong. Every business has a barrier to entry, and a new entrant always risks losing the resources they spent overcoming that barrier. If a monopolist is allowed to sell below cost to get rid of a competitor, it creates a chilling effect even if they later raise their prices. A new competitor must consider what happens if the monopolist does it again, and if the barrier to entry is already high (a fab, for example), the competitor will think twice and walk away instead.

      Sure, if competitors keep showing up, the monopolist cannot withstand the losses forever. However, everybody except the last competitor who dethrones the monopolist loses, and nobody wants to be cannon fodder.

      • by Surt (22457) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @06:30PM (#15715200) Homepage Journal
        Here here, and as another point, there is almost no business with a higher cost of entry than CPU development.
      • by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Thursday July 13, 2006 @07:16PM (#15715394) Homepage
        That's a great theory. It usually works the other way: a company opens up to compete against the monopolist, the monopolist buys them out, and the principals turn right around and start another competing company. Happened to Rockefeller's Standard Oil many times. One guy sold three refineries in a row to him.
      • by JesseMcDonald (536341) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @07:57PM (#15715593) Homepage

        Every business has a barrier to entry, and a new entrant always risks losing the resources they spent overcoming that barrier. If a monopolist is allowed to sell below cost to get rid of a competitor, it creates a chilling effect even if they later raise their prices. A new competitor must consider what happens if the monopolist does it again, and if the barrier to entry is already high (a fab, for example), the competitor will think twice and walk away instead.

        You are wrong. Capital expenditures (a chip fab, for example) are not lost when a company fails. They merely pass into disuse for a time, and then change hands to a new upstart competitor. As long as the present methods (or sufficiently similar methods) of chip fabrication remain in demand such investments will retain their value. There are, of course, some costs which depreciate rapidly enough to be effectively lost should the company fail (recruiting, for example), but no sane company would invest resources in such areas until the solvancy of the company was guaranteed. To illustrate:

        1. Company A invests $10M in durable chip fabrication capital (buildings, machinery, etc.).
        2. Company B begins "dumping" its product to hold off competition, driving down prices.
        3. Company A, realizing that the new low prices won't justify their investment, decides to cut its losses and enter a different market. This is where most analyses prematurely end. But what becomes of the capital investments? Are they a total loss? Of course not. They do not cease to exist with the desolution of the company. They still hold significant value.
        4. Speculation Company(s) C buy(s) the capital in anticipation of future demand. Company A, or its constituent investors, use(s) the proceeds to enter a different market.
        5. Some time passes. Prices approach their original levels. Demand for chip fabrication has increased, just as Companies A and C anticipated. (If their anticipation was incorrect, then they should lose resources as a result. Again, these resources are not destroyed, but rather are simply put to a better use.)
        6. At these higher prices, Company D decides to enter the chip fabrication market, purchasing the fab capital from Speculation Company(s) C (with reduced time-to-market as a result of Company A's investment). They are now in almost the same position as Company A was previously, but the market for chip fabrication has improved in the interim, so they have a better chance. Also, Company B's resources have been reduced by their practice of selling below the opportunity cost.
        7. Either Company D succeeds in achieving a sustainable market share, or we go back to step 3 and repeat the process until the market conditions are right for competition. Some companies come out a bit ahead, some lose somewhat, but the overall trend is toward a reduction in the barriers to entry (as the fab capital approaches completion).

        Like the GP, I do not believe that there are any forms of apolitical "monopolies" that can stave off competition indefinitely. There are some market conditions which make local monopolies more efficient than competition could possibly be (so-called "natural monopolies"), but these are not situations in which intervention could possibly improve matters; they aren't staving off competition, because there isn't any. Such monopolies are an indication of resistance to arbitrary turnover in the market, which is a good thing -- it reduces uncertainty. They are still subject to competition, having been granted no special political protection, but should not and will not be replaced unless they truly fail to meet the needs of the market on a continuing basis.

        • by GlassHeart (579618) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @09:34PM (#15716055) Journal
          What you're missing is that the Company D would be a riskier investment given what happened to Company A. If it should fail, then Company E will be an even riskier investment. The perceived risk will increase and increase until Company B finally shows signs of real weakness, and successive challengers will have a harder and harder time getting funding. Do you actually have an example of an unregulated monopolist taken down through this successive challenger idea?

          I also can't help but chuckle when I saw your $10M fab. Fabs easily cost billions of dollars.

    • by Sebastopol (189276) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @06:19PM (#15715146) Homepage
      Are you seriously comparing IBM and Atari? Seriously!?!

      IBM is a CENTURY old old, a market cap bigger than Intel -or- GM, still a value giant with massive capital and a solid product base (which to its credit completely shifted its service division to nimbly adapt to 80/90's technology shift), and shows no sign of going away.

      • The comparison isn't really between IBM the company and Atari, but more like IBM's division that operated in the personal computer market. IBM is a huge company that has operated in many different markets for a very long time; it doesn't really make sense to think about its other divisions.

        Obviously, what the parent was referring to was IBM's PC division, which for a long time (80s) was very monopolistic. Eventually the clones took over, IBM lost its leadership role (look how well those 2.88MB floppy driv
    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @06:23PM (#15715161) Homepage
      Intel wasn't a monopoly, they were just a very aggressive company with a great marketing system, great support, great products and happy customers.

      I won't argue against the description in the last half of this sentence, but you are on a dangerous crack/heroine mix if you think Intel wasn't a monopoly in desktop PC processors.

      As I said many times (I wish I could dial back to quote my old posts), Intel's future would be as shortlived as IBMs was, as Atari's was, as GM's was -- there is no need to start screaming anti-trust! anti-trust! when a company you don't like seems like they'll never fall. I said Intel would have its down days, just as I say today that someone will beat Microsoft fair and square some day, too.

      I wouldn't light the candles on your "The market's Invisible Hand has proven me right!" cake yet.

      First, what even makes you think this vindicates your "not a monopoly, market corrects itself magically" position? This is not the first time Intel has layed off workers. This is not the first time they have had a large downturn in revenue.

      Second, what is the only reason you could come close to saying that Intel has lost their monopoly position? AMD.

      Who would not exist were it not for the restraints placed on Intel by anti-trust laws? AMD.

      It would have been so easy for Intel to kill off AMD if they could have used their position with impunity. They could have "cut off the air supply" of AMD in a way that would have made Bill Gates weep. Microprocessors are not like operating systems. There is a very real and very expensive investment in manufacturing facilities necessary. If Intel had, say, given the OEMs the ultimatum to stop selling AMD or pay double for Intel parts after AMD had built and bought the equipment for their Fab 30 in Dresden but before it started shipping parts for revenue, AMD would have gone bankrupt in a year. Some OEMs may have defected, but not enough to keep AMD's afloat. AMD had neither the marketshare nor the market credibility nor the manufacturing capacity to be a replacement for Intel. Ergo, they would have gone with Intel. Bye, bye, AMD. Bye, bye, dada's smug assurance that the market sorts everything out.

      Even as it was, limited as they were by their fear of anti-trust action (and I interned there; believe me Intel was definitely scared of anti-trust action and made a point of listing all the things they'd like to do but can't because of it), Intel still used their position to hurt AMD. They have been giving sweetheart deals and cooperative marketing dollars to OEMs based not on how many Intel parts were sold, but on how few non-Intel parts were sold. That's literally anti-competitive.

      It's great to think that the consumer will simply choose an alternative if some dominant force becomes too abusive. The reality is that they can only choose an alternative if one exists, and they will not shift instantly. If they don't shift fast enough to keep that alternative alive, the alternative goes away and then where are you? That's right: back in monopoly land.

      I know you think that all monopolies can only exist if they are government enforced, but reality says that monopolies can exist and be quite stable for a long time, and that the very nature of their power allows them to make their position more stable. I will even hypothetically grant that eventually any monopoly must fail, but "Eventually may recover from years or decades of horrible stagnation" is not a great advertisement for the Laisse Faire system. The fact is that monopolies are both a stable point and broken corner case of free markets, and having reasonable restrictions on the actions of monopolies is a good thing -- because it grants the little upstart who otherwise could be easily and legally crushed a chance to build up and face off against the behemoth. Alternatives don't just spring from the ether and they don't just sustain themselves on their impassioned belief in the free market. Especially not in an industry with barriers to entry as large as microprocessors.

      Sorry, but Intel is a perfect example of why anti-trust is a good thing.
    • by Slack3r78 (596506) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @06:24PM (#15715168) Homepage
      Lowering prices below market value? That is _good_ for consumers because NO business can sell for a loss forever -- the minute that they raise their prices after they've wiped the competition clean, new competition will turn up the beat them down again.


      I don't have the time to respond to your whole post, but this reeks of someone that whole-heartedly embraces free market economics but skipped the chapters regarding barriers to entry [wikipedia.org].

      What you're describing is predatory pricing, which is generally only good for the consumer in the short run. In the long run, the lack of competition resulting from it generally ends up being bad for the consumer, especially in a market which has excessively high barriers to entry like the processor business.

      The processor business is exceedingly difficult to get into these days. First off, you need very smart (and therefore, very expensive) engineers. Then there are IP issues all over the place. As a startup, you most likely wouldn't have the kind of patent portfolio neccessary to interest Intel, et al into any kind of cross-licensing agreements.

      Now, assuming you somehow manage to overcome those obstacles you need to actually make the things. A modern chip fabrication facillity costs literally billions of dollars and takes several years to build. Oh, and assuming you somehow manage to get the capital for a fab, you're going to run into yet more IP issues regarding the fabrication process. You see, making chips that are both profitable and competitive these days means you're going to need to use bleeding edge fabrication techniques that are also patent encumbered, which generally aren't covered in any cross-licensing deals over actual processor technology. (See: IBM's strained silicon on insulator [ibm.com] technique. There's a reason Intel's not using it.)

      If you go down the list of barriers to entry in the Wikipedia article, you'll find the only two that *don't* apply to the processor business are government regulations and "restrictive practices." It's an exceedingly hard business to get into and just a difficult to stay in once you're there. Just look at the charred remains of Cyrix/National Semiconductor and Transmeta if you need examples.
    • by starseeker (141897) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @06:39PM (#15715234) Homepage
      Lowering prices below market value? That is _good_ for consumers because NO business can sell for a loss forever -- the minute that they raise their prices after they've wiped the competition clean, new competition will turn up the beat them down again.

      Actually, there is an optimal point there that basic capitalism doesn't gravitate toward. What happens in a scenario of brutal competition is not only does the price go down, but the quality goes down too - to the bare acceptable minimum that still gets people to buy the product. If you want to stay alive in a brutal market you cut costs, and keep cutting them until you're down to bedrock. Unfortunately this means cheaper ingredients, less severe tolerances, etc. etc. etc. People are not good at identifying pre-purchase (at least at the consumer level) when a product loses quality - in most cases, they won't find out about it until they actually put the product into real use, at which point its not returnable. And since EVERYONE in the industry is doing the same thing, high quality goods will vanish from the market place. There aren't enough discerning customers (statistically speaking) to force a high quality level. PCs are a good case in point - remember those Compaq video cards a few years back? My university's IT department didn't even need to debug the problem - they just brought over a new video card when the signal failed because they knew that's what it was.

      the minute that they raise their prices after they've wiped the competition clean, new competition will turn up the beat them down again.

      Which is why, once the quality goes down, it is hard to get it up again. Over-engineering is considered a waste of money in an economy where durable goods are considered less desirable (from a business standpoint) than goods that last only a short time - as long as people buy more, you can make more money off of selling the same (cruddy) design over and over than selling a good product once. Of course, this assumes that our resources are infinite, and I suspect someday we will be mining our dumps for raw materials that we are today burning through at an appalling rate.

      there are no natural monopolies as long as the customer is given the opportunity to make their decisions.

      Actually, there are natural monopolies. Some, like the phone system, were temporary. Others, like Windows, are longer term because they are rooted in the complexity of the training required to use them effectively. Windows users spend a great deal of time learning the complex task of using a computer running Windows, and that investment is so large almost any purchase price is preferable to repeating the training. I'd call that a very natural monopoly.

      Capitalism, when functioning properly, is quite efficient. The problem is, it is insufficient to guarantee quality. That's why we have an FDA, for example.

      Most of the time, things work reasonably well. However, we could be using our resources FAR more efficiently than we are. Computer cases, for example - why on EARTH should we replace the case when upgrading the hardware? Just make the best form-factor case possible and make the electronics pluggable components. Most of the fans, case plastic, etc are usable for decades when done correctly. My IBM keyboard is probably 20 years old, and it works as well or better than most modern keyboards I have used. That is the standard to aspire to - use resources effectively for the long term. How to do that, I'm not quite sure - but a way needs to be found.
    • You missed the fact that not only did intel dump their processors on the manufactures really cheap they did it with an agreement that they would not use AMD.
    • I remember over the years how a bunch of the regular mods used to mod me down as troll when I defended Intel ...

      I know *exactly* what you mean... No word for Intel or against AMD goes unpunished in /.

      In my experience, AMD is much worse than Intel, because their marketing is so dishonest. They had a marketing campaign for several years based on the meme that "clock speed doesn't matter" and labelled their products in an entirely misleading way. I have a notebook (HP/Compaq NX9005) with an AMD "2200+" CPU, s

  • by Alizarin Erythrosin (457981) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @05:30PM (#15714921)
    Unlike the company I work for that creates an entire new layer of management, then does layoffs for all its technical (read: non-management) workers.
    • Unlike the company I work for that creates an entire new layer of management, then does layoffs for all its technical (read: non-management) workers.

      Top-heavy companies do topple. Usually just a matter of time. If their business is profitable enough to sustain significant inefficiencies, a competitor will eventually arrive who runs a tighter ship. I'm watching something like this happen right now - several vendors have had it good for years and haven't provided the best service or the most timely fixe

    • You work for NASA?
    • Unlike the company I work for that creates an entire new layer of management, then does layoffs for all its technical (read: non-management) workers.
      Does this involve a change of personnel, or do all the techies just get promotions?
  • by HaeMaker (221642)
    Sounds like an org chart foldin.

    Take your org chart.
    Turn it sideways.
    Fold it so that a level of management is missing.

    Viola! Org chart foldin!
    • by Amouth (879122)
      when you said "turn it sideways" i was thinking.. then buble up the CEO and delete all opheans until you have a clean heap
  • by tinkerghost (944862) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @05:33PM (#15714936) Homepage
    He said he planned to make changes as his analysis progressed, rather than waiting until the end of his review.
    Because it's always better to start doing something before you finish understanding everything, than waiting till the end when you can make changes based on an accurate understanding of the entire process.
    • by King_TJ (85913)
      No ... that could very well also be a "politically correct" way of saying, "I'm well aware that some of our management are worthless sponges, sucking up a paycheck while adding zero value to the company. I plan on kicking these people out as soon as I can, while looking at the rest of the bunch to see who else needs to stay, and who needs to go."
      • by pla (258480)
        that could very well also be a "politically correct" way of saying,[...]

        Or it could mean that in six months, we'll hear about how Intel accidentally stalled their production pipeline for the next five years by laying off a few of their "underperforming" R&D groups.

        "But they had zero income and a huge budget, and I didn't understand their explanation what with all those big words like terahertz and sixteen core and quarter-watt TDP! It looked like a no-brainer to sack the lot of 'em!"
    • So...you're on a boat. It's slowly sinking. You begin to analyze the situation, and you discover what appears to be a large hole below the water line, which is taking on water at a pretty high rate. Do you:
      A) Plug the hole as fast as you can, or
      B) Make note of it, and any other holes you may find, but simply continue your analysis until you are sure you know everything there is (or was, before it sank) to know about the ship?
    • Because it's always better to start doing something before you finish understanding everything, than waiting till the end when you can make changes based on an accurate understanding of the entire process.

      Translation: Responsive, strategic action is always better than "Analysis Paralysis".

      "Waiting until the end when you can make changes based on accurate understanding of the entire process" can be risky, becasue while you are busy navel-gazing the competition is actually DOING something. Also, the process
  • Despite the expierience of not a few Slashdotters, managers are still quite important in any organisation. Their job is to manage things so that you can get your job done. They're there to make sure the lights stay on, that there's water in the coolers, donuts in the kitchen, that you get a new computer, that you can order software, that you get feedback on your code, that you don't have to go looking for customers, and so that you don't have to deal with every trifling detail that goes with running an organisation and basically can just get down to work.

    Unfortunately, some managers get it into their heads that not only should they make the company run smoothly, but that they should also run it outright. When this happens, it's best for the CEO's/directors to prune things pretty quick.
    • I do not find your examples of critical management expertise compelling.
    • Despite the expierience of not a few Slashdotters, managers are still quite important in any organisation.

      I've always said, managers are bad per se, but when they don't understand the technology or the work their employees do or even understand what the company does to make money, then you've got a problem.

      In most places that I have seen be successful, they have taken engineers or technicians who weren't the world's best technician or engineer, but knew a bit about management or had "managment-esque skills"
    • by asuffield (111848) <asuffield@suffields.me.uk> on Thursday July 13, 2006 @11:18PM (#15716545)
      I can make that even shorter:

      A good manager removes problems without people noticing. A bad manager creates problems in order to be noticed.

      Problems to be removed particularly include anything that could waste the time of people who are supposed to be doing real work. Problems that are often created are ways of wasting those people's time - like compensating for the manager's lack of understanding by explaining things to them, instead of doing something productive.

      If you can't understand what you're employees are doing without them explaining it, you probably aren't qualified to manage them. This problem seems extremely common in the technology sector. Presumably people think that because managers are interchangeable in the low-skill sectors (retail, customer service, etc) where anybody can understand what the workers are doing, the high-skill sectors should work the same way - but they don't.

      That's not to say that managers need to be smarter than their workers - they don't need to be able to *do* those jobs. They just need to be nearly-as-smart as their workers in order to understand without needing to be educated all the time.
  • by gasmonso (929871) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @05:35PM (#15714951) Homepage

    AMD Lays Off 1000 Intel Employees

    Just kidding, but I feel sorry for those people :( But having 1000 less managers will probably allow their employees to actually get some work done :)

    http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]
    • by ElectricRook (264648) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @06:25PM (#15715174)
      less managers will probably allow their employees to actually get some work done

      In some cases, that's right. My last manager practiced the BDOS attack (Boss Denial of Service). Where every 15 minutes, he would ask me the status of project [X, Y, Z]. This occured when I was using the debugger and stepping through my foobar PERL program. I had all the variables and contexts loaded in my head, and PHB would jump in for the next round of BDOS attack... Needless to say, my brain does not do cache hits very well. Massive core dump, my face probably had the expression of a SPED (special ed) for a few minutes. I'd have to re-group to even think about what projects were in work. Then I could look up the log files, and check on the progress. Needless to say, I then re-started the debugging from the beginning again. After 15 minutes, PHB started up the next round of BDOS, again ElectricRook does the core-dump.

      I always made great progress when I'd order a pizza, and stay late debugging.

      Yes, I work for Intel.

  • Overdue, maybe? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JayDot (920899) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @05:36PM (#15714953) Journal
    How do you have thousands of managers and not have someone who needs to be laid off (for real reasons)? And to have 1000 that can be shown the door just seems to indicate that such an action is loooooong overdue.
    • Since Intel has over 100,000 employees, this is only a 10% reduction. And why should it be overdue? Intel has being doing well up until recently. Recent events have changed that, which is why they're due for a reduction right now.
  • by King_TJ (85913) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @05:36PM (#15714954) Journal
    It's refreshing to see a bunch of middle management given the boot, rather than the much more common scenario of cutting jobs of the technical people "in the trenches".

    I've always felt that especially in fields like engineering and computer support or application development, you can get by with very minimal management if you make it a point to try to hire people who are comfortable/capable working with little direction.

    Most people I've known who were good in the area of computing and I.T. (not to mention engineering types) spent a lot of time teaching themselves and experimenting via trial and error. (If you got interested in computers back in the 1980's, there really were no classes to take or certification exams to pass. You *had* to pick up whatever book(s) were bundled with your computer, learn how to program it yourself, and master the thing.) These aren't people especially "compatible" with multiple layers of management and micro-management.
    • this is how the company i work for is.. we are small under 50 but to be honest everyone reports to everyone.. we have a group that makes the really big decisions - but everyone handels them and gets their input..

      i could never work in a place that ever thought of having 1000 managers .. that could be cut with out distroying the work force..
    • by cyclone96 (129449) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @06:48PM (#15715267)

      I've always felt that especially in fields like engineering and computer support or application development, you can get by with very minimal management if you make it a point to try to hire people who are comfortable/capable working with little direction.


      I tend to agree with you, but I've definitely seen it fail. I work in government (NASA), and with a pretty crappy budget situation in the 90's, the ratio of engineers/management in an org I used to work for slowly creeped up. The engineers were producing stuff and knew their jobs, so losing them in the short term hurt, but it was easy to consolidate their management.

      That is, until a year or two went by. Lower management had so many employees they'd barely know what they were doing. Those engineers were very smart people and kept busy doing brilliant work, but often it was on things that, in the big picture, wasn't something we should have been expending labor on.

      Other departments sapped our labor, by asking individuals (instead of their management) if they could "give us some help with this". A few hours here, a few days there, pretty soon we can't map our budget to what we are actually producing but yet everyone seems overworked because of the "extras" that should have been tasked through a request of their management.

      Worse yet, it caused a lot of things that need to get done for long term health of an organization to fall by the wayside, like training, career development, and succession planning. Bob the engineer may prefer to work on his new gadget, and could care less that if he were hit by a bus the following morning there's nobody around to support that critical piece of software. He never trained a backup.

      Or the hot new engineer that is a workaholic. Sometimes people actually need to be told to go home/take a vacation, lest they burn themselves out in a couple of years (often causing them to quit or transforming them into a bitter employee).

      Anyways, it's pretty easy to find management needless because of the bad ones, but good management will always leverage their employees into producing more and being happy while they do it.
  • IANAIM (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 13, 2006 @05:36PM (#15714955)
    I Am Not An Intel Manager. But I do work there. I can say that there are way too many managers and that this action is required :-)

    I can not count the number of managers that have two or three people reporting to them. There are^H^H^Hwere managers who have never worked in the field they manage. I say that before becoming a manager you should have years of experience doing the things that the people you manage do.

    Paul Ottelini rocks!
    • Re:IANAIM (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 13, 2006 @06:25PM (#15715177)
      I am not an Intel manger either, but I am an Intel employee, and was a first level manager until quite recently.

      I had less than half a dozen people working for me throughout my entire multi-year tenure as an Intel manager, which was fine by me: I could give them all the attention they needed and it didn't consume more than 30% of my time, so I could STILL do my full-time individual contributor job, which is what's expected of first level managers at Intel.

      I was, as most first level managers are, a working manager. What concerns me most about this move is the assertion that we're losing about 1000 managers. We're probably only going to lose about 700 FTE's of management work, and we'll then lose about 500 FTE's worth of senior technical people with a ton of tribal knowledge, extensive social networks within the company, and years of delivering proven results. Yes, the numbers don't add up to 1000--managers at Intel tend to wear a ton of hats, put in a ton of unpaid overtime, and go the extra mile. Some don't, but I have firsthand knowledge that those folks aren't the only ones losing their jobs this month.
    • Re:IANAIM (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kfg (145172) *
      I say that before becoming a manager you should have years of experience doing the things that the people you manage do.

      Once upon a time it was not an uncommon practice for kings to "trade" sons and have them educated in each other's palaces, where they could not be expected to be treated as part of the royal family, before they were deemed fit to be kings in their own right (of course they also had that "friendly hostage" thing going on there).

      Some time later it was not an uncommon practice for business ow
      • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @07:18PM (#15715402)

        I am reminded of an anecdote my father once told me, about the management policy in a large company where he worked.

        One day, the management decided to call in the management consultants. In due course, a snappily-dressed 24-year-old strolled into the office where my father worked as leader of a team who were, essentially, the world's experts in their particular area of R&D.

        My father is not a man who suffers fools gladly, and after the introductions, asked the 24-year-old in his tailored suit what he could offer by way of background, to help him guide a man with 20 years' experience in the industry to perform better.

        "I have a degree," said the 24-year-old.

        "That's interesting," said my father. "So do I."

        "Mine's from Oxford," said the 24-year-old.

        You can imagine the reaction...

    • I was at AT&T Bell Labs in 1995 when AT&T decided it was going to lay off 45,000 managers. Yes, that number is correct. 45,000 managers. As I was a consultant, I talked to one manager and asked how many people he had working for him. He responded that no one worked for him. He was a manager, and stood by that title.

      So, while 1000 sounds like a lot of managers, I have to wonder how many are managers in title only.. Sounds like more than a couple.
  • by dtjohnson (102237) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @05:38PM (#15714967)
    So, sales are weak and costs need to be cut. This Friday, though, Intel is going to announce their new 'Conroe' desktop chip when the NDAs expire. We've already seen from the hype and benchmarks of the pre-shipping chips that Conroe is going to be a very good chip that will put Intel back in the driver's seat so why do the 1,000 have to go only two days before Conroe appears? Couldn't Intel just hang on for a few more weeks until the Conroe sales take off? Maybe then they wouldn't even need to dump the 1,000 managers.
    • Hint: Conroe while better than Intels current offerings isn't really that much better than AMD offerings. Specially when you factor in the non-desktop uses (e.g. cluster computing where HT links still shine).

      Conroe is a good product, hopefully a good design (won't be able to say for myself until I get one...) and will give AMD a run [in my personal opinion] but it won't break the mold and leap ahead of the competition in any sense.

      Tom
      • Specially when you factor in the non-desktop uses (e.g. cluster computing where HT links still shine).

        I think you mean SMP, where HT links still shine. I have yet to see a system with external hypertransport links, although I'd love to have one :P

        • With HT switching you can easily have 100s, 1000s of processors on one topology. the other "nodes" are simply off a switch which then takes on the responsibility of knowing where memory is. That and HT is an open standard. Your northbridge controller is connected via HT.

          There is nothing in the consumer market that exploits connectivity on the HT side but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist in custom shops and labs.

          Tom
    • why do the 1,000 have to go only two days before Conroe appears? Couldn't Intel just hang on for a few more weeks until the Conroe sales take off?

      Dead weight is dead weight, wether your company is on the rise, or is in a downward spiral. If employees aren't earning their keep, they need to go.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 13, 2006 @05:38PM (#15714968)
    At least one person I know personally has lost his job in this round of layoffs. He had been with the company for 27 years (before they even started making processors).
  • Lumberg (Score:3, Funny)

    by crhylove (205956) <rhy@leperkhanz.com> on Thursday July 13, 2006 @05:40PM (#15714974) Homepage Journal
    So how much time do you spend a day on these TPS reports?
  • I got blasted on here when I said that Intel was finally doing something right by lowering prices and finally competing with instead of stagnating. Now it seems that Intel is shooting themselves in the foot. Their management does something right, then they get laid off before they can reap the fruits of it. Sounds like what the management at HP is saying now about getting rid of their CEO a coupld years ago. They didn't like that she wanted to buy Compaq, thinking it was a bad idea. Well, it seems that
    • I got blasted on here when I said that Intel was finally doing something right by lowering prices and finally competing with instead of stagnating. Now it seems that Intel is shooting themselves in the foot. Their management does something right, then they get laid off before they can reap the fruits of it.

      Poppycock. Basic business strategy says that managers should only manage like 5 or 6 people because of the relationships involved. What is it called, factorial? (I am unabashedly math-challenged.) Whe

  • Snark (Score:3, Funny)

    by ewhac (5844) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @05:42PM (#15714985) Homepage Journal
    Do the people left behind get bigger cubes?

    Seriously. The Folsom facility is a sea of nothing but 6*8 cubes. It's completely cheerless. Those people really should have more space.

    Schwab

  • NOT GOOD (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tomstdenis (446163)
    Given where I work [and this post is not on behalf of my employer!!!] I don't view this as a good thing.

    Sure Intel should be taken down a peg but competition is what will make technology not only efficient but RELEVANT. If only one supplier makes all the processors on Earth they can stagnate and not improve things. That's bad.

    If anything Intel motivates AMD, just as AMD motivates Intel. [without going into too much details]. Hopefully, if this report is true it's not the tip of the iceberg but just adju
    • You've got this all wrong.

      Intel are the big player in the CPU market at the moment. Even though AMD is quick/cheaper depending on who you talk to, it's still Intel that has around 80% of the market share of CPUs, as well as strong fingers in a couple of other pies. It's also Intel who have all the deals with machine builders, such as Dell.

      Intel doing a little worse is going to increase the amount of competition in the market. Until very recently they were the monopoly. This is akin to saying Microso
  • by Coward Anonymous (110649) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @05:53PM (#15715037)
    It's funny how when a company does very well, the CEO takes credit for all the brilliant choices s/he made. Yet, when a company flails, it's not that CEOs fault until after it has been thousands of underlings' faults.
    Otellini should resign. He stands for all the things Intel is/was not. He's a marketroid in what was and should be primarily an engineering driven organization.
    • He's a marketroid in what was and should be primarily an engineering driven organization.

      How do you figure this? These so-called maretroids are the ones that know what needs to be built to keep the company successful. Intel should be a market driven company. In order to do that, you need an extremely good marketing group and a CEO from this background can be very beneficial. No engineering driven company can last because while the products might be well made, they make the wrong products.

      • by tyrr (306852) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @08:15PM (#15715684)
        I guess you also believe that it's more difficult to determine what needs to be build than to engineer and produce a high quality product.
        Marketoids are NGAA (Never Getting Anything Accomplished) for a very good reason - they have no idea how to actually turn their ideas into reality. In fact, marketoids are out of touch with reality.
        Market driven doesn't mean lead by marketoids. Market driven means delivering high quality products because this is the first thing that customers want. Pay attention to two words there "delivering" and "quality" - that's what engineers do.
        Now look at Intel - it failed to deliver competitive products. It doesn't matter what's their marketing strategy, if someone else creates better products than you do.
    • Since Netburst and the mobile phone division were both done on Craig Barrett's watch, I think he should be fired as President, and also have a large chunk of his past salary taken back.

      Paul is really inheriting a lot of this mess, although I still think he has a share of the blame.
  • CxO pay cuts? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Thursday July 13, 2006 @06:00PM (#15715070) Journal
    How much of a pay cut will the Board of Directors and CxO's take?
  • by alexhs (877055) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @06:03PM (#15715084) Homepage Journal
    microprocessors from AMD continued to steal market share

    First AMD stole Intel instruction set, and now they're stealing Intel market share !

    When will they be ordered to hand them back ?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 13, 2006 @06:08PM (#15715102)
    Here is the internal email from Intel CEO sent to all top level managers. This is sourced from a relative that has been working there since the 1970's.

    ------

    From: Otellini, Paul
    Sent: Thursday, July 13, 2006 8:14 AM
    Subject: An important and difficult step: Manager reductions

    To: All Intel employees

    This week we're taking an important and difficult step in our efficiency project: reducing the number of Intel managers by about 1,000 people worldwide. Only managers, ranging from senior to first-line, are affected. This step is important because it addresses a key problem we've found in our efficiency analysis--slow and ineffective decision-making, resulting, in part, from too many management layers. It is difficult because the managers who will leave the company are our colleagues and friends, and since we have limited internal job opportunities, redeploying their skills is not a viable option.

    We are notifying the majority of impacted employees on Thursday and Friday this week, and (except where a country's laws require different steps and timelines) we plan to have all affected employees informed by Monday, July 17. In the U.S., most employees' last day of work will be July 28, and their benefits will include a minimum of about three months' separation pay (and more for lengths of service over two years). In other regions the process and benefits will differ. While we can't eliminate the impact to these employees, we're committed to offering them support during this difficult time.

    This manager reduction is one of the first major actions coming out of our structure and efficiency project, and I believe it's an essential first step toward making us more competitive. Over the last five years at Intel, the number of managers has grown faster than our overall employee population. Our efficiency analysis and industry benchmarking have shown that we have too many management layers, top to bottom, to be effective.

    In addition, this finding is consistent with what our organizational health surveys have suggested: that the relative increase in management has impaired decision-making and communication, reducing the company's efficiency and productivity. Many of you have made the same point in your individual inputs to the efficiency team.

    As I've said in previous Webcasts, one of the outcomes of the structure and efficiency project is that we'll be a leaner and more agile company. We'll make quicker decisions, collaborate better across the company, and enable a cost structure that allows us to continue to win in our extremely competitive industry as it evolves.

    This manager action is one step along that path. Another was the decision to sell our communications and applications processor business to Marvell. We'll continue to identify other opportunities, act on each one as soon as we can, and tell you about the changes as soon as possible. I'll talk more about this and our business priorities in my employee Webcast on July 19 at 4 p.m. Pacific time.

    In April I said that we had decided not to do an immediate "across the board" layoff, because that would be reactionary - focused only on the current environment rather than the long term strategic needs of our company. Instead, we chose to undertake a longer, more comprehensive project to analyze all of our operations and make strategic, data-driven decisions. That is still our plan. This manager reduction was the result of careful assessments of the management and leadership roles we need for our future success. We are in the process of fundamentally changing our behaviors and our structure for where our business and industry are going. You should expect that we will continue to take actions, including selective reductions, as we complete analyses and decisions about investments, expense levels and organizational structures. You should also keep in mind that at the end of this process we will still be the largest and most profitable semiconductor company on earth. Our actions are focused on ensuring tha
  • by eliot1785 (987810) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @06:10PM (#15715107)
    For Intel's sake, I hope those managers were really not worthwhile. Because cost-cutting efforts like this can come back to bite you if it means you lose the brains of your operation in the process. Unless Intel had a thousand people sitting around who were little more than paper pushers, this will inevitably negatively impact the company's growth potential in the future. After all, sectors of the company that are "not profitable" right now might be sectors that would have become highly profitable with additional research.

    (BTW, A tangential point re: the sub-thread about previous antitrust complaints about Intel, and how in retrospective they were overblown now that Intel is losing market share... you might even be able to say the same thing about Microsoft. It's been "big and bad" for 10-15 years now, but look at what is happening to its market share. Internet Explorer is losing share to Firefox, and within a year or so, OpenOffice.org will do the same thing to Microsoft Office. It might still have a monopoly on operating systems, but it will hardly be the behemoth people have always thought of it as. Intel and Microsoft are showing us that big companies can be toppled by competitive rivals more quickly now than in the past.)
  • by Biff Stu (654099) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @06:23PM (#15715160)
    Apple purchased processors from Motorola. Their processors couldn't keep up with competition. Every time Motorola had a promising new design, the processors started out like gangbusters and then went nowhere. Then Apple switched to IBM; their consumer processor efforts flopped. Now they're with Intel and look at what's happening.
  • AMD nixes GEODE too (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sebastopol (189276) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @06:23PM (#15715162) Homepage
    Apparently my submission was rejected, but AMD cut 1,000 folks too, include GEODE!

    http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=32 991 [theinquirer.net]

  • He said he planned to make changes as his analysis progressed, rather than waiting until the end of his review.

    Good idea.. Having a "complete picture" is overrated anyway. George W. would be proud.
  • will be in well paying, first world countries? All of them? Probably. I remember a qoute from the CEO of Intel in an article on the shrinking tech market; only the market wasn't shrinking for him, he was busy expanding into 2nd and 3rd world countries.
  • recruits (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zxcvb2468ed (988761)
    I think there are way too many engineers or manager that dont make the cut. I know a lot of graduates in CS who have made to the positions/internships at Intel just because there spouse/brother works there. With there struggling education averages and no specific skills or merits, I was suprised they still made it. Seems like internal contacts are more important at Intel than educational merits, experience or skills. I will not be suprised to see more inefficient people being layed-off as cost-cutting mea
  • C'mon, no company gets rid off its managers! They only fire the useless techs. At least so far that's the only development I've seen recently in companies. Techs are fired, replaced by leased personnel, and a bunch more managers are hired to shuffle the leases around.

    Don't tell me Intel finally realized that managers produce nothing but paper and you can't sell that. Don't destroy the picture I have of the corporate world.

    Or are there no workers left to be fired?
  • by IceFoot (256699) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @07:46PM (#15715537)
    ... 1,000 laid-off managers?

    A good start.
  • by maxpublic (450413) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @10:57PM (#15716440) Homepage
    If Intel wants to get rid of the sub-standard dead weight it's managed to accumulate over the years, all they need to do is ask their employees to spell the word "lose". Those who spell it "loose" are the obviously morons and can be shit-canned right on the spot; in fact, getting rid of these idiots will probably improve the performance of the company dramatically.

    Max

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