My, Those Slips Are Pink (12/19/01)

What can we say? The only appropriate response is a Charlie Brownian sigh of disillusionment. The startling repeatability of Motorola's cost-cutting layoffs used to be at least sort of funny (well, as funny as anything involving massive job loss can ever be), but now we have to assume that the company has officially plunged into a state of hardcore pitifulness so dense that not even mirth can escape. That's right, folks; faithful viewer Lally Singh has unearthed proof that Motorola has a magical bottomless bucket of pink slips, because the job cuts keep coming fast and furious. CNN/Money is reporting that the company plans to add another 9,400 layoffs to its singularly impressive tally.

For what it's worth, while that's more layoffs than Apple has employees, it only represents just over 6% of Motorola's "peak workforce" of 150,000. Still, it's the cumulative effects that are most impressive; in case you've lost count, in its quest to return to profitability, Motorola has now announced a total of 48,400 pink slips since August of last year. That's a whoooole lotta exit interviews. We imagine the company's Human Resources department is feeling mighty tired right about now-- especially since they've probably been a little shorthanded for the past year or so.

What's worse (at least potentially) is that while the bulk of the previous layoffs appeared to come from the mobile phone side of things, this time around, 8,100 of the jobs are being hacked off of the semiconductor arm of the business-- and that might not bode well for Apple. Granted, our logic here is sort of a caveman-style "Motorola hurting... Motorola make PowerPC for Apple... Apple maybe feel ouch" type of thought process, but the fact that it's crude doesn't mean that it's necessarily invalid. For those of us who rely on being fed a not-so-steady diet of faster G4s and (eventually) G5s, an ailing Motorola is a serious downer; at this rate, we wouldn't be surprised to hear that the PowerPC development team consists of two guys named "Phil."

At the very least, weavers of Motorola semiconductor spin-off theories now have something new to chew on. Faithful viewer Alpha Dan noticed a Reuters article which states that the company "said it has identified more manufacturing plants in its money-losing semiconductor unit to close." Given Motorola's continued insistence that it'll be profitable next year, at least one analyst takes that announcement as a hint that the chipmaking arm might be sold off: "To see that big of a revenue drop and still remain profitable means that something is going away, some loss-making business is leaving." That doesn't mean Steve Jobs is currently reaching for his checkbook, but wouldn't it be a hoot? (A potentially unwise hoot, but a hoot nonetheless.)

SceneLink (3463)
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The above scene was taken from the 12/19/01 episode:

December 19, 2001: Owners of combo-less 550 and 667 MHz PowerBooks will soon have an upgrade path available. Meanwhile, Motorola lays off yet another 9,400 employees, mostly from its chipmaking business, and an arrested terrorist claims that Al Qaeda infiltrated Microsoft to introduce bugs into Windows XP...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3462: The Post-Purchase Combo (12/19/01)   We know, we know... fate is a cruel mistress. After all, when you sold your left kidney to buy that shiny new 667 MHz PowerBook G4 three weeks ago, how were you to know that Apple planned to release two significant product revisions in the space of two short months?...

  • 3464: We Kid Because We Love (12/19/01)   And this week's "Too Bizarre Not To Mention" plot development comes to you courtesy of faithful viewer Mark, who spotted a Newsbytes article that ponders a possible connection between Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorist network and Microsoft...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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