Oracle lays off more than 1,000 employees

Oracle is firing numerous employees, mostly from its hardware SPARC division. SPARC, and its Unix-based Solaris operating system, appear to be done.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

According to the Mercury News, Oracle is laying off approximately 450 employees in its Santa Clara hardware systems division. Reports at The Layoff, a discussion board for technology business firings, claim about 1,800 employees company-wide are being pink-slipped.

Oracle claims the company isn't closing the Santa Clara facility with this reduction in force. Instead, "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."

Those hardware employees appear to have been Oracle's failing SPARC hardware department staffers. In mid 2016, Oracle claimed its new SPARC S7 processor would be offered on Oracle Cloud. The cloud is Oracle's new revenue hope since its new software licensing revenue plummeted by 20 percent in its last quarter ended December 15. At the same time, Oracle's hardware revenue had fallen 13 percent.

While some of those being fired are management and staff, the majority are hardware and software developers. Rumors had been spreading for some time that SPARC and its Unix operating system Solaris were on the chopping block.

In Oracle's most recent SPARC/Solaris roadmap, the next generation Solaris 12 has vanished to be replaced by Solaris 11.next and SPARC next. In light of the layoffs, both appear to be sustaining releases rather than significant product releases.

It doesn't take a computer scientist to see SPARC and Solaris' days are numbered. As one person put it in regards to the layoffs, "SPARC is done".

Oracle's acquisiton of Sun in 2009, which gave the company Solaris and SPARC, was a bad move from day one. The rise of commodity Linux x86-based servers insured that Oracle buying Sun would be an all-time awful technology merger and acquisition.

The layoff news comes after the US Department of Labor (DOL) filed a lawsuit against Oracle in January. The DOL alleged that Oracle had engaged in pay discrimination practices against female, African-American, and Asian employees.

Oracle spokesperson Deborah Hellinger replied that "The complaint is politically motivated, based on false allegations, and wholly without merit." Oracle CEO Safra Catz, while still retaining the top job, had joined President Trump's transition team in December.

Politics or not, these layoffs appear to be some of the last losing moves in the Oracle Sun acquisition end-game.

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