SuSE Linux, Europe's leading distributor of the upstart Linux operating system, confirmed Thursday it has laid off the majority of its US-based staff, but said that the cost-cutting move does not affect its commitment to the US market.
Thirty US staff in marketing and product support were made redundant this week, although 14 members of staff remain.
Jasmin Ul-Haque, commercial director for SuSE in the UK, says that marketing and support for the US will now be operated from the company's German head office. She says the layoffs are designed to make SuSE's operations more efficient and key members of staff have been retained to drive sales in the US.
Ul-Haque is emphatic that the move in no way affects SuSE's faith in the US market and will not alter its support for an English language distribution. "The US market is still very important to us," she says. "We're a global company and you can't be global without a US office."
Ul-Haque also says that SuSE plans to launch a number of business orientated products for the US market in coming months.
Many technology firms have been struck by a stock market slump in this sector and a slowdown in the US economy in general. Linux firms saw some of the highest market valuations at the height of the technology stock boom.
"It is an unfortunate fact of life," says Ul-Haque. "In light of the market, we need to be successful and we need to focus on sales."
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