Cisco Systems (CSCO) is laying off about 14,000 employees, representing nearly 20% of the network equipment maker’s global workforce, technology news site CRN reported, citing sources close to the company.
San Jose, California-based Cisco is expected to announce the cuts within the next few weeks, the report said, as the company transition from its hardware roots into a software-centric organization.
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Microsoft said in July that it would lay off about 2,850 jobs over the next 12 months, taking its total planned job cuts to up to 4,700, or about 4% of its workforce.
HP said in February it would cut about 3,000 jobs by the end of fiscal 2016.
Cisco, which had more than 70,000 employees as of April 30, declined to comment.
Cisco increasingly requires “different skill sets” for the “software-defined future” than it did in the past, as it pushes to capture a higher share of the addressable market and aims to boost its margins, the CRN report said citing a source familiar with the situation.
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Cisco has been investing in new products such as data analytics software and cloud-based tools for data centers, to offset the impact of sluggish spending by telecom carriers and enterprises on its main business of making network switches and routers.
The company has already offered many early retirement package plans to Cisco’s employees, according to CRN.
Up until Tuesday’s close of $31.12 on the Nasdaq, the company’s stock had risen about 15% this year, compared with a 10.5% increase in the Dow Jones U.S. Technology Hardware & Equipment index.