Oracle laid off an unspecified number of people this week. The company did not formally announce its restructuring plans, including any indication how many jobs it would peel, and made no mention of the planned cuts when it reported earnings last week.
The company told us it made these cuts to shift resources from older businesses into its all-important cloud computing business.
“As our cloud business grows, we will continually balance our resources and restructure our development group to help ensure we have the right people delivering the best cloud products to our customers around the world,” Oracle spokesperson Deborah Hellinger told Business Insider.
While there was no formal announcement of who got cut, people have taken to the TheLayoff, an anonymous discussion board, to talk about their experiences. As an anonymous message board, it’s impossible to verify whether posters are actually employees of Oracle, but there’s been an uptick in activity on the board timed with this news.
Anonymous folks on that board are reporting dozens of cuts in various departments, including engineers working on some of the older cloud teams. For instance, one anonymous person said that 43 people were cut at Oracle’s Silicon Valley headquarters from the Oracle Management Cloud team.
Another reported that 32 engineers worldwide were let go from another Oracle Cloud Infrastructure team — specifically, those working on an older version of the cloud known internally as OCI Classic, or OCIC, according to a post on TheLayoff. Recently, the company announced “Gen 2” of the Oracle Cloud, and many of the engineers on that team are based in Seattle.
Another poster to TheLayoff reported 50 positions cut in corporate functions like marketing. Yet another anonymous poster said that cuts came to the New Hampshire crew working on Dyn, an internet security/infrastructure company Oracle bought in late 2016.
One TheLayoff poster discussed “an organization-wide email” that talked about how well Oracle’s business was doing after it reported better-than-expected earnings last week — and contrasted that with hearing about their colleagues losing their jobs.
Yet another poster said that Don Johnson, executive vice president of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, also sent out a team-wide email that acknowledged that the cuts happened. In the email, the poster says, Johnson gave a pep talk about why the cuts are necessary to make founder and CTO Larry Ellison’s vision for Gen 2 of the Oracle cloud a success. He then invited the team to attend an all-hands meeting scheduled for Friday.
Oracle declined to comment on any complaints over how the layoff was handled.
Layoffs are not an unusual occurrence at Oracle. In fact, the company has been reporting annual expenses associated with restructuring for years. A filing with the SEC the company made in 2017 talked about these restructuring costs in 2013, 2015, 2016 and mentioned plans for more in 2018.
Oracle is also currently in the fourth quarter of its fiscal year, which is traditionally its biggest and most important. This is the quarter when its enormous sales force pushes to close deals and make their annual commission targets.
More broadly, Oracle is in the middle of a massive shift as it pushes its customers to move from buying old-fashioned software to using its cloud services and its revenue is reflecting that shift.
Although Oracle reported better-than-expected earnings last week, its revenue for the quarter of $9.61 billion was flat year-over-year, and the company has been promising to deliver double-digit non-GAAP profits in terms of earnings per share. Oracle has been closely managing its expenses to meet its promises around profitability, and non-GAAP numbers typically excludes costs associated with things like restructuring.
All of that means the start of the fourth quarter is the time for Oracle to make cuts, if they are necessary.
To be fair, Oracle isn’t the only legacy tech company remaking itself into a shiny new cloud image and having to cut employees to do so. SAP also had recent layoffs. IBM has been undergoing rolling layoffs for years. And HP cut tens of thousands of jobs and cleaved itself in two back in 2015.
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