May 27, 2012, 7:26 AM — Hewlett-Packard's announcement that it would be laying-off 27,000 of its employees in a massive restructuring plan, marks a new low for the beleaguered company that recently posted a significant 31% drop in profits. However, HP is not the first tech company (and perhaps won't be the last either) that took a hack-and-slash approach to its workforce when facing economic uncertainty.
Here are seven major instances in the tech industry of employees facing the brunt for their employer's misfortunes.
1. IBM (1993): 60,000 jobs
Yes, you read that right. In July 1993, IBM announced that it would lay off about 60,000 of its employees, a number of jobs that most companies won't be able to create in their entire lives. Out of that number, 35,000 were laid-off directly while 25,000 were offered early retirement, a move, the company claimed, cut annual costs by $4 billion.
The decision was made by Louis Gerstner, IBM's then Chairman who had been brought in to revive the fortunes of the company that had just posted quarterly losses of $40 million ($64 million by today's standards). To his credit, he did manage that and is widely acknowledged to have saved IBM from failing as a company.
2. AT&T (1996): 40,000 jobs
The American telecom behemoth announced in January 1996 that it would let go off 40,000 employees over the course of three years. The lay-offs were part of a restructuring plan that also saw AT&T spin off Lucent and NCR into independent companies.
AT&T was widely criticized by both American politicians and the media since its then CEO Robert Allen was being paid a whopping $3.6 million salary that was also linked to the performance of the company's shares, the value of which jumped by 10% following the announcement of the job cuts.
3. HP (2008): 24,600 jobs