3Com Cuts Workforce 10%

Network equipment maker 3Com Thursday said it would “streamline” operations by cutting 10 percent of its staff across the board. The biggest axe will fall inside corporate offices in Santa Clara, Calif., with layoffs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa as well.

The cuts, to take place over the next two quarters, followed the March 3 sale of its ComWorks telecommunications division to UTStarcom. At last count, 3Com supported some 3,900 staff and contract workers. The cuts would whittle that number down to just north of 3,500.

“With the sale of our CommWorks unit, the company will function as a single operating entity, enabling a more competitive cost structure,” said Bruce Claflin, 3Com president and CEO in a statement.

The company will focus on developing and selling products for small business, voice solutions for large and small enterprises and wireless technology. It will continue to add sales, marketing and customer service staff to support these products.

A company spokesperson said that when its proposed joint venture with Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei Technologies launches later this year, 3Com employees in China and Japan will be moved into the new company, to be called 3Com-Huawei in English and Huawei-3Com in Chinese.

3Com said it will expand its hiring of Account Executives and Network Consultants to support enterprise customers as the joint venture becomes operational.

The relationship is already being tested because of a patent lawsuit brought forth by San Jose, Calif.-based networking equipment maker Cisco Systems. Earlier this week, 3Com filed petitions asking the courts to quickly rule on whether the intellectual property used in the newly designed joint venture products was valid and original.