Source: Oracle Layoffs Have Been Tiny And Most Aimed At Ex-Sun Employees

Larry Ellison
Larry Ellison, speaking at OpenWorld 2012

[credit provider=”Julie Bort/Business Insider”]

We previously reported about layoffs at Oracle within its hardware groups.We’ve now heard from multiple sources that more layoffs occurred last week at the Communications unit, which made gear for telecom customers.

However, the latest layoffs were tiny, affecting perhaps 50 employees, and seem to be directed mostly at salespeople absorbed when Oracle bought Sun, our sources tell us.

Given the size of Oracle’s labour force, that’s not a significant number. Far more Sun employees have left Oracle to take jobs elsewhere. Since the deal closed in 2010, there’s been a steady stream of Sun talent leaving—at a rate of about “30 to 40 people a week” an ex-Oracle employee told Business Insider.

This isn’t surprising or unhealthy.

For a long time, Valley insiders considered the Sun deal one of the worst tech acquisitions in recent years, as Oracle reported weaker and weaker hardware sales. At one point, the company’s former top North American sales exec, Keith Block, called Sun hardware “a dog” in an email, writing that “nobody wants to sell Sun.” Block was shown the door in June.

Since then, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison explained his hardware strategy. Oracle is ditching Sun’s low-margin commodity business to build a high-margin business in “engineered” systems. Engineered systems are the “Exa” family: Exadata, Exalogic, Exalytics, some of which are now being built with Sun hardware, but which were largely based on Oracle’s own designs, created before it acquired Sun. Ellison says that its hardware business will show revenue growth this fiscal year.

The upshot is that people who’d worked on those commodity hardware systems are leaving the company or moving to other groups.

Oracle had no comment on the layoffs.

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