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Qualcomm trims 94 jobs in San Diego amid cost cutting

Qualcomm continues to shed workers in San Diego as part of a pledge to shave $1 billion in annual costs, laying off 94 employees this week.

The cellular technology firm disclosed the job cuts in a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) notice filed Wednesday with the state Employment Development Department.

The layoffs are concentrated in a specific area of Qualcomm’s business, according to the company. A spokesperson declined to elaborate. Sources told the Union-Tribune that layoffs occurred in the company’s internal Information Technology department.

“As part of the cost reduction plan announced in January, Qualcomm is conducting a small-scale workforce reduction in a targeted area of our business,” the company said in a statement. “We understand a workforce reduction of any scale affects not only those employees who are part of the reduction, but their families, co-workers and the community.”

Qualcomm said it has offered severance packages to employees, whose official last day is Nov. 20.

This latest round of layoffs comes on top of 1,231 job slashed in April and another 61 in June.

That brings the total number of San Diego-based workers let go by the company this year to 1,386.

In 2017, Qualcomm employed about 13,000 workers in San Diego and 33,000 globally. The company declined to disclose how many workers remain, but it is obviously fewer given the layoffs and attrition.

Qualcomm promised to reduce expenses as part of its efforts to fend off a hostile takeover from rival chipmaker Broadcom. The move aimed to appease frustrated shareholders who were siding with Broadcom.

In March, The Trump administration derailed Broadcom’s bid over worries that a weakened Qualcomm would cede U.S. technology leadership in upcoming 5G networks to China.

San Diego is home to the majority of Qualcomm’s U.S. workforce, but it also has locations in cities worldwide. It is unclear if layoffs occurred elsewhere. San Diego was the only location in California were a WARN notice was filed.

In April, Qualcomm trimmed 269 workers from its Santa Clara offices, where it develops Wi-Fi and networking technologies. In June, it laid off 241 workers in Raleigh, N.C. as it scaled back efforts to develop data center chips that compete with Intel.

Qualcomm’s data center business is now concentrated on an existing joint venture in China and on chips to power artificial intelligence and other computing tasks at the edge of 5G wireless networks.

The company’s stock price is up 47 percent since May, fueled mostly by a $30 billion stock repurchase program. Qualcomm moved to buy back its own shares after its proposed $43 billion acquisition of automotive chipmaker NXP Semiconductors collapsed this summer amid objections from Chinese regulators.

Its shares ended trading Thursday up 54 cents at $74.60 on the Nasdaq exchange.

mike.freeman@sduniontribune.com;

Twitter:@TechDiego

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