VMware Confirms 'Small' Number of Layoffs

Mitch Wagner

New year, new jobs for a "small" number of VMware employees, as the company confirmed it laid off some folks this week.

"We can confirm that there has been a small reduction in force at VMware this week," a VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) spokesperson said in an email statement. "Work force rebalancing is a continual activity across VMware's businesses and geographies to ensure that resources are aligned with business objectives and customer needs."

Even with the layoffs, VMware is also hiring.

"We continue to recruit in areas of strategic importance for the company," the spokesperson said, adding, "There are hundreds of roles currently posted on careers.vmware.com."

Total headcount at VMware as of November is 21,557.

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VMware laid off 800 people two years ago. (See VMware Announces 800 Layoffs, Executive Shake-Up.)

VMware is shifting its focus from the on-premises enterprise data center to the cloud. Two years ago, VMware was a data center infrastructure company with an additional cloud business; now it focuses on cloud and mobility, providing services to enterprises looking to unite on-premises infrastructure with multiple public clouds. (See Following Amazon Partnership, VMware Is a Cloud Company Now.)

Dell Technologies owns a majority stake in VMware; Dell saw a $533 million operating loss in its most recent quarter. (See Dell Technologies Posts Smaller Q3 Loss.)

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Joe Stanganelli
Joe Stanganelli
1/22/2018 | 9:50:45 PM
Re: Can it pivot quickly enough?
@Phil: While I feel for the casualties of layoffs, "nuisances" seems harsh. I know so many companies that have their resources and priorities totally focused wrong. And I have come across SO many people whose companies would be better off firing them -- even if it meant entirely eliminating their position.

There is incompetence and bloatedness everywhere.
1/19/2018 | 6:44:12 PM
Re: Can it pivot quickly enough?
"Rebalancing" replacing "synergies of scale." Layoffs are still layoffs, as you point out. Back in 1981, during a tremendous recession -- especially in the Rust Belt -- the newspaper I worked for (and had joined just recently) went to tremendous lengths to avoid layoffs. People today are just disposable nuiscances at many firms.
1/14/2018 | 6:07:31 PM
Re: Can it pivot quickly enough?
"Rebalancing" is an interesting word for layoffs. I wonder how the rebalanced former employees feel about being rebalanced, and how rebalancing their careers works out for them in coming months even though it's a "small" rebalancing considering the 20,000 employees there that still have jobs.
1/11/2018 | 12:58:34 PM
Re: Rebalancing
@Joe I remember that. I think it was just this kind of absurd corporate-speak that helped launch the Dilbert cartoons.
1/11/2018 | 12:30:43 PM
Re: Can it pivot quickly enough?
You're right.. but although "VMware-on-AWS" has been a partnership between Amazon and VMware -- VMware's relationship with Microsoft's Azure has been far less cordial. Azure is offering "VMware on Azure" but without VMware's blessings (so far). 

Maybe VMware and Microsoft will patch things up soon?

Joe Stanganelli
Joe Stanganelli
1/11/2018 | 12:06:47 PM
Re: Can it pivot quickly enough?
@mhh: Not so challenging as you might think, I tend to suspect, given how its ever-escalating battle with AWS over the years has only culminated in greater integration between VMware solutions and AWS solutions.

VMware, thus, seems to be one of the seminal case studies of how all of the tech industry is shifting to the cloud. You're either a cloud provider or a cloud user these days.
Joe Stanganelli
Joe Stanganelli
1/11/2018 | 12:04:47 PM
"Rebalancing." That's a nice way to put it. Remember "rightsizing" and even "brightsizing" in the '90s?

That said, 800 isn't too many for a company with more than 20k employees...and it seems from the reports that the current RIF (which, to me, is a less loaded term than "layoffs") is probably yet smaller than that.

The question I have is: Where has the recent RIF been focused? That's going to be telling for VMware's strategy.

Or, if there seems to be no clear focus in VMware's RIF, then the question becomes (and the question may remain nonetheless) one of if there was a discriminatoary nature to the RIF (particularly if workers over 40 felt the brunt of it).
1/10/2018 | 9:13:42 PM
Can it pivot quickly enough?
> "VMware is shifting its focus from the on-premises enterprise data center to the cloud...."

That may be a huge challenge. I don't know how it changes its reputation completely to become a multi-cloud service provider -- I guess it's not a complete change, but it's a significant one, for sure.
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