Seattle Layoff Update: Adobe, Microsoft, Real, ZymoGenetics, and Others Cut Staff

12/4/09Follow @gthuang

‘Tis the season for layoffs, we’re sorry to say. In the past month, we’ve seen some major staff cuts from the big tech and life sciences companies, as well as startups, around Seattle (see our updated Northwest layoff tracker here). The carnage has really picked up in the past week. Here’s a rundown of notable layoffs:

—Seattle-based ZymoGenetics (NASDAQ: ZGEN) cut 52 jobs this week, about 15 percent of its workforce. The company is refocusing its efforts on its marketed drug for surgical bleeding, and other existing product candidates. It’s the second layoff for ZymoGenetics this year; the company cut 161 jobs in April and now has about 300 employees left.

—Wetpaint, a Seattle Internet startup focused on social publishing, laid off nine employees yesterday, including two of the company’s co-founders. The move is part of a strategic refocusing, according to a report in TechFlash that says the company has 30 employees left. Wetpaint has not yet confirmed the staff cuts or strategy shift with me. It has raised some $40 million in venture funding since 2005.

—Bellevue, WA-based Smith & Tinker, a gaming and entertainment company, cut 30 percent of its staff (about 15 positions), according to VentureBeat. The company has not confirmed the number of layoffs; it had 50 employees as of August. Smith & Tinker has raised $29 million in venture funding since 2007.

—San Jose, CA-based Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE) didn’t say how many positions were cut in the Seattle area as part of the 9 percent layoffs (about 670 employees) reported last month. But at least one notable Seattle executive, Bill McCoy, has confirmed he is leaving the company. McCoy is Adobe’s general manager of ePublishing Business; he is the company’s main e-book expert.

—Seattle-based RealNetworks (NASDAQ: RNWK) cut 4 percent of its worldwide staff in early November, amounting to about 70 out of 1,700 jobs. The economic downturn and cost-cutting were given as reasons for the layoff. RealNetworks reported a small profit for the third quarter of this year, the company’s first profitable quarter since the first three months of 2008.

—Seattle’s Classmates.com, which is owned by United Online (NASDAQ: UNTD), laid off 71 employees, or 17 percent of its workforce, early last month, as reported by TechFlash. The news was confirmed in a company earnings call. United Online said the move was made to increase efficiencies and streamline operations.

—Last, but certainly not least, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) cut 800 more positions across the company exactly one month ago, in its third round of layoffs this year. About a quarter of the jobs were in the Seattle area. One East Coast casualty was Don Dodge, Microsoft’s director of business development for the Emerging Business Team (and unofficial startup ambassador), based in Cambridge, MA. Dodge has since agreed to join Google. The layoff news came on the heels of Microsoft posting an 18 percent quarterly decline in profits as compared with the third quarter of 2008.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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  • http://www.seomoz.org randfish

    Hey Greg – might I suggest that whenever you mention layoffs, you simultaneously mention similar companies making hires? Companies like ours could really use some of that talent :-)

    http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/sof/1489172331.html

    Also – great event on search this week. Thanks for having me.

  • http://www.xconomy.com/author/ghuang/ Gregory T. Huang

    Rand, thanks for your note. This is a great point — I will try to do it in a follow-up.

  • http://www.belladomain.com Sandy Jones-Kaminski

    Hi Greg, lots of these laid off folks will be hitting the networking circuit hard soon and my new book on Amazon, “I’m at a Networking Event–Now What???” could prove very useful to them. I even mention Xconomy in it as a great resource for spotting events to attend in town. It can be found on Amazon (http://amzn.com/1600051669) and has been getting some great reviews! Hope it proves helpful! Sandy

  • Jennifer Hay

    I specialize in writing resumes, profiles, and cover letters for IT professionals. I offer a 15% discount during the holidays. Is it alright to post my information on this site? Just let me know and I’ll provide links. Giving a resume package to a friend is a wonderful kindness.

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