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Oracle to cut staff
March 20, 2001: 2:02 p.m. ET

Software maker will trim up to 2% of work force as tech spending slows
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Software maker Oracle Corp. plans to cut as many as 866 jobs as part of a cost-cutting effort aimed at maintaining profitability in the face of slowing and uncertain demand for its products.

The Street had anticipated some layoffs at the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company, which is the world's No. 2 supplier of software behind market leader Microsoft.

When they reported the company's fiscal third-quarter earnings last week, Oracle executives said it was likely they would join the scores of other technology companies that recently have announced staff reductions to reduce costs as businesses scale back their information technology spending as a result of the slowing U.S. and world economies. graphic

"Based on current business conditions, at this time the company expects to reduce our worldwide work force by approximately 1 to 2 percent through normal attrition and regular business performance assessments," Oracle spokeswoman Stacey Torman told Tuesday.

Oracle historically has been a leading supplier of database software for corporations and recently has shifted it focus to the market for e-commerce applications that tie into its core database products.

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But like most information technology companies, Oracle has been stung by the swift and sudden slowdown in the U.S. economy, which many executives recently have signaled now is spreading to other regions. The slowdown prompted Oracle to ratchet down its financial targets for the current quarter.

However, executives cautioned analysts that their expectations for a fourth-quarter profit of 15 cents per share and annual earnings growth of 31 percent are contingent on the economy and could fall below those levels if conditions deteriorate further.

Oracle currently employs roughly 43,300 workers.

Shares of Oracle (ORCL: Research, Estimates), which have fallen more than 66 percent from a 12-month high of $46.46, were trading 25 cents higher at $15.69 on Nasdaq Tuesday afternoon. graphic