RealNetworks lets 130 go

As a company exec noted in a blog post this week, RealNetworks is on track for record revenue this year. In the same post, the company announced it's laying off around 130 employees, or 7.5% of staff.

Bill Hankes, VP of corporate communications for Real, said that the cuts "are part of a budgeting process that is intended to bring expenses in line with current and prospective economic realities." A memo sent internally to staff indicated that the cuts would be divided among the Seattle headquarters, other US locations, and worldwide operations, roughly in proportion to the employees at each of those three locations.

All divisions of the company are believed to be affected, as are between two and three dozen contractors and consultants.

In the memo sent internally, CEO and chairman Rob Glaser said that not all of the cuts are related to the economy; some were a natural result of the consolidation of acquisitions made over the past year or so. Recent Real acquisitions include WiderThan, Sony NetServices GmbH, Exomi Oy, and Trymedia.

It's tough to see anything good in layoffs done during the holidays, but as layoffs go this one's being kept as drama-free as possible. Laid-off staffers will stay on the payroll through the end of the year, and they're free to conduct their job searches from the office or from home as they prefer. The severance package also includes outplacement services and six months of COBRA coverage, as well as a cash settlement based on on each person's time with the company.

RealNetworks' stock closed up for the week on the NASDAQ exchange, at $3.78. Its most recent quarterly report indicated a Q3 GAAP loss of $4.5 million, or 3 cents/share. In the Q3 earnings call, Glaser noted that Real has $400 million in the bank and no debt, and that the low cost of Real's consumer offerings meant that sales of music, games and such were likely to be more resilient in the current economy that sales of bigger-ticket items.

The holiday party at the company's Seattle headquarters has also been canceled.

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