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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

June 22, 2010 at 1:38 PM

RealNetworks reorganizes again, cuts 85 jobs, renting space

RealNetworks is consolidating two of its remaining businesses — technology products and media software and services — in a move that’s also cutting 85 jobs, the company announced this afternoon.

With offices clearing out, Real is planning to sublease part of its headquarters above the downtown Seattle waterfront. The company also pulled its GameHouse studio out of Pioneer Square and into its headquarters office a few weeks ago, an interim move until the games business is spun off into a separate company later this year.

The layoffs include about 25 percent of Real’s executive ranks, the company said, explaining that its “new organizational structure is designed to reduce the spans and layers of management to create greater efficiency, teamwork and customer focus.”

“This reorganization marks a significant milestone in our transformation of RealNetworks,” acting Chief Executive Bob Kimball said in the release. “Restructuring RealNetworks into functional groups creates a far more efficient organization focused on developing great products that can be delivered through any of our distribution partners.”

Real is also cutting back on its office space at its Seattle headquarters and in Europe and Asia. It’s going to take a restructuring charge of $10 million for the quarter ending June 30, including a $7 million loss on excess office space and $3 million for personnel adjustments.

After the cuts, RealNetworks will have 1,365 employees, down from 1,700 before Kimball began a major restructuring of the company in February. That shuffle involved founder Rob Glaser, who stepped down as chief executive.

Even before the current wave of restructuring, Real’s been whittling its employment with periodic layoffs as its business slowed in recent years. It laid of 130 in December 2008 and 20 in February 2009.

About 75 percent of the latest layoffs are happening in Seattle.

Real’s stock closed at $3.50 today, down 3 percent, before the layoffs were announced.

Comments | Topics: gamehouse, layoffs, RealNetworks

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