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

August 12, 2014 at 3:56 PM

RealNetworks laying off 10 percent of staff

Seattle-based RealNetworks announced today that it’s laying off about 85 employees, or about 10 percent of the staff remaining after a series of reorganizations at the struggling digital-media company.

Most of the people losing their jobs work at satellite offices. In Seattle, 21 employees are being cut.

The layoffs come just two weeks after founder Rob Glaser resumed his role as chief executive and pledged to “re-establish the company’s financial success.”

In a staff memo that Glaser shared on Facebook, he said 75 percent of the affected employees work on Real’s “legacy” businesses.

“We need to make these reductions to get more efficient because of the faster-than-expected declines in a few of our legacy businesses, most notably our codec IP licensing business and our 3rd party software distribution business,” he wrote.

During the last major layoff at the company, in 2012, Glaser said the reorganization was 80 percent complete. That layoff reduced staff by 14 percent.

Real’s employment has fallen by more than half since its began dramatically restructuring in 2010, when the company had 1,700 employees.

In a release today, the company said it expects the latest layoffs will add $1.5 million to $2 million in costs during the quarter ending Sept. 30.

Real lost $21 million on sales of $40.8 million in the last quarter, ending June 30, including a $17 million decline in its RealPlayer business. Those figures were worse than the same period last year, when it reported sales of $49.8 million and a net loss of $18.5 million.

“Transitioning Real from a focus on our legacy businesses to a company driven by our new growth initiatives is a hard process,” Glaser wrote in his memo. “Sometimes the transition isn’t as smooth as we wish were the case, and this is one of those times.”

Comments | Topics: Digital media, layoffs, RealNetworks

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