Applied Materials cutting 12 percent of workforce

Chip equipment maker is looking to cut costs as it faces a difficult 2009, with semiconductor orders expected to plunge.

Chip equipment maker Applied Materials is cutting 12 percent of its workforce after posting declining profit numbers and receiving quite the scare from Intel.

The company announced that 1,800 jobs will be cut from its ranks by this time next year, which could save it $400 million a year. Applied Materials makes the complicated and expensive equipment that Intel and AMD use to manufacture their processors, and if those companies see a downturn in their business, companies like Applied Materials are in for trouble.

With Intel reporting a huge decline in its expected revenue for the fourth quarter Wednesday afternoon, Applied Materials could be in for a rough 2009. Applied Materials CEO Mike Splinter noted in a press release accompanying the news that the company is working hard to build equipment for the solar industry, but there may be no safe harbor for a while.

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