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Informix cuts 66 jobs as part of Net focus

Database software maker Informix lays off 66 employees as part of the company's effort to focus on the Internet.

Database software maker Informix laid off 66 employees last week as part of the company's effort to focus on the Internet.

Informix chief executive Jean-Yves Dexmier said today the layoffs stem from the company's recent restructuring to focus on its Internet businesses. The firm is healthy and expanding, but laid off the 66 employees because they didn't have the necessary Internet skills, he said.

"Are we in trouble or downsizing? No. We're growing fast," said Dexmier, whose company has 150 job openings in the United States. "We are expanding in the Internet as fast as possible. Our trouble is trying to hire enough people with the required skill sets."

The company, which recently reorganized into four divisions, has retrained more than 100 employees and moved them to Internet-related work, said Wayne Page, Informix's vice president of human resources. Most of the 66 laid off employees worked in research and development.

"We took a look at all our research and development, and those that didn't fit the strategy, we reallocated the resources to other projects," Dexmier said. "Those without a compatible skill set, we unfortunately had to terminate."

The company is trying to help its recently laid off employees find jobs at other companies, Dexmier said.

The 66 laid off employees make up less than 2 percent of Informix's workforce of 4,600 employees. The cutbacks happened the same week Informix acquired data management software firm Ardent in a stock deal worth $880 million. Ardent has about 800 employees.

Analysts said the layoff is not significant and part of Informix's strategy to compete with Oracle, IBM, Microsoft and Sybase in the database market as they all focus on rounding out their product families with e-commerce software.

"This is a relatively minor realignment," said analyst Merv Adrian, of Giga Information Group. "It's part and parcel of what's going on as all the major database companies move away from just being database companies."

Informix, the No. 3 database software maker, has been on the comeback trail after several tumultuous years, when it stumbled badly against rivals Oracle and IBM. Accounting irregularities also forced the company to restate earnings for several years, prompting a spate of shareholder lawsuits that were settled for $142 million last May.

Informix, however, has produced seven consecutive profitable quarters as the company has focused on the Internet. Like its competitors, the company has developed software and purchased companies that focus on the Internet. Informix sells Internet-focused database and software that businesses can use to develop e-commerce Web sites.

With the Ardent purchase, Informix gains more data warehousing technology that takes information from databases and gives businesses detailed analysis and reports. In September, Informix also bought Coudscape, a two-year-old start-up that offers mobile database built entirely in the Java programming language.

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