It’s not often you hear about British workers being having their jobs sent to California, but handheld maker Gizmondo and parent company Tiger Telematics have done just that.
The company announced last week that it will open an LA-based office to lead the charge for the upcoming US release of its gaming/communications device. At the same time, it said it will “streamline” its UK operation.
It has now emerged that this will involve laying off most of Gizmondo’s UK-based team and shipping everything to the states in order to cut costs and increase profit margins in what it hopes will be a far more lucrative market. Pre-streamlining, the firm’s head office in Farnborough had 49 staff, with another 70 at its Manchester design studio.
Many of the British staff are apparently fresh out of university and in their first job.
"We are aligning the core competencies of the group to meet prevailing and future market requirements," said a Gizmondo spokesman. "It's our duty to shareholders to strive for efficiencies, and due to co-publishing and development commitments from major game publishers, the need for internally biased game development programs has significantly decreased."
The spokesman was would not comment on the extent of the streamlining, saying: "We're currently in a period of consultation with those staff who may be affected, so it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."
Well, looking on the bright side, visas to work in the US are going begging these days, so if they want, the UK staff could probably up their lives and move to California.
Separately, Gizmondo has settled its long-running legal dispute with the Jordan Formula One operation, Tony Smith writes.
The two companies agreed a "multi-million pound" sponsorship deal in July 2003 for the remainder of the 2003 race season and the full 2004 season. The money was not forthcoming, and Jordan accused Gizmondo parent Tiger Telematics of "reneging" on the deal. It backed the accusation with a lawsuit.
Last week, the two companies said they had agreed to settle the case out of court. Jordan gets $1.5m and 30,000 Tiger shares. The Pink-traded stock closed at $18.55 last night, well below the $32.91 it reached in January ahead of the imminent UK Gizmondo launch and the US debut then expected to take place soon after. ®