Dell doubles down on layoffs, literally: 13,000 gone in the past year

Sigh, AI to the rescue, sigh

Dell this week disclosed it has 120,000 workers, which is about 13,000 fewer than it had at the start of 2023. That means it has laid off almost double the number of people it previously indicated.

The revelation is somewhat buried in a 198-page 10-K submission by the IT giant to America's securities watchdog, the SEC, yesterday.

As of February 2, Dell had 120,000 workers on the payroll, it told the regulator. On February 3 last year, Dell said [PDF] its workforce was 133,000, and while some jobs cuts had been announced since then, the 13,000 reduction is much larger than expected.

"Throughout fiscal 2024, we continued to take certain measures to reduce costs, including limiting external hiring, employee reorganizations, and other actions," Dell's SEC filing reads. "Despite these difficult decisions, we continue focused efforts to empower our employees and attract, develop, and retain talent."

When Dell announced it would be cutting jobs due to falling demand for PCs, expectations were that 6,650 employees would be axed. The securities filing reveals that nearly double that number were let go – or just got fed up with Dell's not-working from home strategy.

The dissonance between what Dell disclosed in early 2023 and the actual number of layoffs may be down to even worse than expected PC sales. Only a month after the February layoffs that year, IDC lowered its forecast for PC and tablet shipments by 26 million – or just over six percent.

The advent of AI-capable systems is apparently set to rejuvenate the PC market, which would be a big boon for Dell. IDC predicts 2024 is estimated to see a 3.7 percent year-over-year bump in shipments, ending the decline the market has seen since the highs of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like its rivals HP and Lenovo, Dell is jumping on the AI hype train and has high hopes that the demand for machine-learning PCs will kickstart its business. Of course, it's not entirely clear whether the desire for AI will be able to overcome a global computing economy that's not doing very well at the moment. ®

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