Not unex­pect­edly, Cisco announced their imma­nent intent to lay off roughly 4,000 peo­ple in addi­tion to those who took early retire­ment, as part of mak­ing whole a $1B expense reduc­tion, as well as the com­mit­ment to stream­line the com­pany functioning.

Although the lay­offs were not dis­cussed in any of the gen­eral Live! ses­sions, John answered a lot of related ques­tions in the Ana­lyst meet­ing Q&A ses­sion. Not sur­pris­ingly, he’s good at paint­ing the pos­i­tive side of the story (more effi­cient and respon­sive com­pany). I tried to get him to explain what this did to the rev­enue growth plan for the com­pany going for­ward (remem­ber that orig­i­nal intent of the boards and coun­cils were to accel­er­ate and democ­ra­tize inno­va­tion). He wouldn’t/didn’t reply to that directly, but instead focused on the fact that when growth is lower you can’t spend as much on inno­va­tion (true, but leaves open the ulti­mate ques­tion of rev­enue growth and mar­ket valuation).

He sug­gested that the plans going for­ward were still in progress, so hope­fully a deeper dis­cus­sion is forthcoming.

One of the tan­ta­liz­ing aspects of the promised lay­offs (that will be “oper­a­tional­ized” in the first week of August) is that the ax will come down more on peo­ple with VP and higher title (15% dec­i­ma­tion). Now we just wait and see who ends up in the sights..