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Dell Confirms Layoffs, Which Are Much Smaller Than You've Heard

A few thousand people are leaving the company, but not the number that has been reported.

Fresh off a $25 billion buyout to take the company private, the computing giant Dell yesterday disputed reports that it is close to a massive layoff in what was described in at least one report as an “imminent bloodbath.”

Reports put the number of expected job losses as high as 15,000. Sources familiar with the company’s plans tell Re/code the real number is closer to “a couple thousand.” Of course, now that it’s private, Dell doesn’t have to say much about its plans publicly. The loss of 2,000 or 3,000 jobs would amount to about two percent of Dell’s worldwide workforce of nearly 109,000.

Separately, we received a statement from Dell corporate communications head David Frink confirming that some layoffs had taken place, many of them tied to a voluntary severance program instituted in December. The deadline for employees to take advantage of it passed on Monday.

“We can confirm that a small percentage of Dell’s global team members accepted the company’s offer of a significant severance package associated with a voluntary separation program,” Frink’s statement says. “We’ve taken steps to optimize our business, streamline operations and improve our efficiency over the past few years. And, like any prudent business, we’ll continue to do so. Meanwhile, we’re hiring in strategic areas of our business, including hardware and software development, engineering and customer coverage worldwide.”

“Reports that we have laid off as many as 15,000 are wildly inaccurate,” Frink told me yesterday.

That anxiety might be running high at Dell’s headquarters in Round Rock, Texas, is understandable. After the yearlong drama of winning the approval of shareholders to go private, fending off the threat of a bitter proxy fight with investor Carl Icahn, the work to reshape Dell and go back on the offensive against rivals HP and Lenovo has gotten under way in earnest.

A few senior execs have departed as well. CFO Brian Gladden left the company last month. And Steve Felice, chief commercial officer, left for his own CEO gig in November.

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