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RealNetworks Completes Restructuring Cuts 130 Jobs

“Today is a hard day. Today is definitely not a very good day, to be making these kind of cuts.” These were the words of Bob Kimball, CEO of RealNetworks, in reference to eliminating a further 130 jobs from its global workforce. These cuts were part of a year-long restructuring effort by RealNetworks to turn its business around.

While less than 40 jobs will be cut in its headquarters in Seattle, RealNetworks will be closing its Finland offices in Helsinki as part of this round of cuts. This leave the company with around 1,300 employees, down from its peak of 1,700 a couple of years back. While employee headcount was reduced by 22 percent, executive jobs were slashed by 45 percent.The effect of these cuts will be $11 million savings in operating costs.

The company was one of the pioneers for digital media on the Internet, with its Real Player installed in millions of computers then. The company would not reveal details about which teams or divisions were affected by the latest job cuts. The CEO only added that the focus was on retaining personnel in the areas where there were the most opportunities for growth. Added Kimball, “Games is a good one to focus on for a minute. We see great opportunities for socializing our casual games business. We think that’s a really exciting area, and an increasingly large percentage of our games group actually works on that activity.”

New and better choices have since eroded the company’s lead and RealNetworks has been forced to focus on other technologies. Their recent thrusts have been into technologies for managing digital media on different types of devices. As an example of these new forays, Kimball pointed out the Unifi personal media service that the company will soon launch. Unifi won a Best of Show award at the CES and a large part of the company’s focus will be on this product.