Cisco lays off 600 to 700 workers at California headquarters

Cisco SystemsCSCO laid off 600 to 700 workers this week, bringing the world's largest maker of computer networking gear closer to its goal of reducing its work force by about 2,000 positions.

The cuts, reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal, were made at Cisco's San Jose, Calif., headquarters Thursday, adding to the 447 California workers Cisco had already laid off since the end of February, according to notices filed with the state.

As of the end of April, Cisco employed about 66,560 people. The company would not say how many people it has laid off outside of California.

Cisco also would not say what groups have been affected. Some workers may find new jobs at the company. The rest will be offered severance packages and help finding other work.

"We are doing everything possible to minimize the impact on employees affected," spokeswoman Kristin Carvell said in a statement.

The company said in February that it planned to cut 1,500 to 2,000 jobs "in the near term." Cisco has also stopped hiring for most jobs as part of a plan to save $1 billion in the 2009 fiscal year, which ends in late July.

Cisco has left the door open for a much larger round of layoffs. In February, CEO John Chambers told analysts that if Cisco were to do what he called a "company-wide layoff," it would involve cutting at least 10% of employees.

Cisco shares gained 39 cents, or 1.9%, to close Friday at $20.51.