back to article RISC-V champ SiFive confirms it's laying off 1 in 5 workers

RISC-V chip designer SiFive has laid off 20 percent of its engineers and other staff amid efforts to refocus on creating bespoke processor cores for customers – though insists everything's fine. The fabless processor outfit said these cuts – hitting about 130 people – is part of a move to re-align its business. This appears to …

  1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge


    Other reports claim that between 30 and 60% of staff were let go. They're also pretty shy about letting the truth come out.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reports

      SiFive employees on Blind, an anonymous message board, put the number at 129, which consistent with SiFive's statement.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hello (Real) World !

    An example of the idea of an open source instruction set (and the perception using it will be cheaper, if not free!) meeting the financial reality of creating IP to put on silicon.

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Hello (Real) World !

      Indeed so. Open Source means nothing at all, unless the end user can practicably do something with it. If the end user needs a silicon fab to make use of open source designs it may as well be a widely available keenly priced proprietary design for all the difference it makes.

      Open source software is pretty much useless too, other than making it legal to copy it. No end user can practicably do anything with someone else's source code other than maybe build it, which can be prodigiously difficult to set up. So no one really bothers. For example, I bet the source repos for the average Linux distro and rarely troubled...

  3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Quiet quitting

    One must marvel at the audacity of corporations that champion 'dedication' and 'commitment', only to turn around and hand their most devoted a P45, as thanks for the tireless nights and forsaken family moments. The emergence of 'quiet quitting' is hardly surprising. Why, after all, should one bleed for a behemoth that, at the end of the day, might not remember your name, let alone your sacrifices? It’s almost poetic in its irony. Perhaps the enlightened among us have discerned the truth: do just enough to keep the puppeteers appeased, but not enough to erode one's own strings. Because, let's be candid, no corporation will pen an ode to your missed anniversaries or the health you relinquished for their bottom line. Navigate the corporate theatre with wits about you, and never forget where your true allegiances lie.

    1. pimppetgaeghsr

      Re: Quiet quitting

      What makes you think those layed off are the most dedicated of the engineering cohort? Usually the easy targets are the first to go and make up more than 20% of a lackluster startups ranks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Quiet quitting

        In smaller startups, perhaps. Sometimes.

        But past a certain size, the idea that a corporation can meaningfully discern between "the most dedicated" top performers vs. seat-fillers is pretty laughable.

        At that point the big wheels are simply cutting by the numbers, using whatever arbitrary criteria they've decided make sense for that time. Frequently it is about cost (i.e. salary), sometimes it is actually strategic (job function or product affiliation), often as not it is punitive, nepotism, or simply random.

        Of course the story they *want* you to believe is being one of "the most dedicated" will somehow save you from the chop. Maybe it will, but that's not the way to bet it. Not even at startups, not when the investment dollars are drying up and the founders see the end of the runway coming up fast.

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    As I said in response to another report the other day, there's the staffing for their closest competitor, who knows their strengths and weaknesses and has all the contacts to hit the ground running.

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Death by MBA

    New CPU technology, has people's interest but still needs R&D and refinement to compete with X86 and ARM, it obviously makes the complete sense to fire a bunch of engineers.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Re: Death by MBA

      You forgot the sark warning. A lot of people 'over there' seem to need it.

    2. pimppetgaeghsr

      Re: Death by MBA

      Imagination Technologyies and Sifive both in the same week with 20% headcount reductions. ARM must be laughing themselves to sleep now that their engineers are getting 30% of base as RSUs before any other bonuses are factored in.

  6. pimppetgaeghsr

    Where is that 3arn0wl fella to tell us how amazing Risc-V is going to be (any minute now!)

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      I'm not sure how this news means RISC-V isn't going to be amazing.

      That SiFive have decided to shift their view of where their future lies doesn't affect the future of RISC-V itself. There are other companies out there working on RISC-V, and likely more to come, so there should be plenty of opportunities for those fired and others who have an interest in it.

      1. pimppetgaeghsr

        The message from their founder on Linkedin debunked this article. The reason for the layoff had nothing to do with strategy. The lights need to stay on and 20% of people need to leave.

        qualcomm is laying off, imgtec is laying off. Who doing RISC-V is actively hiring? Qualcomm may just be using RISC-V as political leverage and the fact of all these layoffs means sales are unlikely to come soon.

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