SGI reorganises, cuts staff, launches Cray unit

Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) yesterday outlined a corporate reorganisation that will lead to some 1,500 global job cuts with the creation of several new units, including one for its Cray Research LLC supercomputer business, and partnerships with other vendors.

The restructuring is intended to put SGI on track financially and also to push into Internet-related markets, according to written statements yesterday.

The Cray vector supercomputer business unit will have two home bases, with Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, serving as the main manufacturing and engineering site, and Eagan, Minnesota, as the engineering, sales and service location. SGI is in "active discussions," seeking another company to take over the Cray operation "through a partnership or other transaction," according to the statement detailing the Cray announcement.

Steve Oberlin, vice president of engineering for SGI's Servers and Supercomputers, will be in charge of the new Cray unit.

As for the rest of the reorganisation, Cray announced:

-- A separate business division to handle SGI's Visual Workstation line with another vendor handling development and distribution of the product line. The vendor was not named in the statement, which said that SGI has not finalised terms of the deal.

-- A business unit aimed at broadband Internet systems. Additional details were not offered.

-- The spinoff of the MediaBase media-streaming application, engineering team and technology to a new company.

-- Additional details of a previously announced alliance with NVIDIA Corp., in which the two companies will work on next-generation graphics. SGI graphics engineering workers will transfer to NVIDIA under the deal.

-- A partnership with Veritas Software to work on file-system and other software on Irix and Linux platforms.

-- A partnership with NEC to market high-performance systems in Japan. Details of the partnership will be announced August 19 in Tokyo.

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