Massive layoffs coming to tech giant Qualcomm?

SAN DIEGO - San Diego technology giant Qualcomm has been feeling the pinch of late, with profits down and rumors of as many as 4,000 employees set to be laid off.

"They are getting pressure from competition, but also the iPhone market has really helped them the last few years but is getting a bit mature; still growing but getting a slowdown in that growth," Dennis Brewster of SagePoint Financial told 10News. "Their margins have come down and sales have slowed over the last couple of years, and the stock is down so they're going to get pressure to do something. Easiest first step is layoffs."

If Qualcomm does reduce its workforce by as much as 10 percent, San Diego's economy would see a setback but not a severe one.

Tony Cherin, San Diego State University finance professor emeritus, calculated the impact.

"A layoff of 3,000 to 4,000 at Qualcomm would be equivalent to approximately taking an aircraft carrier out of San Diego," Cherin said.

10News spoke to several Qualcomm employees on Tuesday, and while they acknowledged that they have heard the rumors, they chose not to speak any further. Michele Lesher, who worked for Qualcomm for several years, said she's concerned for past associates, but told 10News the company has always taken care of its own.

"It's a little worrisome for neighbors and friends, but I know, honestly, they do everything to try to keep them in the company," Lesher said.

A competitor told 10News that he's very familiar with the ups and downs of the industry, having been laid off himself. Patrick Trepanier, a hardware firm marketing and production manager, said he's confident there will be jobs available for those who might be laid off.

"I think in the short term it might be a little tough because there are other companies laying off, but long term, I think they'll find a job because those fields are in high demand," said Trepanier.

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