Internet gear maker Cisco to cut 5,500 jobs

Cisco Systems says it will lay off 5,500 employees as the internet gear maker scrambles to adapt to technology changes that have reduced demand for its main products.

The shake-up announced Wednesday means about seven per cent of Cisco's roughly 78,000 workers will lose their jobs beginning this summer.

The purge is the latest example of the upheaval that has rocked some of the world's oldest and biggest technology companies as the relentless march of innovation forces them to head in new directions in search of revenue growth.

In Cisco's case, its business has been hurt as more of its corporate customers rely on remote data centres for their computing needs instead of online networks maintained on their own premises.

Cisco, which has about 70,000 employees worldwide, has a significant presence in Ottawa, employing a total of about 550 people at its Kanata location on Innovation Drive and its downtown office on Albert Street, according to OBJ's Book of Lists.

There was no immediate word from the company on whether any local employees will be affected by the cuts. 

Two years ago, the Ontario government agreed to a deal with Cisco's Canadian division to invest $225 million over a decade to expand the company's operations in the province and create 1,700 jobs.