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      Two Large Israeli Tech Companies Announce Layoffs

      Cellphone company Partner, and microprocessor designer and maker Freescale are laying off workers.
      By David Lev
      First Publish: 10/28/2012, 8:14 PM

      Cellphone
      Cellphone
      Flash90

      Several large Israeli companies announced Sunday that they were laying off workers. Among them were Partner, which provides services for Orange cell phone service customers in Israel, and microprocessor designer and maker Freescale.

      Partner will lay off 100 workers, mostly from the corporate division, the company said. In a statement, Partner said it was cutting staff “as part of a unified approach to personnel needs in the light of the company's current changing situation.” Those changes, industry experts said, surrounded the sharp cuts in prices Partner and its competitors in the cell phone business, due to the influx of smaller, cheaper competitors, like Golan Telecom and Hot Telecom. Both those services, along with several others, have undercut Partner, along with Pelephone and Cellcom – the “traditional” cell phone service companies – and the company has been forced into yet another round of layoffs in order to stay profitable.

      Freescale, which makes and designs microprocessors, will fire 150 of its 450 workers at its Herzliya headquarters. The company fired 120 workers in 2009, when it still had 600 workers. The firings were somewhat surprising, said analysts, because the company just last month advertised that it was hiring 30 engineers.

      The company has experienced heavy losses on the NASDAQ exchange over the past year, and in the second quarter reported a $34 million loss. Analysts said that the losses and layoffs were due to weakness in the microprocessor sector, which has been suffering for several years due to consolidation in the industry.