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Technology OMM lays off more workers

A San Diego maker of optical telecommunications switches has chosen to simplify its product line, and by doing so laid off about 100 employees in late July.

This is the third round of layoffs at Optical Micro Machines Inc., or OMM, since April.

OMM made the layoffs July 27, trimming its staff to 220, said Conrad Burke, the company’s senior vice president of marketing and business development.

The company laid off roughly 60 people between July 7-9, and about 40 in April, he said.

Burke said the company was paring a research and development effort that would not see customers in the immediate future. Specifically, the company is halting work on large, rack-mounted optical switches.

“Feedback from equipment manufacturers and network operators indicates that the market for (such switches) will not materialize for two years or more,” company officials said in a prepared statement.

OMM makes optical MEMS (micro electro-mechanical systems) switches, which it sells to telecommunications equipment builders.

The San Diego company will now concentrate on an optical switch line that bounces light within a plane, or two dimensions. OMM has 28 customers for the two-dimensional switches. These have been built into telecom equipment that is now going through carrier trials, Burke said.

The halted program concentrated on switches that shift light signals within three dimensions. It had been “fairly ambitious,” Burke said, adding the company would keep the intellectual property for the three-dimensional switches.

OMM is a venture-backed, privately held company. Burke said the company has raised more than $100 million.

He also said the most recent quarter was the company’s fifth consecutive quarter of revenue growth.

Telcordia Technologies recently determined OMM’s switches are “carrier class” telecommunications products.

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