Rosetta Stone layoffs mostly skip Arlington, hit Harrisonburg

Layoffs announced Tuesday by Rosetta Stone Inc., a maker of language-learning software, will mostly spare its Arlington headquarters, which will lose nine positions under organizational shifts the company is making.

The bulk of the roughly 70 cuts will hit Rosetta Stone’s office in Harrisonburg, Va., which went through a round of layoffs last year, according to a company spokesman. Rosetta Stone now houses 361 of its about 1,500-person global workforce there. The company employs 186 in Arlington’s Rosslyn area.

While laying off people in some offices, the company said it would open offices in San Francisco and Austin, Texas, both hubs of developer talent. It also plans to introduce new products aimed at kids as well as intermediate and advanced English speakers. Those new offices have “the combined capacity to house roughly 100 employees,” according to a news release.

The changes underscore the challenges of adjusting a big, old-school tech company to the realities of cloud-based computing. Rosetta Stone, known for its bright yellow software boxes and retail kiosks, has seen its model shift increasingly from a CD-ROM product to an online subscription-based service.

Those changes “bring with it different technology platforms and different product development processes,” said Rosetta Stone spokesman Jonathan Mudd. The jobs cut were associated with the company’s older products, he said.

Rosetta Stone share (NYSE: RST) were down slightly Tuesday afternoon to $13.31.


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