they were doing nothing with all the people.
that's why it's so easy to lay them off.
you have to understand that they kept hiring people because they had money and there plenty of people to hire, they didn't have a plan what they were doing with them.
also you have to understand that hiring shitloads of people gave the execs more prestige in finland.
also just dumping money with no creative thought is why the angry birds marketing pictures are now all fancy 'pretty' 3d with no artistic merit.
also you might want to remember that Rovio's high income comes from product sales(hats etc angry birds crap) that the company doesn't make and which only needs few people in the company to handle the licensing for.
and last but not least they have not come up with a single game idea in house EVER. so the well respected leaders of the company don't really understand how to make another interesting game or how little money it actually took. the leaders really have NO IDEA WHATSOEVER what made Angry Birds a hit and it shows. and they didn't come up with the idea for angry birds either, it's a ripoff of another game LIKE ALL THE GAMES PRODUCED BY ROVIO EVER, that wouldn't be too bad if they knew what was worth ripping off but they're going solely by luck - also they're putting a number of games they did under the rug by not mentioning them on their site at all(like stuff that was made on commission for nokia).
that they have no idea what made it a hit doesn't really stop them from flying around the globe giving ego lectures on what made it a hit. that's only making things worse really.
rovio is dumping 75 million into a movie. if everything is as it seems, that's about 65 million too much for the cgi flick movie they're making - but the thought process was more money = more quality, but it doesn't work like that with art(games are art, movies are art).
in short, they're not what Rare was and the execs were interested in ballooing the company so that they can have a big company - they didn't balloon the company to any purpose so that's why they're laying people off, they never had any work to begin with, you only need so much of angry birds stock graphics..
also it's not really connected to the current startup financial state. they're not a startup. it might affect how much money the execs have to splash around at other startups in efforts to buy some talent though but that's about it.
they should have kept their developer teams at under 10 persons per game. they're just fucking arcade clones of other games that have simple assets to manage and simple engines to write.