Monday, December 29, 2008

No Layoffs at Microsoft, and a Round-up of other Recent Comments

NO LAYOFFS: first, I think it's fair to give some time to comments in the last post that wanted to absolutely dismiss any sort of Microsoft layoff rumor, starting off from one from 12/28/2008 (various comments edited to be condensed a bit):

NO LAYOFFS @microsoft

Yes, Executives are looking for measures to cut cost. And that can be done without any layoffs. Current hiring rate is slow at MS and considering the natural attrition, we will have lesser workforce at the end of FY09.

We are not immune to recession and our bottom line will see a hit for few quarters. We expect a full recovery by FY10 Q3. We are very optimistic that this recession is an opportunity for us and we will play our cards well. Urge all Microsoft employees to stay focus and keep doing the great work. You will hear more from SteveB soon on his plans. Thank you !!

and another from 12/27/2008:

For the last time folks -- THERE ARE NO LAYOFFS HAPPENINGS IN JANUARY..[...] beyond Jan...well we dont have a crystal ball -- but if the economy doesnt improve and the company misses targets -- it would get uglier for everyone -- from no raises/no bonuses to {maybe}cutbacks/layoffs... but then, those are the rules of the game in corporate America..

so for now -- enjoy your holidays, have a new year blast and then get back and work your ass off in the coming months --- for the overwhleming majority of you there -- things would be just fine!!!! PLEASE DONT PANIC!

From 12/23/2008, a more likely scenario that feels like a layoff but gives corporate cover:

MS will not do straight layoff. It will re-org, and cut groups/projects. Say 2000 FTE are given 4 weeks to land a new job within MS, I bet 1500 will find nothing and will be forced to leave. So no layoff, let's call it "reorg-off" and MS can even save layoff package.

In-line with that, from 12/21/2008, bringing up an interesting point about H1Bs:

[T]his company simply could not go through a round of layoff (mind you I did not say a RIF, as we've all seen those) but the H1-B rules would force all of the cheap labor to be shown the door first, regardless of ranking. And Microsoft lives for ranking. Microsoft wakes up in the morning and get an enormous boner over rankings. So don't suggest for a second that there is some dismal, far reaching lay off coming down the river. Microsoft would never give up the chance to use selecting RIF'ing to demote the lowly ranked. If anything there will be selective investments, as has been stated time and time again. But no, Microsoft will not be showing the H1-B employees the door. Never going to happen, in my opinion.

When is a layoff not a layoff: which teams are at risk to re-orgs / cut-backs / RIF'ing? This comment from 12/29/2008 talks about Entertainment and Devices:

We (E&D management) had a meeting with Ballmer around eight-weeks ago. Ballmer discussed the GE approach to laying off the bottom 10% every year. When asked how Wall Street would respond to our layoffs, he said they would be happy.

We will be handing out a list of names to teams within E&D. This list will contain the 20% / Exceeded from the last review period. Teams will cherry pick who they want.

The original plan was to announce the layoff prior to Christmas. When we notified the [governor], we were asked to hold off until after the holidays.

Other things going on (from 12/27/2008):

  1. Several big customers have not renewed SAs. This isn't just Vista, but also Exchange and other major revenue-generating products. Several contracts are going from being in the top-5 to zero. 2009 Q1 and Q2 are going to be horrific.
  2. The whole worldwide economy is in a major slump. Toyota is losing money, for crying out loud. Microsoft leadership is working very hard to avoid mass layoffs -- unlike many other software companies that are cutting even if they don't have to. There's lots of creative thinking going into finding ways to cut costs without harming employees.
  3. One of the more likely solutions to be employed is no bonuses in 2009 reviews. What are you going to do, quit?
  4. Hiring is way, way down. Except for a scattered few positions here and there (SQL Server, Live Services, Search, etc.), Microsoft has almost no openings for external hires.

From 12/24/2008:

One of the "rumors" I've heard around the watercooler is that we are looking at a 10% layoff, and part of those heads will come from the open headcount that is out there.

I'm on one of the teams that are still caught in the middle of a re-org that keeps getting postponed and our Director has told his direct reports to start looking for other positions. Outside of that, nothing has funneled down to the individual teams.

Contractors are being dropped (from 12/22/2008):

I have been asked to let go of two of my contractors end of the month even though they have a month remaining in their contracts. Funny because on Dec 1 we were talking of renewing their contracts. Something big seems to have happened in the past couple of weeks, I suppose. However I still see our Director of Development hanging on in the team despite having no work. He was removed from the team about 6 weeks back and has no one reporting to him or no say in the product.

Regarding what's going on the the Field (12/22/2008):

Thanks to the wonderful mergers in the financial world…Technical Account Managers at Merrill Lynch, Wachovia, and Morgan Stanley were kicked out of those accounts. In central region the automakers basically kicked every Microsoft rep/engineer/consulting out till Mid 2009. And let’s talk about the rest of the field…ya know the people who support our customers and our products….people in Premier/Consulting/DPE. As our customers are cutting back our PFEs and consulting FTE’s have been forced to fight with each other on getting meager engagements with customers. Services management was talking as recently as August about hiring upwards of 2000 in FY08. Now with so many people sitting on the bench and not engaged at customers…is it the fault of the services employees or Corp’s fault for over hiring? There have been several internal calls within the last week where RIF planning was discussed.

Comment from 12/22/2008 regarding Microsoft Advertising:

Rumor confirmed from Microsoft Advertising. There are several areas within the organization that I can confirm an upcoming "reorg." Leaders of undisclosed groups have been asked to represent materials around their groups' long term plans and feasibility. I think this one is going to be big, hopefully they just cut the fat. There is plenty of it from my experience.

On cost-cutting:

Groups everywhere are being forced to cut costs - but good thing the Zune guys had a nice holiday party. At least they're profitable so they can cover the costs... oh wait. Probably cost as much as the annual salary of a couple L60-61s

And to the commenter about Robbie's group being on a hiring freeze for awhile - true, but the only reason they got there is because of "crazy hiring"... 800+ people in Zune alone?

Teams not at risk? Office seems to be at the top of that pile. OfficeGuy writes on 12/29/2008:

Layoffs: Office and Windows are unlikely to reorg/lay people off in the near future and are [relatively] safe - we need to ship a high quality product soon (and we will this time, no doubt), so losing even the bottom 10% or whatever could have a negative effect on these two cash cows (and it is too late to replace the fat with new blood this late in the cycle). Having spent a few years in Office I can say that this org is huge but I haven't seen real slackers or dumb useless people (maybe I'm just lucky). By looking at my team that has a lot of junior developers/college hires, I'd hate to lose even the bottom 10% - all these folks do try hard and the team is really respectable in Office.

Office again (from 12/22/2008):

College recruiting (at least in Office) is still firing on all cylinders - managers are being told that there will be a seat ready for every great college candidate we want to hire. The pool of highly qualified grads desperate for a job is as deep as it's ever been in recent years.

So if that is true, I'm skeptical that MSFT will announce anything that even remotely sounds like layoffs. Can you imagine the lawsuits if people are ushered out one door with a pink slip while fresh college grads walk in the other door?

Instead we'll see tightening of performance standards and aggressive managing-out of the low performers. The last thing anyone is going to call it is "layoffs"...

One commenter from 12/22/2008 warns:

Don't assume that firing 10%'ers == 10% cost cutting - it doesn't. To reduce salary costs approx 10% requires cuts into the bottom of the 70% bucket too.

January 15th: so do I think anything is going to happen January 15th? Well, it is after CES (we certainly don't want any bad news before that - though look carefully at the groups there and not there) and before quarterly results (no bad surprises delivered with results - check). But after the rather alarming attention the previous rumor-driven post got, even if something was going to happen January 15th I'd completely expect that's off the table now. Sorry, Oppenheimer & Co.

Gossip Grrrls: did I hear any solid facts during all the snow parties I slushed around at during the Christmas holidays? Nope. Just still a bunch of second hand rumors, probably filtered through people's own agendas and likes and dislikes. Stuff like:

  • Pffft, layoffs, come on! That jerk-ass blogger. Don't-worry-about-it, it's just the loss of open headcount and no backfill for attrition.
  • It's not just the bottom 10% being moved on but also folks in the lower Achieved/70% range (like people who worked themselves up from 10% or are on the way down to 10%). A commenter above had the same observation.
  • Some products and some teams are just gone.
  • Note that we've read a lot of comments about Entertainment and Devices and Server and Tools. All the gossip I hear swirls around them.
  • Prototype, redundant, and pie-in-the-sky teams are going to be re-org'd into everyday meat-and-potato teams. We're going to have a bunch of spare code names soon.
  • It's a layoff masked as rhythm-of-business reorganization plus performance management plus Not To Exceed staffing budgets being strictly enforced.

That last point is interesting around labor laws that I don't begin to know anything about, laws like when a layoff comes that the H1B hires are supposed to be the first to be let go and the Working Adjustment and Retraining Act one commenter brought up. If this is a stealth layoff due to a lot of RIF'ing and those people leave because there are no matching open positions, does Microsoft have legal cover against this being an honest to goodness "layoff?"

I think a requirement like having to shed all the H1B hires absolutely nullifies Microsoft doing a classic layoff. We just wouldn't let go of those people.

Oh, and in closing, the following question came in with a comment from 12/27/2008:

Mini - the entire premise of your blog is that MSFT needs to reduce in size, be more efficient, be more cost-effective. While the reason is not the ideal one (forced upon MSFT by outside economy, rather than developed as part of smart strategy), the end result will be the same. If MSFT is a capable company at its core at all, it will survive, evolve and thrive.

If there truly is a round of layoffs, and MSFT ends up becoming the leaner, meaner, smarter, more innovative company you wanted... shouldn't you be ecstatic?

It's a pretty tempered ecstasy. Yes, I want a smaller Microsoft because I believe that Microsoft has exploded in size for no good reason. Going back to 2004. Even with the continued hiring binge since I started this blog, I had a small glimmer of hope that reason would be seen and discipline enacted to hire a limited set of high caliber contributors - and flush out the employees who are better suited working elsewhere. That never happened. And now we're in a, "golly-gee-wilikers the cash ain't coming in like it was and we've done gone and hired all these people! Yeep! How'd that happen?!?" mode.

In a year, when this all passes, we'll be back to hiring like crazy, learning nothing. Unless the leaders at Microsoft that run tight, well managed organizations can step up during this time and flush out the binge-hirers. There's my little glimmer.

(Edit: put in links to the appropriate sources for the comments I quoted above.)


553 comments:

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Anonymous said...

loved the new post on the InsideMS blog today about these rumors.

I'm not going to post the official Microsoft response to these rumors here (that's an internal matter). Make sure to check the blog out as soon as you get in on Monday.

===

nice try :)

Anonymous said...

Not a member of the Zune team but here is my opinion on getting the brand work. At least, a few principles on how to execute toward that goal.
- First and foremost, make a product people will LOVE. Yes, that and only that should be the ultimate goal.
- Don't settle for anything less than great, or go home. Good enough = failure.
- Stop trying to copy Apple. Even more, ignore completely what Apple does. Try to find your own soul.

And, finally, LISTEN to feedback from other MS people. Even if that means a few tears now and then. People send comments (good or bad) on your product because they ultimately care about it.


I'm the guy who posted the remarks you quoted in your comment (take my word for it). And I wanted to say, THANK YOU. That's the sentiment we've been echoing all along. "Try to find your soul" is as good a mission statement as I've heard since I've been here, and it's the element Zune needs to grasp. That's perfect. Thanks for saying it.

I have never given one ounce of thought to what Apple is doing, because we're trying to do something original. It is very hard to do something original as a reaction to something else, even something as monolithic as the iPod.

But you have to try. We're trying to build a brand that curries loyalty. So far so good, really -- the events of NYE unfortunately excepted.

My department has a consistent, enduring desire for greatness. Again, we know what we're capable of. We know what we're trying to achieve. This isn't just a wage-slave job for us; we're here because we believe in the idea. Hopefully we'll have more chances to execute that idea.

To the guy who said our ad campaigns reflected arrogance: I apologize if that's the impression you got, but we really don't feel that way. I think the attitude of Apple over the last few years projects tons more arrogance that we're capable of with Zune.

As for thinking Zune's cooler than anyone else at MS, trust me: I don't. I still feel rejected by every other MS division. I feel like a bastard stepchild. We're not trying to prove we're cooler; we're just trying to establish legitimacy. We don't want to be taken more seriously than any other MS company -- just as seriously, someday. And we're willing to work at it.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, couldn't resist:

Ok, now I think Zune sucks. This is one of the big problems with your ad campaigns too. You guys think you are cooler than everyone else. You're not. The "Microsoft Way" is what's pulling in all of the money, allowing you to lose large sums of cash yet still keep people employed (at least until mid-January). You guys can't even get a Windows Mobile client shipped. Haven't you heard of the phrase "better together"?

First of all, why are we talking about us being "cooler than anyone else"? We're not in high school anymore. This isn't a community theater production of Grease, for Chrissakes.

Second of all, we don't think we're cooler. Personally speaking I feel like an outcast in the context of all other MS divisions. The most humbling experience I ever had was going to last summer's Product Fair and having to face everyone else who was more than happy to tell us how much they despised us. That did not make me feel cool at all.

"Cool" has nothing to do with it. Your suggestion that it does reflects a really odd immaturity on your part. We're trying just as hard -- maybe too hard -- to be as worthy as all other MS divisions. When I put in 12-hour days to try and make Zune successful, I assure you my "coolness" has nothing to do with it. It never crosses my mind.

We are better together, I grant you that. And we're trying to be worthy, and belong. Zune does not have an "us-against-the-rest-of-MS" mentality. We're just trying to be the best Microsoft music business possible. Our ads reflect that. If our alleged "cooler-than-thou" attitude makes you insecure, there's not much we can do about that. It's not our intention.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Oh sure. Because you and your employer painstakingly inspected every single physical object and piece of software that you use in your workplace to ensure that they meets all requirements perfectly. In other words, don't be a hypocrite. Everybody ultimately has to trust to some extent that things that they buy are fit for their intended puprose or nobody would get anything done.

Okay, I will publicly confess: I have not painstakingly tested my office chair, my desk, my post-it notes, or my overhead lighting fixtures to ensure that they meet all requirements under all foreseeable scenarios.

I do, however, painstakingly peform such tests on the things that I SHIP TO OUR CUSTOMERS.

Your failure to grasp the kinda-important distinction between the former and latter cases speaks volumes. If you insist on "defending" us in public, could you please find an argument that doesn't make us look like even bigger fools than this leap-year fiasco already has?

Freescale did not thoroughly test their driver. We did not thoroughly test our product. People don't buy drivers; they buy products. When the product they bought fails, they tend not to care whose particular faulty sub-widget led to the failure; they get angry at the people who built and sold them the product.

And look, if you've ever shipped something, then you've shipped something with bugs in it. God knows I have, and I'm not here to bash anyone else for that. My point is simply that there's a right way and a wrong way to respond to such things when they happen -- especially if the bug in question is highly visible, causes serious inconvenience to your customers, and is the result of an embarrassingly simple oversight.

Hint: Desperately covering your own ass and denying any responsibility for the performance of your own product is not the right way. Would you want to buy anything from people who acted like that?

Anonymous said...

"I loved the new post on the InsideMS blog today about these rumors"

...not seeing it. Deleted?

Anonymous said...

insideMs has not been updated since 12/18 ... trolling for an NTLM entry on the page? jeez.

Anonymous said...

Just checked and there is nothing in InsideMS as of right now. Last post is from 12/15

Anonymous said...

I loved the new post on the InsideMS blog today about these rumors.

----- There is no such post. Shame on you for posting the above.

Anonymous said...

Really? There's no post. Go away.

< I loved the new post on the InsideMS blog today about these rumors.

Anonymous said...

"I loved the new post on the InsideMS blog today about these rumors"

I can only assume that you're trying to feed the rumor mill, as I can find no new posts on InsideMS regarding this topic. Perhaps I'm looking at the wrong InsideMS blog? The last entry I can find regards a general layout and design update to the site...

Anonymous said...

I loved the new post on the InsideMS blog today about these rumors.

I'm not going to post the official Microsoft response to these rumors here (that's an internal matter). Make sure to check the blog out as soon as you get in on Monday.


I'm on right now, and I don't see anything of note related to this topic. Has the comment been removed? If not, where are you seeing it?

Anonymous said...

Actually the plan is to focus on people with two 10% ratings in a row or in some cases 2 out of 3 years... it is not 2 10% ratings your entire career.

Honestly, this is nothing new... it happens all the time but in an economic downturn we get to actually execute on this plan instead of just talk alot about it with HR which IMO is great!

Anonymous said...

I loved the new post on the InsideMS blog today about these rumors.

For those of you who can't get to it, that's sarcasm, since the InsideMS blog has no such post.

Anonymous said...

Just noticed Mini's post from October 19, where he states:

"While hiring freezes aren't any fun (more below) you probably prefer them to full-blown Reduction in workForce (RIFs... though I guess that would be called RIWs or RIWFs).

What we need, though, is one big RIF."

Well, Mini, now that you're going to get your one big RIF... happy now? I assume you will be, because you won't be in it. But if you were somehow caught up in a RIF, you'd be singing a very different tune...

Anonymous said...

Looks like a lot of panic around here :-)

I think Ballmer should do something about this like an announcement. One thing good that happen is that employees & contractors are working harder or at least be seen working hard.

Less of those emails about WFH but will not check email.

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to post the official Microsoft response to these rumors here (that's an internal matter). Make sure to check the blog out as soon as you get in on Monday.

Hi, Lisa! Nice to see you posting somewhere.

Anonymous said...

I stopped using IE for the most part with version 7

I was converted to FF by "adblock plus" plugin. The plugin give me a very clean web page. I couldn't find similar feature on IE.

Anonymous said...

Cut the workforce by 17% by... 2:)Eliminating anyone who has 10% ers two times in their career in MS.

Unfortunately there has to be another batch of 10%-ers to fill for the fired 10%-ers. Will you be in the next wave?

Anonymous said...

Well, Mini, now that you're going to get your one big RIF... happy now? I assume you will be, because you won't be in it. But if you were somehow caught up in a RIF, you'd be singing a very different tune...

Though I can't speak for Mini, I share many of the concerns he does about the company, namely that we have lost focus and through unrestrained growth have diluted our effectiveness.

I was taken up with a RIF Late last year (there were three that I know of between September and December, probably more). They Riffed Level 65 down as best I know, everything from our PUM down. We all had to find jobs.

It was, without question, the right thing to do. If executive management doesn't support the product, they should END the product, and send people on their way.

Unfortunately, I have serious issues with the outcome. Because of "legal" reasons everyone gets RIFd. The idea being that bottom 10%ers won't get jobs. Unfortunately that isn't true. Good and better performers lost their Microsoft Jobs while crappy performers got jobs because they could handle the interview loops. Apparently the hiring managers just don't give a damn about the actual review scores (or content) given by the managers in that team.

People with 10 years of Microsoft experience were given college hire interviews ("Can you please code me a bubble sort?", "Please design me an eyewash system for a factory floor", "How would you test a coke machine?"). People with 30 patents were told they were "uncreative". People with 7 years of coding experience (well documented, and traceable) were told they couldn't code. NOT once did the hiring team call for recommendations, or apparently read reviews.

We have a comprehensive and a sometimes disturbing review policy that is completely ignored when transferring to a new group .

Those people can have the bottom 10% that know how to design a floorplan in a factory, and Microsoft can keep them. As I said earlier I'll be taking my 20% self elsewhere. The resume is out, and there are jobs in this environment. Sadly, it appears that anywhere may actually be better than Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

"I still feel rejected by every other MS division. I feel like a bastard stepchild. We're not trying to prove we're cooler; we're just trying to establish legitimacy. We don't want to be taken more seriously than any other MS company -- just as seriously, someday. And we're willing to work at it."

Talk is cheap. So are good intentions. Results are what count. You've already had YEARS to establish your legitimacy by taking share from Apple and making a profit. You have done neither. In a regular startup, you'd now be bankrupt. Instead, you complain about not being taking seriously by the groups whose profits you have wasted.

Anonymous said...

"I've become a Zune convert since picking up an 8GB a few months back. I think they receive a lot of crap from people that haven't given their product an honest chance. Their subscription service is excellent and affordable, plus you get to keep 10 songs a month now. The desktop software is _lightyears_ better than iTunes, have you honestly used it lately and still think iTunes is better? C'mon..."

Well, the device is ok, but Zune desktop software is terrible. It literally freezes my machine, eating 100% CPU. Plus it is the biggest memory eater, I have ever seen! Hey, Zune developers, there are those tools called profilers, why don't you try them out?

Anonymous said...

I loved the new post on the InsideMS blog today about these rumors.
Rumor is MSIT is capturing IP addresses of all people trying to view Lisa's post - you will be black-listed , or shall we say RIF-listed.

Anonymous said...

Mini had good point from the very beginning by pointing out that MS needs to shrink down. It has gotten too bloated and been going down hill since Win XP launch.

Focus on delivering the best software and get the heck out of hardware including mouse & keyboard. Foray to E&D was one of the biggest mistake with embarrassments like latest Zune fiasco and overheating Xbox 360 which are good examples of amateurs running hardware. Look let Apple and Sony handle it. I'm 100% sure that Sony and even Apple (besides OS) would fail miserably if they tried to compete with MS on software.

So why no spin off Bach's baby E&D?

Anonymous said...

I am sure among the 200+ comments here, there has to be a SHRED of truth in here. That said, there are some obvious departments that need cutting and are extremely over staffed: Many marketing teams are over staffed. We have areas of the company where we have individuals working that have no right to work here. I have worked at this company for over 15-years and the quality of some of the hires over the recent years is downright embarrassing. Mini: Are we allowed to call out specific groups here that we think can use deep cuts?

Anonymous said...

"Rumor is MSIT is capturing IP addresses of all people trying to view Lisa's post - you will be black-listed , or shall we say RIF-listed."

FUD, FUD, FUD

Anonymous said...

Please, if you are working in a group which doesn't generate any reliable profit stream to Microsoft, I recommend you to get your resume ready. Also, please do all the homework right now to identify all the posted internal jobs that match your skill set. When this is announced, there will be a mad rush to apply and only the people who are prepared will have any chance.

Anonymous said...

I loved the new post on the InsideMS blog today about these rumors.

I'm not going to post the official Microsoft response to these rumors here (that's an internal matter). Make sure to check the blog out as soon as you get in on Monday.

What post? I just looked, the lasted thing I see is "HRWeb has changed" from 12/15/2008. Do you have a link (yeah, I know it won't work outside corpnet).


Same here. I'm seeing nothing on InsideMS. Perhaps the response was removed from the blog.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft Readies Cost-Cuts; Though Massive Layoff Unlikely

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28482589/

Anonymous said...

Microsoft Plans Cost Cuts, But Huge Layoffs Unlikely

http://www.cnbc.com/id/28483075

Anonymous said...

"I loved the new post on the InsideMS blog today about these rumors."

Rumor is MSIT is capturing IP addresses of all people trying to view Lisa's post - you will be black-listed , or shall we say RIF-listed."


OK Mini, c'mon -- posting this kind of nonsense is just irresponsible, especially given the amount of media attention on this post.

Moderate this crap!

Anonymous said...

Probably much closer to the truth is this article...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28482589/

Anonymous said...

"Rumor is MSIT is capturing IP addresses of all people trying to view Lisa's post - you will be black-listed , or shall we say RIF-listed."

Seriously, STFU. Take your schadenfreude BS elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Rumor is MSIT is capturing IP addresses of all people trying to view Lisa's post - you will be black-listed , or shall we say RIF-listed.

Right ... well, I guess all those people in MSIT have to have some work to do

Anonymous said...

RE: People with 10 years of Microsoft experience were given college hire interviews ("Can you please code me a bubble sort?", "Please design me an eyewash system for a factory floor", "How would you test a coke machine?"). People with 30 patents were told they were "uncreative". People with 7 years of coding experience (well documented, and traceable) were told they couldn't code. NOT once did the hiring team call for recommendations, or apparently read reviews.

Yeah, what's up with that, anyway? It's like they only know how to interview college hires. The whole idea that anything you did before the interview doesn't count for squat is also pretty silly, too. (But, if you're just used to interviewing college hires, then that's not a problem, I suppose).

On the one hand, MSFT is passing on experience to take on energy (which would be fine if simply moving around quickly actually produced something worthwhile). On the other hand, if they're looking for bubble-sort coders (or re-coders), you probably wouldn't have been happy in the group. In that sense it was best that you both found that out early in the game.

Anonymous said...

confirmed from a highly reputable (read CxO-level) source. layoffs are coming, many would be wise to get their resumes in order.

Anonymous said...

I do, however, painstakingly peform such tests on the things that I SHIP TO OUR CUSTOMERS.

Hohoho. So you're telling me that if you worked at some other consumer electronics company, you'd personally inspect the embedded OS and drivers in your product's firmware? If you worked for another software company, you'd personally validate the VS CRT or .NET Framework version shipped with your products? I'm afraid I'm going to have to call you a liar, sir.

Frankly, I find it hard to believe you work in the software industry at all, let alone in a Microsoft product engineering group, if you can trivialize the cost of validation of a complex system.

Would you want to buy anything from people who acted like that?

You'd better hope like hell that they do. MS has been taking it on the chin for Windows BSODs caused by bad drivers for years and I don't see that situation ending soon.

I agree that the Zune team has the responsibility to fix the situation but they are not to blame; Freescale and their shoddy code is and that deserves to be made known.

Anonymous said...

I loved the new post on the InsideMS blog today about these rumors.

Troll alert... (it got you going, didn't it?)

I guess that, alternatively, it could be sarcasm. Hmm...maybe...kind of...

Anonymous said...

hey, china counterfit ring is busted which will be 2 billion + in revenue ... so no layoff just on this one news ...

Anonymous said...

Quote:
However, sources tell me the cuts will largely be handled through attrition and the non-renewal of contract employees, rather than through a rumored, sweeping layoff

from:
http://www.cnbc.com/id/28483075

which means the org convergence, repeat 10%ers and general cost cutting.

Anonymous said...

We have a comprehensive and a sometimes disturbing review policy that is completely ignored when transferring to a new group .

Yeah, this is a major problem with our RIF process. The requirement to do full interview loops for internal transfers has been a disaster. Because if you are required to do it, it naturally has to mean something, right? So suddenly you are throwing out years of trustworthy internal documentation and references on a person in favor of a handful of 1 hour conversations.

Anonymous said...

Couple points and two questions...

Regarding the Zune being 800 strong. Zune did not hire 800 people. They grew that large in part due to the AmirM departure. Several DMD teams were re-orged into Zune.

Roughly 80 of the 800 are L65 and above.


Interesting. Archos employs about 200 people.

There have been rumors of the Charlotte site get shutdown for years. Now is a great time to actually cut back in those areas.

Microsoft actually bought the Charlotte buildings for $66mil last year.


Questions:

- Is Brad Reback related to Gary Reback?

- Do our L68ers have a 20/70/10 split like you'd find in lower levels? Or is it assumed that they're so awesome for making L68 that they're all 20/high-70?

Anonymous said...

>>

Hohoho. So you're telling me that if you worked at some other consumer electronics company, you'd personally inspect the embedded OS and drivers in your product's firmware? If you worked for another software company, you'd personally validate the VS CRT or .NET Framework version shipped with your products? I'm afraid I'm going to have to call you a liar, sir.

Frankly, I find it hard to believe you work in the software industry at all, let alone in a Microsoft product engineering group, if you can trivialize the cost of validation of a complex system.

Would you want to buy anything from people who acted like that?

You'd better hope like hell that they do. MS has been taking it on the chin for Windows BSODs caused by bad drivers for years and I don't see that situation ending soon.

I agree that the Zune team has the responsibility to fix the situation but they are not to blame; Freescale and their shoddy code is and that deserves to be made known.

- end of pasted comment --


You are completely out of touch with how products are presented to customers, how customers make up their minds about brands, and about your responsibilities to deliver great results for your customers. Outside of a very *few* people inside Redmond that own a Zune, no real customer would even know who freescale is, none of them would care who made the mistake in the code (or hardware, or documentation, or packaging or whatever) its a Microsoft product and you decide the bar you set for how your customer will perceive you. There is no other choice.

NASA was at fault because they didn't catch the o-ring issue, Car companies don't shrug their shoulders because a vendor made a shoddy seat belt or sensor, and we don't get to do that with our products either.

It sounds like you probably work in Windows, and I feel for you -- in particular because many of the driver issues are caused by OEM or vendor installs to support ever changing hardware. Its true that we have issues there in figuring out how to certify that the system is safe, performant, and working, and its likely "not our fault" that it isn't working as designed because of faulty ISV code. BUT, even in that case, Microsoft is the one with the issue. Windows has the reputation as bloated and buggy by the 300M users, not Nvidia drivers..

Zune, of course, is several standard deviations from that -- since there we spec the hardware and software and are responsible for the bar of quality bar none. That's the way it works whether we want it to or not. The guy at target will never read your trenchant admonition of freescale, and if he did, would not care. He'd just remember that Microsoft sold him a defective or shoddy product.

Anonymous said...

>"I was converted to FF by "adblock plus" plugin."

Ok Off topic, but, if you like adblock, you'll love noscript. It is kick-ass for browsing security. Perfect for those who want browser script managed by the user.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I find it hard to believe you work in the software industry at all, let alone in a Microsoft product engineering group...

Well, I wish I could say the same about you, but in fact it's all too easy to believe.

...if you can trivialize the cost of validation of a complex system.

You're honestly telling me that you don't think this bug should have been caught during testing, prior to release? Really?

We're not talking about one of those cases where the problem only occurs if you press nine buttons in some specific, arcane sequence while holding the device at a 42-degree angle during a full moon while standing in the Southern hemisphere. This is basic stuff. When a core feature of your product (in this case, the DRM) depends on properly handling times and dates, then you make sure that it's able to cope with leap years, daylight savings time, and all those similar (not exactly secret) boundary cases. In validation terms, this is about as "complex" as checking for nulls or making sure you don't divide by zero. Interns are expected to know how to do these things.

I fully appreciate your point about the challenge of exhaustively validating complex systems, but this case comes nowhere near qualifying for that excuse. We're not talking about a product like Windows that's expected to function with every hardware/driver combination in the universe, including ones that didn't yet exist at the time of its release. We're talking about the 30G Zune -- a device that we designed and built, a device that the user can't even crack open without voiding its warranty. At the time we released it, furthermore, it was the only model we made. It has exactly one hardware configuration and ships with exactly one set of drivers. You're telling me that's too many to test thoroughly? Come on.

And for the record, I'm not one of the "shut down Zune" posters who have been commenting on this thread. I own a Zune (there, that should prove I work at Microsoft), I love it, and I've been impressed as hell by a lot of the innovations that the Zune team has been making lately (MixView, the subscribe-to-own plan, and the list goes on). The overall vision for this product is superb, in my opinion, far more coherent and targeted than is the Microsoft norm, and I'd love to see it gain the level of success it deserves.

Which is why it pains me so much that the broadest press coverage the thing has ever gotten would be about something so dumb, and so easily preventable.

Anonymous said...

>> We're talking about the 30G Zune -- a device that we designed and built

Except we didn't. Toshiba did. It's a rebranded Toshiba Gigabeat with the same hardware, same drivers and different software on top.

Anonymous said...

at level 65 ( i think), the stack rank model gets thrown out because everyone is jsut too awesome to be ranked and yanked

the bonuses get much better too, instead of the 0-15%, its 20-40%

it's good to be the king

Anonymous said...

Curious, what is the typical salary range for a Lead SDE/Lead SDET? Does MS pay very well OR is pay largely tied to bonus and other perks? With the stock price at ~19$, I wonder what the current pay scale looks like. I know MS's benefit package is an awesome one.
Any input is appreciated.
Thanks

jcr said...

The fact is, J Allard's departure removed any validity our company may have had as a visionary company.

I'm trying really hard to figure out if this is tragedy or utterly brilliant satire.

-jcr

Anonymous said...

> One thing good that happen is
> that employees & contractors are
> working harder or at least be
> seen working hard.

I am not sure where you are seeing this? It is definitely not what I am seeing in my immediate team. The slackers are still slackers and are not working harder. On the other hand, the guys that usually do most of the work find it very hard to stay focused and to put in 60+ hours to complete another insane milestone while such rumors are going on.

> Microsoft Plans Cost Cuts, But
> Huge Layoffs Unlikely
> http://www.cnbc.com/id/28483075

I find this cnbc article as unbelievable as the Fudzilla blog. If MSFT is serious about cutting cost then the execs must be planning for more than simply "attrition". We can not hope to see a lot of attrition in this economy and if there is any attrition, it will be "bad attrition" (20% and 70% ers leaving).

Anonymous said...

Rumor is MSIT is capturing IP addresses of all people trying to view Lisa's post - you will be black-listed , or shall we say RIF-listed.

No worries then if MSIT is doing it. It'll take them 3 days to figure out how to log IP addresses, then a few more days to escalate it to the group that can implement it.

Anonymous said...

>> pay range Lead SDE/Lead SDET

Depends on the level and your performance, but generally Microsoft no longer puts much of an emphasis on stock compensation. It does add up, though, if you spend a decade or so with the company.

Money will be the least of your worries here. You will feel like a hamster on a wheel when it comes to advancing your career, unless you're a part of old boys network or have a great manager. You will be able to advance if you do good, visible work.

Anonymous said...

I think it will be prudent if instead of looking for positions only in internal groups when RIF occurs, people should also look for career opportunities outside MS. Some how people are rigid to look outside.

Anonymous said...

Talk is cheap. So are good intentions. Results are what count. You've already had YEARS to establish your legitimacy by taking share from Apple and making a profit. You have done neither. In a regular startup, you'd now be bankrupt. Instead, you complain about not being taking seriously by the groups whose profits you have wasted.

We've had two years and two months. That's not an eternity. It's a short window to expect someone to turn a profit.

I'm not "complaining" either. I'm not begging all other divisions to give us some respect. That can only be handled in-house; we're responsible for it. Look back on what I said: We need to try harder. Everybody at MS needs to try harder.

Anonymous said...

You probably did not notice I am not a Microsoft employee or contractor, but I do list my website with all my posts.

I should have made it clearer, I was addressing the person you responded to, not you.

Anonymous said...

how about the relocation position.
these people normally get paid higher then the locals. is there any risks of getting layoffs? in window division.

Anonymous said...

how about these folks that relocate to the HQ. normally they get paid way higher then locals. for windows Global TAM position will it be touch base or there's a risks..

Anonymous said...

Some thoughts from the MS field (under-represented in the comments, it seems):

1) While Zune is a decent device, the iPhone/iPod Touch has shown it to be limited and obsolete (even with the recent software update). Neither Zune nor WinMo come anywhere close. Support for RMS and and the ability to search the Exchange server in WinMo 6.1 are not important enough to outweigh all the incredible eye candy and ease of use the iPhone/iPod Touch bring consumers. Pay attention to what Jobs said: the iPhone is the Apple netbook. He'll move next to sell iPod users a piece of hardware with full keyboard and screen that you plug the iDevice into, making it a replacement for a home laptop. He'll be able to do this because of the standard connector on all those devices, something we will never be able to match as long as you have multiple device makers with incompatible hardware interfaces. The strategy we followed with the PC will not succeed in the device space because of the incompatiblity of hardware interfaces. Better for us to make our own phone device so we can standardize the hardware interfaces. I know we tick off some hardware partners by doing this, but what can Motorola, Palm, Samsung and HTC do to us anyway? Support a non-Win Mo OS? Aren't they doing that anyway with Android, Symbian, etc? Doing our own multi-purpose media/phone device is one of the only ways we have to control our destiny in the consumer space. I admit this in just anecdotal, but most of my friends and family are buying iPhones...and if I did not work at MS, I probably would as well. We have to stop chasing the other guy (like we did with Palm and RIM) and build an "insanely great" end to end experiences for customers. Doing this might mean that we make some of the same decisions Apple did, but we should do so with the focus squarely on making our customer's lives better, not simply matching what the competition has done. Our focus on the what the other guy is doing or not doing is what caused us to completely miss the boat on search advertising, the iPod and iPhone.

2) On the relative safety of Redmond jobs vs field sales/service jobs: we in the sales group live under the threat of getting canned every year. If you don't make your number, you're gone. That is very clearly accepted and understood by salespeople in all companies at all times. So, yes, you might see some account execs and services folks get axed (and replaced), but I think the company is smart enough not to make large cuts in quota carrying sales people or revenue generating services folks - as long as they make their numbers. That said, as a sales manager, I can tell you that I don't have a problem with 10%ers being let go because that is as it should be. In my experience, cutting the worst performers actually increases the morale (and motivation) of those that remain. When everyone knows the dead wood is there but no one does anything about it, the effect is cancerous, sapping initiative and morale.

If we are to cut, I can say there are ton of "e-mail pushers" (the MS version of "paper pushers") in places like WW EPG or SMS&P HQ and the BMO who don't add value to what we do in the field, and as far as I can see, don't add value to the product groups either. There should be a fair amount of cuts we can make there.

And speaking of cuts, we waste an atrocious amount of money on things like MGX, the Company Meeting, and various other field internal meetings. Flying 20K sales/marketing people across the world for a week, renting out the Georgia Dome and Six Flags, hiring Pink to play a concert, etc...is a monumental waste of money and should be stopped immediately. .

3) I think all of the moaning and finger-pointing on the "layoff" posts is a sign of what ails us; we are so self-absorbed we don't stop to think about how to delight our customers. If there are going to be layoffs, so be it. We would not be the first company to have them and we wouldn't be the last. So don't worry about the layoffs; they might happen, they might not. Keep your focus on the customer and how what you do will make their life better. With that focus, you just might find that your life gets better as well.

Anonymous said...

>"and if I did not work at MS, I probably would as well. "

Note to Steve Balmer: Why haven't you issued the following statement to your employees?

"Note to all Microsoft employees, if you haven't been buying competitor products, please do so if you can afford the cost. Microsoft will reimburse you equivalent to company store discounts on Microsoft products. You should do this especially if they are viewed as superior to Microsoft products. The purpose is so you can learn every nuance of what is better about our competitors and therefore be in a better position to sell or improve Microsoft products."

Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

During the last quarter MSFT's cash and short term investments decreased by almost $3 bln. If the current trend continues this money will run out in less than a year. Well, some might say that MSFT still has $9.5 bln. in account receivables. This fact might help, but account receivables alone dropped by $4 bln. during the same quarter. On top of that the most recent quarterly report shows almost $2 bln. of debt - the first time MSFT has ever had any debt. Overall, the company's current assets have dropped by $12 bln. in less than 2.5 years. Even though the total assets dropped by only $4.4 bln. during the same period, goodwill has increased by $8.6 bln. Goodwill increase is the only thing that prevents the company's total assets from dropping as fast as its current assets. And as you know, goodwill is an accounting trick that shows how much a company has overpaid for its acquisitions. The picture is not rosy guys and gals, it is definitely the right time to trim some fat before it's too late. MSFT has many groups that do not contribute to the bottom line, they all should be restructured or let go for the company to stay competitive.

Anonymous said...

I have a loop scheduled for this week. Damn. I have been coding for almost 7 years at MS and 4 years outside of MS and last week I was reviewing my mergesorts. Geezus, I thought, what the hell am I doing. This is bogus. All my experience out the window. I never in my entire career at MS have had to use merge sorts..and linked lists even only sporadically. In any case, the system is stupid. I don't care if I have to look elsewhere, because admittedly I am terrible at interviewing and the smell of that white board marker makes me want to hurl my lunch.

Anonymous said...

"We've had two years and two months. That's not an eternity. It's a short window to expect someone to turn a profit."

Tell that to Apple and the iPhone. This culture of excuses over accountability is exactly what's wrong with MS.

You've had two years two months in the market. Three years on the overall effort. You're still unprofitable, even though your CEO's go-in commitment to shareholders was that you wouldn't be. You're at 4% share or less after two years, versus the initial stated target of 10-15% after one year. And exactly 0% of that has come at Apple's expense, even though this is what the entire effort was about. Meanwhile the entire segment is moving rapidly to phones where, in far less than two years, Apple has started from scratch and already outsold WinMo, making billions in profit along the way.

In most companies, your inability to accomplish both your business and financial objectives would get you cut. Even if you were a startup, it's unlikely that VCs would keep funding you given that performance (assuming they would have funded the brilliant "let's compete against the dominant player with a rebranded Gigabeat" strategy in the first place). But in MS, you get to run your headcount up to 800, ridiculous given Archos (a much more sophisticated product) at 200, lose money for a few more years, and complain about not getting any respect from successful divisions.

Anonymous said...

Could not agree more with the above anonymous Sales Manager. Being in the field, I see huge potential in savings. Some examples:

1) MGX, make it virtual instead, and save gazillions of dollars and the environment.
2) CPE departments filled with contractors that does not understand our business; dismantle them.
3) 15 year EPG veterans that cannot fathom why they are not meeting their quotas right now and can not handle a simple negotiation; Fire at will.
4) Anyone with "Sales Excellence" in their title. "Sales Excellence" means "Scorecard compliance Excellence" for them. (simple lackmus test: Ask any of them why IO profiling is important, and see if they can answer (hot tip: they won't)). Put them into productive use instead or get rid of.
5) Area and Region HQ's, filled with people that are desperately trying to look good to people higher up in the organisation. What value do they provide? Did they for instance report upwards that the economy where slowing in q1? No they did not because they were panicking and asking for Correction of Error plans from the subsidiaries instead of understanding that something was going on.
6) A 50% reduction in HR would not be noticed anywhere outside HR.

Etc.

Anonymous said...

Having spent more than 15 years in the telecoms industry, and having lived through the tech layoffs hat started in 2001 and in some cases lasted till 2003, I can tell you that there is no such rule as a layoff requiring that H1-Bs shall be the first out the door. Talk with anyone with HR experience, or labor law background and they will confirm this.

Anonymous said...

"Rumor is MSIT is capturing IP addresses of all people trying to view Lisa's post - you will be black-listed , or shall we say RIF-listed."
There's no post from Lisa. Responses to this post just prove you guys are in a state of fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Anonymous said...

I am terrible at interviewing and the smell of that white board marker makes me want to hurl my lunch.

I always write with pen and paper, and I make it clear to anyone I am interviewing that whatever form factor works for them is fine for me, even if they want to open up notepad on my test machine. Any interviewer who objects is someone you wouldn't want to work with or for anyway.

And if you've been working for 10 years and someone asks you to reverse a string, that's also a sign the group is one to avoid. That's a fine question for recent grads or junior people, but that's about it (and it's still sad how few of them can do it right, but that's a separate topic).

Anonymous said...

The rumors put to rest: here is the MSNBC post

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28482589/

Anonymous said...

==========

During the last quarter MSFT's cash and short term investments decreased by almost $3 bln. If the current trend continues this money will run out in less than a year. Well, some might say that MSFT still has $9.5 bln. in account receivables. This fact might help, but account receivables alone dropped by $4 bln. during the same quarter. On top of that the most recent quarterly report shows almost $2 bln. of debt - the first time MSFT has ever had any debt. Overall, the company's current assets have dropped by $12 bln. in less than 2.5 years. Even though the total assets dropped by only $4.4 bln. during the same period, goodwill has increased by $8.6 bln. Goodwill increase is the only thing that prevents the company's total assets from dropping as fast as its current assets. And as you know, goodwill is an accounting trick that shows how much a company has overpaid for its acquisitions. The picture is not rosy guys and gals, it is definitely the right time to trim some fat before it's too late. MSFT has many groups that do not contribute to the bottom line, they all should be restructured or let go for the company to stay competitive.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 10:44:00 AM

=============endof quote

I think this should win one of the FUD medals for this string of comments! According to this poster, Microsoft is currently unprofitable and burning through cash! If this trend continues, the company will be out of cash in less than a year OH NOES!!!

Sure is wierd that the street or microsoft hasn't posted on this epic unprofitability..hmm. And, oh wait...there was that noise about how Microsoft was going to open a line of debt for capital management reasons and do some stock buybacks and other capital activities..and a few other acquisitions closed..

But that couldn't be the reason for a decrease in cash position, right? that would be a much more boring headline..we'd have to go back to just beating up Ballmer for "doing nothing with the cash but buying back shares" and that's not as fun as this line of reasoning..

Anonymous said...

re 2 years and 2 months for Zune, you really need to think long term like Xbox. Give Zune at least three more years of breathing room before crying wolf.

Keeperplanet said...

re "Some thoughts from the MS field"

Great points in item 1, re Hardware plans from Apple. But the problem is more fundamental.

I wrote last year that Microsoft has to make a decision on whether it is going to wholly embrace hardware development or not because the current anemic approach is corporately suicidal at best. With hardware, you either get into the game or you don't, which is why it is so easy for Apple to find new products and markets. They are not self limited there by their own customers.

I also suggested that if Microsoft wants to reinforce its core Software Development mission, that makes sense, and E&D should be spun off or separated out as a more clearly brand-identified (Company X) instead of being associated with Microsoft brand directly.

But right now Microsoft is in computers but has limited itself to one or two versions of a gaming console (when the market is really ALL computing devices) and hand held media devices are limited to a myopically defined hard drive driven set of music players, which by anybody's standards is a market category that has peaked because of the phone and touch factor.

E&D is looking at two primary product lines already obsolete by a couple of years that in truth have cost more to sell than is being made. You can't compete in the hardware business that way as your competitors will eat your lunch (and they have). And certainly the Xbox console is extraordinarily limited in scope when as a single entry in the home entertainment business, it is quite limited as a market response, considering the untapped options of multimedia television, home computers, notebooks, UMPCs, haptic devices, expanded uses of the media device like plug in home stereos and automotive applications, wireless products, headphones and headsets, and not to forget, Microsoft's very own surface and sphere technology that remains in the experimental product category, but after years of work has not really found the niche or currently unseen markets and form factors (at least by its inventors) it deserves.

Add to that the possibilities of voice, if it really takes off, eliminating the need for hand controlled human interfaces, and the future is extraordinarily bright unless Microsoft decides to ignore the natural integration of the machine and software as a product inseparable. As is currently the case, there is of course a business model for that aspect to remain firmly as a software offering (along with touch) from Microsoft.

I have also posited the possibility of separating the commercial software business (including the Windows markets) from the home computing market and instead defining the Microsoft as two companies, Personal Systems and Commercial Systems, and each company would have both hardware and software offerings designed specifically for their client markets.

Any way you look at it, Microsoft has been greatly distracted from customer needs by trends of Google and attempts to purchase Yahoo and by the misinterpretation of some of the online businesses in terms of their core purposes.

This economic downturn is a perfect opportunity for Microsoft to re-tune their whole business strategy to one that makes sense for the 21st century.

David Gerard said...

The Street has posted on this epic unprofitability. Their opinion is called the "share price." You may have noticed that (a) Microsoft failed to make its numbers last quarter - first time EVER, I think - (b) the share buy-back hasn't stopped the share price falling.

The Street can count, they can add up dollars perfectly well. They know Microsoft is in burn mode.

This is why layoff stories are so plausible: it's the sure-fire way to placate The Street. If it works, of course.

Anonymous said...

The Street can count, they can add up dollars perfectly well.

The Street is also god. Causing all these Credit Default Swap, credit over credit bubble and all other mess.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft hit its guidance for Q1 (Oct) and exceeded its revenue guidance..It has missed analyst guidance in the past several times, I couldn't find an article saying that it had missed or not for Q1..in any case, it certainly wasn't about profit vs loss..we were pretty clearly in the P column. The Q1 results (alone) were about 4.2B in profit. you will find very very very few companies that do that in a year. you'll find very very few companies that have done that in their history..

Microsoft stock recently has tracked reasonably well with the overall economic downturn (you might have heard of that?)

Over the past few years, I think analysts have worried about Microsoft's long term prospects vs competition, and the sustainability of its core businesses..a reasonable concern that I think many employees share.

Microsoft isn't in "burn" mode, it remains highly, highly profitable, even in the downturn. (which is nice). Enjoy the fud.

None of this means we shouldn't be worried about our cost structure (we should) -- the question the street has is can we grow our EPS (the street doubts this, or doubts the general rate of growth)..

Anonymous said...

yah no layoffs right :)

i just got my artificial performance message on friday .. thanks

Anonymous said...


Curious, what is the typical salary range for a Lead SDE/Lead SDET? Does MS pay very well OR is pay largely tied to bonus and other perks? With the stock price at ~19$, I wonder what the current pay scale looks like. I know MS's benefit package is an awesome one.
Any input is appreciated.
Thanks


Check out http://www.glassdoor.com

Anonymous said...

There are a number of creative ways to cut costs across the board, without massive lay-offs:

1. Cut the contractor budget by, say, 50%.

2. Suspend ESPP contributions for 2009. This would be the equivalent of a 1.5% paycut across the board.

3. Make the current hiring freeze tighter for 2009. For example, every interview loop should include at least a VP interviewer who interviews the candidate for at least 30 minutes. Gumming up hiring for 2009 would be the equivalent of a 2-5% reduction in headcount due to natural attrition.

4. Make everyone take at least two weeks of unpaid vacation at any time of their choosing during 2009. That's the equivalent of a 4% reduction in pay across the board for 2009.

These measures would accomplish at least a 10% reduction in personnel costs for 2009.

Then lay to bed the rumors of lay-offs for the rest of 2009. Make it clear that peoples' base salaries, 401(k) match, health benefits, annual review bonuses, and annual stock grants will remain unaffected for 2009, and that they can look forward to being rewarded for good performance just like they were in 2008.

That should put an end to all this FUD, and might even raise morale.

Anonymous said...

I have been at MS for 8+ years and last year I interviewed for the VB group. I had one good question about doing a regex then I had a bunch of college questions. I.e. If you get passed an Excel column AA or BC or ZZ convert it to a number.

I blew this questions cause I wasn't think about base 26 and cause i didn't practice.

The problem with our interview loop is that the questions we get asked are not things we do in real life on a daily basis. Office is pretty cool, you can go from group to group without interviews after the product ships.

MS should do that company wide after the person has reached a specific level and time in company.

Anonymous said...

>>#1 - The Zune issue had nothing to do with a bad interface. It was just bad code. Easy bug to miss, but yeah, someone should've tested it.

... but yeah, first someone should have code reviewed it ;-)

Anonymous said...

Why would the office team get Zunes? Actually, why do they get a Christmas gift at all? That isn't common in other teams.

Christmas gifts aren't common in office either, but what was said is actually true. We got 8GB Zunes for Christmas '07. And they're awesome.

Anonymous said...

"4. Make everyone take at least two weeks of unpaid vacation at any time of their choosing during 2009. That's the equivalent of a 4% reduction in pay across the board for 2009."

This would *demolish* productivity and completely destroy our schedules.

People who are forced to take vacations without pay are not going to especially care about how it impacts their products... and as it is now, we have plenty of managers who coerce their employees into managing vacations around milestones. I actually know very few people who take 2 week vacations at all because there's so much pressure to not be offline for that long.

Do you think anyone on a forced, unpaid vacation will regularly check mail while they're out to keep the wheels moving? I sure don't.

For a business like ours, the chaos that would result from something like this (including schedule impacts, opportunity costs and top talent fleeing for greener pastures) would not justify the cost savings.

HRman said...

http://microsoftfires.blogspot.com/

Microsoft Terminating employee's to save on severance and press release "layoff"
Microsoft is on a witch hunt to fire employees!

Staffing went from 10,000 positions open to 1000
(each HR person can now fill one position). There is a hiring freeze!!! But MS press

CSS is evaluating Team Mgr's that have been in their level for 30 months to evaluate how to
trim Team Mgr.

Human Resources is pulling reports to see anyone who has "violated policies" this will assist
in a terminations rather than a lay off and severance.

9 years in HR at Microsoft and it finally happen to me.

Anonymous said...

"This would *demolish* productivity and completely destroy our schedules."

LOL. Yeah, unpaid vacation has worked for HP and others who generally meet their schedules, but at MS who normally misses theirs it would be impossible.

Anonymous said...

The Q1 results (alone) were about 4.2B in profit. you will find very very very few companies that do that in a year. you'll find very very few companies that have done that in their history..

Investors do not look just at profits. Among several dozens parameters they look at EPS, and many companies reported EPS greater than $0.48 in the latest quarter. To put this in perspective, Microsoft's EPS rank is below 67% over the past 5 years. This may give some clue why the stock price is not moving up.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft stock recently has tracked reasonably well with the overall economic downturn (you might have heard of that?)

Microsoft's stock dropped by 47.59% since 1/1/08 while S&P 500 dropped by 45.88% in the same period. If you consider Microsoft as yet another average company, then I agree with your assessment: its stock tracked reasonably well.

Anonymous said...

"Human Resources is pulling reports to see anyone who has "violated policies" this will assist
in a terminations rather than a lay off and severance."

This is silly...one "experience" with MSExpense will cause anyone to have a "Policy Violation".

Anonymous said...

"I couldn't find an article saying that it had missed or not for Q1"

It made Q1. Then turned around and guided down for Q2, which it's still going to miss.

"Microsoft stock recently has tracked reasonably well with the overall economic downturn (you might have heard of that?)"

Meaning that after falling far worse than the market in the first half to the year, it just fell at the market for the second. Hardly an impressive accomplishment for a company that used to be seen as a safe harbor.

"Over the past few years, I think analysts have worried about Microsoft's long term prospects vs competition, and the sustainability of its core businesses..a reasonable concern that I think many employees share."

The concern is reasonable and one analysts subject most companies to. It's the negative conclusion they have reached with MS specifically which should be a wake up call to the Board, employees, and every shareholder. Failures with Xbox, Search, Zune, Vista, have all contributed to the belief that MS is laggard who is totally incapable of succeeding in new areas and may not even be able to maintain what is has.

Anonymous said...

So what the heck happened? It is 4 PM...I know a one guy that had a meeting to tell them not to freak out, but from the sound of the message boards today was Microgeddon.

Anonymous said...

Mini,

Can we start a to-do list of things to keep in mind if you expect to be RIFfed.

There are 2 kinds of lists...

1. General things to consider no matter where you work.
2. Things that are MSFT specific. What have previous MSFT RIFees forgotten to do? what do they wish they had done before they left?

-ALittleBitWorried

Anonymous said...

I am a little late to the party on this but it is already happening. Take a group in MBS where the decision was made to put a product that will not be named into "sustaining". The work went from a team of 60 in Redmond to a team of about 6 in Fargo and no one from Remond was about to move to Fargo. The rest were told to find new jobs or be RIF in two weeks (the RIF was six weeks long after that). This was in August. Most found jobs except for those who had 10% on their last review and for the most part they were out of the company because no team wanted to hire them. Of course there were those on the "transition team" to help move the product to Fargo and it was mostly the senior people and managers. They were to work until 1/15 and then they were to get RIF, with the assumption that they would be able to find new jobs between August and 1/15 but then the hiring freeze hit and with a week to go many of those solid employees (no 10% people in the group) are without a new role and about to be RIF. Shareholders should be worried about the talent the company is about to lose.

As for E&D is everyone forgetting the shut down of Ensemble studios a few months back once Halo Wars ships. There is your layoffs in that division. That will save $$ for the XBOX team.

Anonymous said...


Mini,

Can we start a to-do list of things to keep in mind if you expect to be RIFfed.

There are 2 kinds of lists...

1. General things to consider no matter where you work.
2. Things that are MSFT specific. What have previous MSFT RIFees forgotten to do? what do they wish they had done before they left?

-ALittleBitWorried



This is a good idea. Also, does anyone know how the "bad" news is delivered?

1. 1:1 with your direct manager?
2. 1:1 with skip-level manager?
3. 2:1 with a manager/HR person?
4. Is it scheduled ahead of time, or do you actually get pulled in suddenly?
5. etc, etc

Just to get some ideas on what signs to look for, it may not be the same across all groups, but anything will help.

-StartingToGetWorried

Anonymous said...

I actually know very few people who take 2 week vacations at all because there's so much pressure to not be offline for that long.

I must then exception to the rule. I am an SDE in Windows Core and I regularly take 4 week or more for vacation -- simply, every time I got new manager, I informed them that for family reasons (long trip half-way across the globe), I prefer taking long vacations at once. Not single one of my managers objected to that.

Anonymous said...

To ALittleBitWorried and StartingToGetWorried:

Go talk to your boss, and then your boss's boss. Ask them point-blank if layoffs or a RIF is coming. I was able to do that in Office. (Answer, from both was "nope".)

If they can't give you a straight answer, get your resume together.

If you can't imagine asking either of them, you have had much bigger problems for a long time, and will continue to have problems even when there's no RIFs coming.

Anonymous said...

Keep your eyes on the redundant, overlay organizations like WW EPG and multiple OEM specific marketing orgs in Gug's team. It's not rocket science, Turner's well known for his Walmart management style and techniques. It's long overdue that we axe WW EPG (where else do you get to continually miss your number by hundreds of millions and still keep your job/org? seriously, who has the pictures?) and remove the redundancy in marketing personnel and budgets hidden in HP and Dell plus other OEM teams. Same old school leadership, GMs and Directors who fundamentally believe and prove through their actions that it is better to waste budget dollars than lose them in next year's budget wars. Killing non productive and low ROI orgs would more than offset the need for a corpwide RIF.

Anonymous said...

Have you heard Bob Muglia got promoted today. I don't think something like this should happen in Microsoft at this time. The whole investor community ask Microsoft to cut down on expenses, but for upper management it is gaming the system as usual. Do you think they really care about average Microsoft employee?

Anonymous said...

@Monday, January 05, 2009 6:41:00 PM,

"I must then exception to the rule. I am an SDE in Windows Core and I regularly take 4 week or more for vacation -- simply, every time I got new manager, I informed them that for family reasons (long trip half-way across the globe), I prefer taking long vacations at once. Not single one of my managers objected to that."

Right, but you're one of the H1B's we're talking about here.

Anonymous said...

Something is happenning on Monday the 12th. Our team normally has a Monday Meeting. When calendar surfing and looking at my Manager's calendar I see his instance of the meeting (not ours) has been updated to include our GM as a "special guest" with no agenda listed. No agenda? VERY unusual and for him to attend at all. Checking with friends in other Orgs throughout the company and other sites, they are seeing the same thing with the Monday meeting. My thought is that the GMs will announce "re-orgs" without being specific to the teams and then this will all go public on the 15th. We are at T-7 now. Getting very scary. Yes I know MS does not publicly comment on rumors etc, but at least Lisa Brummel or someone should address this internally. Because they have not leads me to believe there is some validity to all of this.

Anonymous said...

"6) A 50% reduction in HR would not be noticed anywhere outside HR."

I'm surprised nobody else mentioned something like this. Wasn't it at the 2006 Company Meeting that LisaB stood on stage and applauded that her group had hired 4-500 more heads that year? Between them they can't even write a 1000 word blog post once a month for InsideMS.

Anonymous said...

"I must then exception to the rule. I am an SDE in Windows Core and I regularly take 4 week or more for vacation -- simply, every time I got new manager, I informed them that for family reasons (long trip half-way across the globe), I prefer taking long vacations at once. Not single one of my managers objected to that."

Right, but you're one of the H1B's we're talking about here.


Well, not anymore -- I am permanent resident now*...

I never felt slightest hint of pressure to work too much overtime or to limit my vacation usage. I had both immigrant and American bosses... I worked my whole MS career in Windows (Client, then Core) and I never saw pressure to work 60 hours/week with my coworkers, too.

I wonder where are those parts in company where people feel that they need to work overtime?


*) it took me seven years living, working and paying taxes in this country just to get to PR status -- if I went to any other English-speaking country eight years ago, I would be citizen of said country by now.

Anonymous said...

I find this blog thread extremely irresponsible.
Creating rumours is never good for company productivity or morale. Having them picked up by eWeek & thus setting expectations within the market is even worse.

Now, regardless of what happens, the stock is likely to take a pounding in the last 2 weeks of Jan, due to the media telling investors feel we should be shedding heads, whether we need to or not. Also hurts the US & other govts "Spend Big to avoid recession" policy. As it adds to the doom / gloom message, "Hey here is another company throwing 10,000's of people into the jobless pile". Even if it is never come true.

Much of this evidence is very lame. Sure some companies have not renewed EA's (Enterprise Agreements). We've never had 100% renew anyway. Some never planned to, they buy for 3 years, lapse for X years & then buy again when they refresh their H/W.
Clearly others are shedding all costs. Eg: Fin Sector & Manufacturing (especially Cars) both of which are totally focused on very short term survival. That said, many of those are deploying BI solutions very quickly in an attempt to figure out what to do.
As most MS VP level people are accessable to all, perhaps would make more sense for you just to ask them point blank rather than burn time looking at their calander & speculating.
MS Individual contributor.

Anonymous said...

Do you know what the Line:HR ratio is at Microsoft, with a compny as big as MS, with 95K+ people, how many HR folks do we have? Guess anyone? I feel like they are very stretched and support 300-400 people minimum.

Anonymous said...

Surfing through few of the managers' calenders in MBS_EMEA, I found a 3-hour entry titled 'Performance Management and Terminations Workshop' conducted by HR scheduled through this week.

Just a coincidence?

Anonymous said...

Wasn't it at the 2006 Company Meeting that LisaB stood on stage and applauded that her group had hired 4-500 more heads that year? Between them they can't even write a 1000 word blog post once a month for InsideMS?

Be fair. There are only so many ways to feed us the same BS. They aren't that creative. This year, they'll hire more marketing folks.


re: 4 week vacations. Those seem to be more and more common these days, and not just at the end of the year. I know of at least 8 people in a fairly small team (less than 50) that did that over the past year. Most of them were out at the same time. Some of them were critical. Others were not missed. I also got oofs from quite a few people outside the team with return dates far in the future.

This is a disturbing trend. Month long vacations were not tolerated at any of my previous jobs. Why are they so common here?

If you can afford to be out for a whole month, then maybe we don't even need you.

Anonymous said...

Yes I know MS does not publicly comment on rumors etc, but at least Lisa Brummel or someone should address this internally. Because they have not leads me to believe there is some validity to all of this.

For this to be burning up the news wires and no word whatsoever from senior management, I have to believe either it's going to happen or they are completely affirming their total incompetence.

Anonymous said...

Something is happenning on Monday the 12th. Our team normally has a Monday Meeting.

===

this is true, groups all around are having "manager only" meetings so the "force out" and "cut costs" plan is now finalized.

Anonymous said...

"As most MS VP level people are accessable to all, perhaps would make more sense for you just to ask them point blank rather than burn time looking at their calander & speculating."

Yeah, my VP is totally accessable [sic] to all. LOL!

The chances of me getting face time with my VP are slim to none, and the chances that if I somehow did manage to get face time with my VP that it would signal the end of my career (because everyone knows you don't try to grab personal time with the VP unless you're a raging idiot) are quite high.

Anonymous said...

If you can afford to be out for a whole month, then maybe we don't even need you.

I disagree. If you work in such a way (no documentation or shared knowledge) that the team cannot afford for you to be out than you should never be allowed in a critical role. No project should be in jeapordy because someone got sick.

Anonymous said...

I work in a well run part of Microsoft. I am proud of our Vice Presidents and our Senior VP. I did not think we would be under the pressure to cut-back.

I arrive to work Monday and the first thing my team is told is that 15% of our reports need to be gone, driven out through performance management.

We have never been under such pressure to fire people before. To say this is *not* a layoff is a very comfortable lie.

Anonymous said...

This is a disturbing trend. Month long vacations were not tolerated at any of my previous jobs. Why are they so common here?

If you can afford to be out for a whole month, then maybe we don't even need you.


If your team can't afford to be without an employee for a previously planned vacation, then you are in a poorly run team.

If your team is so specialized that no one knows how to do anything but their own jobs, then that team is headed for disaster when someone leaves due to illness, vacation, or another job.

A well-run team plans for these kinds of events and cross-trains people, either formally or informally.

Anonymous said...

Yet another nice try...

What "well run" part of Microsoft do you work? Who are the VPs of your "well run" part? Your post is not believable.

==========

I work in a well run part of Microsoft. I am proud of our Vice Presidents and our Senior VP. I did not think we would be under the pressure to cut-back.

I arrive to work Monday and the first thing my team is told is that 15% of our reports need to be gone, driven out through performance management.

We have never been under such pressure to fire people before. To say this is *not* a layoff is a very comfortable lie

Anonymous said...

Random tidbits.

Before I left for my 2.5 week holiday, I surfed career and noticed that there were a surprising number of HR vacancies listed vs. technical positions. Even mentioned to colleagues that it could portend not good, as one time when companies staff up on HR is when they'll be cutting elsewhere.

I take a 2.5-3.5 week vacation every year, to visit my family in Thailand. It's not unusual for people in groups where I've worked, to take 3 weeks at once. I'd say 30% of both IC's and managers do.

To the poster in Windows Core wondering where the groups are that try to force 60 hour weeks on people, see Windows outside of Windows Core. The 3-weeks-at-once vacation strategy is largely "work hard, play hard" in action. Although: I'll no longer do more than 50 for my team, after doing 70 hour weeks for most of a year and getting slapped with the first Achieved of my career on my review in thanks for it by a new manager.

As my team knows I want out, I suspect I'm #1 on their list should cuts be required. How do they know? They forbade me from pursuing 4 serious inquiries from related teams over the past 8 months because they couldn't afford to lose me at a certain point of the product cycle. Now that we're over the hump and no one's hiring, I'm free to go. Nice of em, eh?

Anonymous said...

I arrive to work Monday and the first thing my team is told is that 15% of our reports need to be gone, driven out through performance management.


What should the number be? 0%? 30%?

If 15% of your team members are level 60's that have been here twelve years and they will never ever get to level 61, then, well, maybe they should be fired. And then you should look really closely at any manager who let them take up a seat for so long.

We have never been under such pressure to fire people before.

You're a manager! It's your job! Microsoft is not a charity.

And if you think I'm being insensitive, please keep in mind that I was a manager at Microsoft and I had to fire someone. It was awful. It took two years of bad performance (it should have been one year but I wasn't mature enough to realize it -- no one should be a manager at level 61) plus months of documentation. And once my manager and HR and I agreed, we had the meeting. HR took his badge, I walked him to his car, got his parking pass, and then I packed up his office so our admin could have it couriered to his house.

It was the right thing to do for him, for my team, and for Microsoft. That being said, I'm not a manager anymore because I refuse to do that ever again.

Anonymous said...

HR employees are being fired for essentially falsified "policy violations". Everyone should be wary of a company that treats employees this way.

Anonymous said...

It's a layoff masked as rhythm-of-business reorganization plus performance management plus Not To Exceed staffing budgets being strictly enforced.


--

well this is actually true after sitting in on our GM (MSD) today ..

Anonymous said...

HR employees are being fired for essentially falsified "policy violations". Everyone should be wary of a company that treats employees this way.

what do u mean? I am just curious

Anonymous said...

>> You're a manager! It's your job! Microsoft
>> is not a charity.

Herein lies all that is wrong with Microsoft management. The job of a manager is to coordinate, remove obstacles, motivate, lead, get people to excel, and shield their team from randomization and political BS. Laying people off solely because someone up the chain gave headcount away like candy just a year ago should not be a manager's area of expertise.

Anonymous said...

A well-run team plans for these kinds of events and cross-trains people, either formally or informally.

I was the person that wrote the post your responded to.

It is not a well run team :).

Bugs and features stack up waiting for them to return. Other people are dedicated to their own components and don't have time to spare. If they are managers, they don't pick an alternate with any power to make decisions.

Critical business decisions are blocked because they can't even bother to check email once a week.

Anonymous said...

All the rumor mongering is really starting to creep me out. I hope management makes some sort of official announcement soon.

Anonymous said...

And if you think I'm being insensitive, please keep in mind that I was a manager at Microsoft and I had to fire someone. It was awful. It took two years of bad performance (it should have been one year but I wasn't mature enough to realize it -- no one should be a manager at level 61) plus months of documentation. And once my manager and HR and I agreed, we had the meeting. HR took his badge, I walked him to his car, got his parking pass, and then I packed up his office so our admin could have it couriered to his house.

This story is cheesy but you made it sound so heroically as if you had escaped a sinking submarine through a torpedo tube.

Anonymous said...

It's a layoff masked as rhythm-of-business reorganization plus performance management plus Not To Exceed staffing budgets being strictly enforced.


--

well this is actually true after sitting in on our GM (MSD) today ..

===

We received a similar message in some groups of MSN on Monday. Mostly "remove" low performers by any means legally possible.

Anonymous said...

>The chances of me getting face time with my VP are slim to none

I've scheduled a 1on1 with a VP - just requested it. He accepted, and we had a pretty good talk. There are some initiative changes in his org now that I like to pretend are tangentially related to that talk.

For the person who said "if someone's been level 60 for a long time, they have to go" - up or out is a very bad policy. If the company was run properly, then perhaps the person is a very capable 60, but just not ready for 61. If they do their work, complete assignments on time, etc - what's the problem?

Anonymous said...

with 95K+ people, how many HR folks do we have?
-
It was a few thousand when I checked. For every president, HR will have a VP. VP has a-, v- and FTE employee.

Anonymous said...

To the poster in Windows Core wondering where the groups are that try to force 60 hour weeks on people, see Windows outside of Windows Core.

I was 3 years in former Windows Client division, then after that, 4 years in Windows Core.

I have friends in Live, Xbox, SQL, Office -- not single one of them works more than 40-45 hours a week.

Anonymous said...

Of course there won't be layoffs. Microsoft doesn't layoff anyone, it fires them for "cause." A layoff would be an admission that they'd made a mistake in vision and execution and now have to take drastic corrective action, and we all know that senior leadership at Microsoft never takes any responsibility. "I'm a PC" anyone? They mask layoffs by getting rid of "low performers" even though we all know that we have a mandated curve for review scores and a lot of managers distribute them evenly over time to placate people by not showing favoritism. Or they lower headcount via "good attrition" which is a nice way of saying age discrimination to those that don't advance "quickly enough", whatever the hell that means.

Anonymous said...

It makes me sick to my stomach, but I just got it directly from my upper level contacts - the layoff is a reality. If you are an underperformer, or are in MSN / MSIT (among others), then be prepared - you'll have 4 weeks to find a job, and if that doesn't work, a measly severence package based on longevity ($5k for a 4 year employee).

Anonymous said...

To quote http://www.microsoft.com/about/default.mspx

Our values:

We hold ourselves accountable to our customers, shareholders, partners, and employees by honoring our commitments, providing results, and striving for the highest quality.


It's time executive management hold themselves accountable to the employees and disclose what their intentions are. There is so much rumor mongering going on within the campus, and it makes me sick.

Anonymous said...

None of these posts are believable anymore...whoever you are, you're not credible because you've basically recycled content from previous comments on this and/or the previous layoff post.

====================

It makes me sick to my stomach, but I just got it directly from my upper level contacts - the layoff is a reality. If you are an underperformer, or are in MSN / MSIT (among others), then be prepared - you'll have 4 weeks to find a job, and if that doesn't work, a measly severence package based on longevity ($5k for a 4 year employee).

Anonymous said...

I'm in E&D. Spoke with my Director today, point-blank asked about layoffs. He said "No". No hesitation, no dancing around the issue. He said obviously there will be cost cutting and budget reductions, but any personel shifts have already occured via re-orgs.

Anonymous said...

The job of a manager is to coordinate, remove obstacles, motivate, lead, get people to excel, and shield their team from randomization and political BS.

that's everyone's job (manager or not)

Laying people off solely because someone up the chain gave headcount away like candy just a year ago should not be a manager's area of expertise.

true, that's an HR core comp

although, did you think that headcount was going to be yours forever and ever? reorgs happen without permission or agreement quite frequently where i come from

Anonymous said...

For the person who said "if someone's been level 60 for a long time, they have to go" - up or out is a very bad policy. If the company was run properly, then perhaps the person is a very capable 60, but just not ready for 61. If they do their work, complete assignments on time, etc - what's the problem?

No problem for short periods of time.

After ten years, you could have taken three strong college hires and grown them from 59 to 62 in the same ten years that one person stayed at level 60.

Anonymous said...

I have friends in Live, Xbox, SQL, Office -- not single one of them works more than 40-45 hours a week.

You know that that's good, right? Please tell me you know that that's good.

A project with smart, experienced people in it, that knows how to plan and how to execute on a plan, can accomplish everything they set out to do in a normal 40 - 50 hour work week. Mandating 60, 70, 80 hours is a sign of poor coordination, missed deadlines, or preventable firedrills.

Apart from working with people in different timezones, or working on unforeseen problems like security alerts, there's no credible reason to have to work more than 50 hours a week except for the month or so leading up to a major milestone or product launch.

Amount of hours is not a badge of pride. it's a sign of inefficiency. (either yours, your team's, or that of the tools you're using).

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to believe another thing on this site from anyone unless a person puts their Microsoft email address in the comment.

people are talking about exec accountability - how about personal accoutnability - stop spreading rumors and FUD

Anonymous said...

"I'm in E&D. Spoke with my Director today, point-blank asked about layoffs. He said "No". No hesitation, no dancing around the issue. He said obviously there will be cost cutting and budget reductions, but any personel shifts have already occured via re-orgs."

This is complete nonsense. First, human nature when a person of authority is trying to cover up will cause him to respond exactly as he did. The fact that he didn't hesitate and appeared to have the answer down pat, shows he was coached. Second, the comments about people getting severances and notices going out to teams, etc. is totally true. I have heard from several higher ups that this next week will be very interesting to watch and a very unique time for Microsoft. That's all I needed to hear coupled with direct knowledge of a few that have already been informed of their "demise".

Anonymous said...

It seems there was an MSN-wide email nullifying layoff possibility.

Anonymous said...

>> Spoke with my Director today, point-blank
>> asked about layoffs. He said "No".

I'm not in E&D, but I did the exact same thing and got the exact same answer. That said, he did mention that consistently low performers will be under scrutiny.

The way I see it, it would be monumentally stupid for Microsoft to lay off people with good track record. First of all, those people aren't coming back after having been unceremoniously dumped on the street amid the economic crisis. Second, competitors are hiring good people even now. I get called at least once a month on average and offers _start_ from +20% of what I make at MS right now. And finally third, if you lay off good people the morale will take a massive nosedive and people will start looking around. In which case a lot of them will discover that they're underpaid.

Anonymous said...

After ten years, you could have taken three strong college hires and grown them from 59 to 62 in the same ten years that one person stayed at level 60.

That's absolutely true....if your only goal is to keep track of how frequently your employees get promoted. This is why Microsoft is such a failure at grooming managers. It seems the only thing they care about is if you are getting promoted. Nevermind if the actual JOB you are doing adds any value to the company. So long as you are tracking like they want, everything is fine. Talk about short-sightedness.

If you have a level 61 job (or any level job for that matter) that is key to the group's and the company's success. And, most important, is key to keeping customers, then why the hell does it matter if you don't want to be a 62, 63, 64, 65, etc? Not everyone can be CEO (then again, Ballmer is proving anyone can).

If you are good at your job, you are meeting your goals, AND what you do helps grow the business, AND, you LOVE what you are doing, why should the company punish you? The focus should be assessing your value to customers and the company, not assessing how often your are being "promoted".

Anonymous said...

It's time executive management hold themselves accountable to the employees and disclose what their intentions are. There is so much rumor mongering going on within the campus, and it makes me sick.


Why? Who do you think we are? Lenovo? ( http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123138381368763379.html ).

At Microsoft, we have made it clear for a decade now that executive management is not accountable for anything. If things go south, we will can your hardworking ass but wont give up our fat bonuzz!!

Anonymous said...

>> Spoke with my Director today, point-blank
>> asked about layoffs. He said "No".

Dude, you asked the wrong question.
You should ask - Are there people to be let go?

Layoff? MS never layoff people. Don't expect MS to use the word "layoff".

Anonymous said...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28548248/

Google is dumping contractors too.

Google didn't submit their latest SEC filing in an electronic format, so it couldn't be found online. Guess even Google doesn't like Google's privacy policy! :)

Anonymous said...

This is complete nonsense. First, human nature when a person of authority is trying to cover up will cause him to respond exactly as he did. The fact that he didn't hesitate and appeared to have the answer down pat, shows he was coached. Second, the comments about people getting severances and notices going out to teams, etc. is totally true. I have heard from several higher ups that this next week will be very interesting to watch and a very unique time for Microsoft. That's all I needed to hear coupled with direct knowledge of a few that have already been informed of their "demise".

I don't believe he was coached, I believe I was simply about the 50th or so person to ask him the same thing. Also, YMMV, as he was only speaking for our group in E&D. So far I have no first-hand knowledge of anyone, including contractors, being let go or told to look for a new position. People such as yourself claim it's happening, but I haven't found anyone, outside of anonymous posts here, who can verify it. It's always "I heard..." or "I know this guy..." or "My wife said she heard..." Nothing concrete or verifiable, all pure FUD. One thing I've learned from all this is to take everything posted here with a huge grain of salt, as I believe that many people are posting crap for the pure pleasure of watching others squirm and sweat.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard about how this will affect Vendors? E.g. the old gaurd MS folks who come in w/ their expertise, help a team in need, and then leave just as quickly?

I go back and forth on the subject - will business be better (because some projects will still need to be done, and it may not be desirable / possible to fill the need w/ long-term headcount)?

Or worse (due to budget cuts, competition from the recently departed FT employees)?

Any opinions / insider knowledge? All I know is I don't sleep well at night in this economy...

Anonymous said...

>>It seems there was an MSN-wide email nullifying layoff possibility.

Strange mail. It acknowledged the rumor, said thanks for all the hard work, but didn't confirm or deny anything. I don't think it was meant to sound like some kind of legalistic dodge, but it kind of did.

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to believe another thing on this site from anyone unless a person puts their Microsoft email address in the comment.

+1. Time will tell of course, but I've started to wonder if the rumors about layoffs posted here (and elsewhere) aren't actually part of an orchestrated online hoax (with some less capable storytellers jumping on the bandwagon freelance style along the way).

Anonymous said...

I have friends in Live, Xbox, SQL, Office -- not single one of them works more than 40-45 hours a week.

You know that that's good, right? Please tell me you know that that's good.


I know it is good. Anybody who regularly works more than 40 hours should be laid off as this person is either:

a) Incapable of managing their own time and schedule;
b) Grossly incompetent to do their job and need too much time for simple tasks.
c) They are just sitting around office, browsing Internet and playing foosball all day, so they have to put many all-nighters to catch up with their comitments.

MCSInTheField said...

To the anonymous who said, "I'm not going to believe another thing on this site from anyone unless a person puts their Microsoft email address in the comment.

people are talking about exec accountability - how about personal accoutnability - stop spreading rumors and FUD"


Then why didn't you put your ms address in the comment? I don't believe there will be "layoffs", just a lot of restructuring and people being told to find a position or leave. In some groups, this will be a great thing though some people booted out should have been allowed to stay.

Anonymous said...

>>The way I see it, it would be monumentally stupid for Microsoft to lay off people with good track record.

Perhaps so, but that takes secondary importance to HR's goal of avoiding exposure to lawsuits. Making the cutoff be related to group/product rather than individual makes discrimination claims seem absurd - everyone's in the same boat.

And gosh - it would be *so much work* to look at individual performance.

Anonymous said...

Not "layoffs", but by greatly reducing the number of available positions then stating that "those that can will find other jobs" - it's the same thing.

There are many groups that desperately want/need to hire but cannot. The problem is not that there is a lack of work to be done, the problem is that the funding for positions has been vastly reduced, to the point that there are maybe 5 - 10% of the average level of available positions. The situation is so cynically contrived to avoid "layoff" it's laughable.

In normal circumstances, anyone decent whose group is axed would find a job. In current circumstances, it's a lottery, and hiring managers can pick senior folks for junior jobs. So sure, you're getting rid of the 10%ers, as well as the majority of the 70%ers, and a good chunk of the 20%ers too.

Anonymous said...

When do people think we will get out of this economic slowdown? I am 26, have ~80K saved and had planned to quit and travel the world for 3 months this summer. I had planned this 2 years ago although am kind of worried about quitting my job now.

Anonymous said...

When do people think we will get out of this economic slowdown? I am 26, have ~80K saved and had planned to quit and travel the world for 3 months this summer. I had planned this 2 years ago although am kind of worried about quitting my job now.

Just my two cents: Buy gold. Keep your job. This is way more than an economic slowdown.

Anonymous said...

>> Anybody who regularly works more than
>> 40 hours should be laid off

I wouldn't be quite as drastic. Those folks should be required to take some time management classes. In a big bureaucratic place like Microsoft, it's very easy to just sit all day and read emails. I've seen quite a number of people doing just that and actually doing work over RAS or when everyone goes home. Eventually sleep deprivation and lack of social life gets to them and they burn out. Time management is a vital skill at Microsoft. Those people need help.

Anonymous said...

"...even though we all know that we have a mandated curve for review scores and a lot of managers distribute them evenly over time to placate people by not showing favoritism..."

I've been a manager at the company for almost seven years. In all the calibrations I've been in across three of Microsoft's main divisions (mid-year and annual; yes, we do calibrate at mid-year too), I've never once seen a manager distribute numbers evenly over time to placate people. We debate like heck to make sure that our people are fairly stacked against their peers.

It's not favoritism; I reward the folks who produce the results that help drive my business forward. I've managed stars I didn't particularly connect with, but they were amazing in the results they could deliver...especially when calibrated against the peer group.

If a manager has told you that we spread around review scores to not ruffle any feathers, they're not being straight w/ you about the calibration exercise or they're a pretty bad manager who needs to learn to own the message and you deserve better.

Anonymous said...

If a manager has told you that we spread around review scores to not ruffle any feathers, they're not being straight w/ you

In a company of 95,000 FTEs, and in my personal experience, it's entirely possible that both of our experiences are typical. But in my experience, and as human nature has shown previous to MS and since, spread is the normal thing. Most people, and managers in any company, like to avoid conflict and being honest with their employees if they can get away with it, and MS doesn't particularly care for honesty as long as you can show metrics, you just have to make your case and follow the curve.

Anonymous said...

Ok, now I think Zune sucks. This is one of the big problems with your ad campaigns too. You guys think you are cooler than everyone else. You're not.

So what are we supposed to do? Put ads on the air that display how hopelessly out of touch we are? We're supposed to market our product by going lowest-common-denominator on everybody so we coddle to your own insecurities in re: hipness?

Well all-righty then! We'll get Nickelback on the phone tomorrow!

You really shouldn't be so intimidated by other people's good taste.

This is one of the most immature comments I've read on this blog. Your failure to get a prom date is duly noted.

Haven't you heard of the phrase "better together"?

And aren't you just the least bit tired of calling the kettle black?

You're only proving Steve Jobs' point against MS, except you're taking it one step further: Not only does MS have no taste, it's engaged in a war against taste.

But I do hope you enjoy your Hungry Man Salisbury Steak tonight.

Anonymous said...

"...even though we all know that we have a mandated curve for review scores and a lot of managers distribute them evenly over time to placate people by not showing favoritism..."

As a former Manager at MSFT I, too, would disagree with this. I've never known any managers at MSFT that distribute scores evenly over time to placate people. There might be a few somewhere -- it is a big company -- but it is by no means the norm. You fight like hell for your reports that are stars, accept the bucket for the lesser of them, and either talk up the turnaround of your low performers or talk about managing them out. At least that's how it was a few years ago when I was there. This is why who your manager is is 2nd in importance only to how good of a job you do. If they don't have the standing with their bosses and peers to back you up, no matter how good you are, you'll have a harder time of it.

Anonymous said...

I work for Microsoft as a vendor. However, I have only been doing that for 3 months, so I'm still new and not into the Microsoft-isms...

I overheard a conversation two managers had today (MSIT) and they talked about the rumours about layoffs.

It was clear to me that they weren't informed about any layoffs (they have had their budgets cut and had to let go of "resources" two months ago), since they said that "it is impossible to cut anymore into us without it impeding operations!

Well - I'm cynical enough to think that might happen anyway :p

I'm not so worried about myself - I'm going to be all right even without a job (insurance and job offers even in this market combined with my low monthly expenses).

But even after three months in Microsoft I can see that my work here is just about getting to know which person or which Sharepoint site to know to get things done... Is not about technical knowledge or insight or kicking ass..

It's about helping your manager to meet his commitments so his manager can meet his commitments etc....

And since this is a very political organisation I get to work the organisation instead of the systems... Which is not what I want! :/

I hope I'll be out of here in a year anyway... But I like a lot of the people in my team and on the site I work - very capable people... But the management system... Yikes...

Anonymous said...

I work in a certain E&D group that is pretty high-profile but not exactly a success story. I haven't been worried so far, but now suddenly my team has a cryptic team meeting on the calendar for next Friday afternoon with no agenda. I hate this!

Anonymous said...

IF we are serious about cutting costs then please look at organizations where VPs are reporting to CVPs making over 550k/yr. Then look at GMs reporting to GMs. Why do we need that many layers of GMs? I have no clue.
Get rid of all Partner GMs who have been at Microsoft for over 15 years. They have outlived their usefulness and have become a major blocker for creative people who have new ideas. Why is Microsoft paying these guys that much? What value do we get from these layers of VPs and partner GMs? So far the track record for their leadership is horrible. VISTA, Windows Mobile, Millenium, Zune, XBOX, mentally sick CIOs, GMs sleeping with their employees and HR covering it up.... Its pathetic and our management is not in touch with reality. Robbie is a great visionary and a leader and will save the day for MS.....however; he is surrounded by "some" idiots who can't buy hardware that won't heat up or scratch disks!! We need to streamline at the top and remove VPs and GMs across all businesses as well as OPEX groups and unblock people below them to deliver. Right now the biggest blockers for level 66 and up are GMs and VPs who have to clue how to run their business and are causing so much churn that we can't deliver basic things like a Stable OS that can boot in less than 30 seconds without bloat. We can't create a phone that works without freezing. We can't create a phone that has a UI that is smart for a touch screen. Heck we can't even pick a power supply, CPU and a motherboard for the biggest bet we made, i.e. XBOX. Oh and finally fire the people in Windows Mobile leadership. Shame on you for loosing to Apple. We continue to run this business without industrial designers or artists. We run it with the help of engineers only....thats stupid folks!! Create a UX CZAR position first for Windows Mobile and then engineer based on UX and not the other way.

Anonymous said...

why do we have partner GMs in IT, Finance, HR, Marketing, and Sales? What value do they add to MS? Partner status should only be available in the product engineering roles. Rest of the roles are commodity roles. If we eliminate 70% of these partner GMs then MS can save over $500M/yr. Multiply that over 10 years, and its pretty good savings; and we can eliminate all the blockers for creative and passionate people to deliver.

Anonymous said...

Smart reduction - stop the non-strategic & non-money-making projects, reduce dead-weights across the board (not just low ranks, but PUMs/GMs/Directors/?VPs as well and it shouldn't be hard to find those). Sounds logical & simple? BUT I HAVE RARELY SEEN IT HAPPEN! That will be an easy 10%.

Anonymous said...

"In a company of 95,000 FTEs, and in my personal experience, it's entirely possible that both of our experiences are typical. But in my experience, and as human nature has shown previous to MS and since, spread is the normal thing. Most people, and managers in any company, like to avoid conflict and being honest with their employees if they can get away with it, and MS doesn't particularly care for honesty as long as you can show metrics, you just have to make your case and follow the curve."

I disagree -- the "spread them around to placate employees" theory is, I think, atypical.

13 year veteran manager here of 3 divisions and quite a few organizations. Stack ranking is always a difficult process and I've never met a management team that would allow this to happen.

I'm not saying that it doesn't happen, but I'm saying that it's not standard in our core product groups.

Anonymous said...

>>I work in a certain E&D group that is pretty high-profile but not exactly a success story. I haven't been worried so far, but now suddenly my team has a cryptic team meeting on the calendar for next Friday afternoon with no agenda. I hate this!

Damn! I just bought my wife a Zune for Christmas.

Joking apart, I wish you luck. My team had that meeting in December.

When you have a one-off visit from your GM accompanied by some mystery woman that you just know is from HR... it's not about a surprise bonus.

In a few weeks time, we'll be invited to look for a new job from the available pool of around, um, three (of which two can't actually hire). We're all looking already.

Anonymous said...

>> Robbie is a great visionary and a leader and will save the day for MS.....however; he is surrounded by "some" idiots who can't buy hardware that won't heat up or scratch disks!!

Yeah, I'm trying to mend my now-dead 360, with its undersized GPU sink and poorly applied thermal compound.

Sad thing was, the heatsink issue was known by engineers, but ignored by the idiots you mention. Maybe I'm naive, and a one billion dollar repair payout was a better business move than releasing after PS3.

Anonymous said...

Phew.. it has been a quiet week so far. I cannot just stop wondering if this is the calm before the storm.

There have been so many subtle hints and the ability of management to answer forthrightly makes things worse.

I know for a fact contracts have not been renewed. Heard it from grapevine that non-renewal numbers are close to 7k

Anonymous said...

When you have a one-off visit from your GM accompanied by some mystery woman that you just know is from HR... it's not about a surprise bonus.

---

We have a group at the end of the month as well. HR is there .. no message is in the invite .. but HR is usually at our group all hands ...

of course this is special since last week our org had a managers only meeting and were told "remove inefficiencie and reduce low performers" ...

glad i updated my resume.

Anonymous said...


When you have a one-off visit from your GM accompanied by some mystery woman that you just know is from HR... it's not about a surprise bonus.

---

We have a group at the end of the month as well. HR is there .. no message is in the invite .. but HR is usually at our group all hands ...

of course this is special since last week our org had a managers only meeting and were told "remove inefficiencie and reduce low performers" ...

glad i updated my resume.


Good luck and smart move on your part. Amazon is hiring btw

Anonymous said...

>>Dont the testers in these teams check for boundary conditions

Didn't you hear? We fired them all a couple of years ago and replaced their talents with automation...

TOO FUNNY, but sadly TOO TRUE


bwaaahaha! Yes I second that! That is amusing, and sadly true!!

Well, not all of them have been fired or RIFed, some a- or "dash-trash" testers, as one of my foosball-playing FTE team members likes to refer to 'them' still remain.

But let's get rid of them, they're useless FAT!!

Anonymous said...

Joe Peterson silently retired.

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/joepe/default.aspx

watch for more in WGA to go .. brad :)

Anonymous said...

Our team is currently doing "Efficiency Reviews" on current headcount. We are losing at least one FTE (braindead-wood 10%er) and possibly one steady performer. We also may be losing one vendor.

Shouldn't be too bad. Losing two people will only double my workload, not triple (Remember, I said braindead).

Anonymous said...

>>Dont the testers in these teams check for boundary conditions

Didn't you hear? We fired them all a couple of years ago and replaced their talents with automation...


...and now we should really be hiring fulltime STEs to do that work again, because when you have SDETs trying to become "real devs", and no contractors doing the STE work (either because they're gone or because they don't know how), you miss little things like this.

Anonymous said...

Joe Peterson silently retired.

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/joepe/default.aspx

watch for more in WGA to go .. brad :)

"Bradzilla" should have been fired a long time ago! He is the poster child for braindead Microsofties. Poor leadership abilities and low self-esteem. He drove WGA into the ground (which was managed by a bunch of losers anyway). Adios Bradzilla! HA!

Anonymous said...


Joe Peterson silently retired.

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/joepe/default.aspx

watch for more in WGA to go .. brad :)

"Bradzilla" should have been fired a long time ago! He is the poster child for braindead Microsofties. Poor leadership abilities and low self-esteem. He drove WGA into the ground (which was managed by a bunch of losers anyway). Adios Bradzilla! HA!


Totally agree, this group lost alot of money up and beyond just the impact on WGA .... JoePe == longhorn reset, Brad == Terminalservices, on-and-on-and-on

I hope your able to spend as much corporate cash for your holiday team events (cruises, hyat, etc) in your next position(s)

Anonymous said...

So is it true that an email went around within Office telling people there will not be a lay-off in Office? I find that not believable.

Anonymous said...

So is it true that an email went around within Office telling people there will not be a lay-off in Office? I find that not believable.

--

no

Anonymous said...

So is it true that an email went around within Office telling people there will not be a lay-off in Office? I find that not believable.

--

no

---
people in STB are being told this week. Good luck you folks

Anonymous said...

Windows layoff announcement coming within next two weeks.

Anonymous said...

Contractor count dropped by 10k over the new year. It's on headtrax folks...

I'm really glad they are letting go of the contractors first...

Anonymous said...

I noticed that the vendor count went down dramatically over the new year as well in HTX. Not sure if there was a chunk of open positions in there or what, because it's unclear how they could get rid of so many so fast. But I'm glad someone else noticed that - I thought I was maybe seeing things. Before the holidays there was ~75k vendors, now there are ~65k.

Anonymous said...

---
Windows layoff announcement coming within next two weeks.
---

Which divisions?

Anonymous said...


Windows layoff announcement coming within next two weeks.


Is this FUD, or do we have credible evidence to support this?

Anonymous said...

---
Windows layoff announcement coming within next two weeks.
---

Which divisions?

--------

Fundamentals and also networking

Anonymous said...

Apparently layoff announcements are coming in E&D within the next two weeks as well.

I wish we didn't always bungle these things so terribly. What executive committee thinks that keeping totally silent while employees spend weeks listening to grapevine rumors and reading press stories about impending layoffs is the right thing to do?

Sometimes I'd really just like to throw my shoe at Ballmer.

Anonymous said...

The dash trash layoffs are just the beginning. Don't believe for a second that the blue badge is an immunity idol.

Yahoo's Tech Ticker reported today that the layoffs are still on, despite word of the contrary.

Anonymous said...

Windows layoff announcement coming within next two weeks.

Bull. Name your sources.

Which divisions?
-------
Fundamentals and also networking


Also bull. Cutting fundamentals when Win7 is barely in beta is suicide. This is the part of the project when they have the most work to do. And "networking" is more than a little vague.

If you're going to spread FUD, at least be clever.

There's no layoffs coming in Windows. Or Office. If you work in either of those places, and have talked to your manager at all in the last 2 months with no hint of a problem, you're fine.

Anonymous said...

In my group, we were recently told that "Microsoft is always evaluating headcount in order to leverage people as effectively as possible and reorgs are always a possibility." That was quickly followed with a slam of Mini-Microsoft and a discounting of any speculation of layoffs.

Meanwhile, my manager's door was shut all day today, and I think it's a little early for him to be working on mid-years.

Curious.

Anonymous said...

There's no layoffs coming in Windows. Or Office. If you work in either of those places, and have talked to your manager at all in the last 2 months with no hint of a problem, you're fine.
--

sso tell us where things are not safe

Anonymous said...

70 members in windows mobile going to layoff in next 2 weeks.

Anonymous said...

70 members in windows mobile going to layoff in next 2 weeks.

---

Any more details? Which group in Windows Mobile?

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, my manager's door was shut all day today, and I think it's a little early for him to be working on mid-years.

That's right. He/she is working on getting ready for this weeks calibration ranking meeting. You know... the basackward process of rating you before you write your mid-year. My manager asked me a few days ago to put toghether a list of achivements so he can go into the meeting well prepared to represent me; and probably my peers too.

Anonymous said...

In my group, we were recently told that "Microsoft is always evaluating headcount in order to leverage people as effectively as possible and reorgs are always a possibility." That was quickly followed with a slam of Mini-Microsoft and a discounting of any speculation of layoffs.
-------------

MS will not lay off - Re-org and go find a job. Can't find a job? Ohoh, that's your problem.

Anonymous said...

Search is safe

Anonymous said...

how many people are seeing moving carts/boxes in the hallways magically appearing?

Anonymous said...

MS will not lay off - Re-org and go find a job.

That's kind of the definition of a layoff.

Can't find a job? Ohoh, that's your problem.

Considering the hiring freeze, I'd call it more of a foregone conclusion.

Anonymous said...

I have been a constant underperformer and I think the day of reckening is coming for me. What suprises me was Microsoft couldn't still lay me off for a long time most probably they are very scared of laying off people for legal reasons. I think this time they will do mass layoffs to get around the problem. You know, when they layoff so many people together it is hard for employees to take individual legal actions.

Anonymous said...

"The dash trash layoffs are just the beginning. Don't believe for a second that the blue badge is an immunity idol."
--

Wow, I've never heard the term "dash trash" before. That's pretty cool, seeing as I'm one of them. It sure beats being an FTE, like I was a year ago. Hmm. Maybe they need a name too -- how about Type A Holes?

Anonymous said...

The all up numbers that I am hearing are sufficiently large that no one or two groups will bear all the brunt. For someone to say that one group or other is safe is not true, everyone will be affected to some degree or another. By all accounts, this is set to pop next week. And I say bring it on. MSFT could easily lose 20K FTE and not miss a beat.

Anonymous said...

Confirmed today morning. No layoffs(or any RIF via re-orgs) in Search, Windows, Office, OSB, E&D.

However, except hiring freezes and cost-cutting (no morale events for a while).

Many groups still have open headcounts for Vendors

Anonymous said...

WSJ is reporting Microsoft layoff plans. It's time to push the highly irrelevant CES stuff off (consider the deepness of this recession) and put the layoffs on the first page again.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean we might lose the towel service?

Anonymous said...

I hear "dash trash" frequently. Always from a- and v- employees. Sort of a joke at their own expense, as they always laugh when they say it. I laugh too, it's a joke amongst those circles. (I'm an FTE and would never use the term myself of course.)

Anonymous said...

Check out Wall Street Journal article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123197886745683743.html

Who da'Punk said...

WSJ is reporting Microsoft layoff plans. It's time to push the highly irrelevant CES stuff off (consider the deepness of this recession) and put the layoffs on the first page again.

Yeah, Ms. Fried at CNET has picked this up, too.

To be honest: I'm pretty flippin' hesitant to put anything new up about job losses at Microsoft until something - anything - real actually comes up. It is still speculation, rumor, and second-hand stories.

And as much as I might strive to qualify a posting as such, it will no doubt be as explosive as lighting a cigar in a bustling fireworks plant. And we don't need that right now.

I'm planning my next post to be the one for the quarterly earnings for Jan 22nd. Usually I put that up the night before, but in this case I'll do it at least as of the beginning of next week.

Anonymous said...

What's your gut on this though, who da punk? Internally, is the discussion just paranoia fueled by the media frenzy or is it more informed conjecture? Do YOU expect fte layoffs this quarter?

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