Monday, January 19, 2009

FY09Q2 Results + Town Hall

FY09Q2: last time I speculated that the growing global economic crisis was going to be on the mind of the analysts. This time? Rumor resolution. God almighty, are you there? It's me Mini... along with all of Microsoft and every region in the world that benefits from Microsoft's employees. Please put this rumor about cutbacks to rest once and for all.

Because, you know, when you have a couple of check-ups during the week and all the staff wants to do is dish on all the Microsoft layoff news and news they have heard from other Microsofties, things have just gone too far.

What kind of interesting topics do you imagine might be covered during the day on this Thursday? Some items on my list include:

  • Cost-efficiencies: what does Microsoft plan to do with respect to cost efficiencies within the current economic climate? Personally, I think they'll be veiled references to our continuous review system to ensure we move on the bottom 10% and that will have to serve as a wink-wink-nudge-nudge to Wall Street. I also hope that we point out we're able to great deals on some of our previous plans and expect to save money as part of our competitive infrastructure build-out.
  • EU: (I can dream - it seems that the analysts never bring the EU up) Looks like the Ghost of Christmas Past has decided to pop up and start harassing the reformed Ebenezer Scrooge. What? The? Hell? Yes, Microsoft screwed up big-time by making the boned headed pronouncement that the web browser was an essential part of the operating system (smack to the forehead). Now Microsoft is getting their butt handed to them by Firefox and other browsers. So what, EU, you're saying: "Excuse me, might I kick that butt before you hand-it over to them?" The investigation is a dark cloud over the European market, has potential to randomize the Win7 release, will result in another billion-esque $USD fine, and I hope will give the US Administration a good reason to rattle the cage with-respect-to trade with Europe to stop this kind of shake-down.
  • Win7 + Office 14 Release: I imagine that there will be some probing over the final release of the next gen cash cows. And we'll say they are on track.

(Putting this up early for anyone to share what details they want to hear. Moderation-wise: sorry, no more rumors or FUD or misspelled Liddell comments. If it seems fishy, I'll CRF it for now. If you're right, well, I'll bring it back into a post and vindicate you.

More details post quarterly results, along with any interesting postings...)


Town Hall Friday: lots of rumors flying around, quarterly results Thursday, and then a Town Hall Friday morning. Let's hope that all spells resolution to the fear, uncertainty, and doubt stirred up to a crescendo as of late. The good-ending scenario is that Steve Ballmer gets out there and finally rips the rumors to shreds and proclaims that Microsoft is a one-of-a-kind juggernaut of a company that is going to be in the position to take advantage of the downturn to re-invest and surge past its competition while they are mired in the mud of the recession.

The not-so-good-ending scenario is that there's some kind of tough-love re-org truth to all the rumors as the leadership balances out and we get to hear how everything is expected to shake out.

Whatever happens, I expect that we'll see continued decline in contractors, headcount flat for the rest of the year, and a vigorous push to either get rid of the bottom 10% or get them back on track into the 70% bucket. Which probably ends up meaning a 5% reduction, in the long run.


(What do you want to hear during the Town Hall? Detail free follow-up impressions after Friday's Town Hall...)


184 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dang it, I am sick and tired of waiting. I hope some analysts on Thrusday directly ask Chris whether we are going to have a layoff or not. If not, I am going to ask Steve myself on Friday, once the open mic Q&A session comes at the end.

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure by the time Steve takes the stage Friday, all of whatever is going to happen will have already taken place. Steve's time will be to ensure those who kept their jobs that what just happend is a good thing, and that it is time to move forward.

Anonymous said...

Seems like many of us forget a few facts about Microsoft.

First, we lay off people all the time - under performers, disbanded groups, consolidated teams, acquisitions, dispositions... We do this as a regular course of business as opposed to holding them for a big "across the board" layoff that many other large companies do. In fact, we've been quietly stepping this up all fiscal year as we realign resources for the current fiscal year and upcoming launch waves.

Second, typically around MYR we have some high level departures and some additional reshuffling of resources including people. This happens every year and yes, as part of that a few people often go as well.

Third, Microsoft has a very solid core business roadmap that fits well with our traditional wedge strategy. In a down market we can sell upstream or "skinny" up some solutions and sell downstream. The code base convergence with the formerly called Longhorn roadmap has panned out well especially with Windows 7 (which totally rocks by the way if you're not on the beta you should be).

We've had a few more senior, some well known outside, some lesser known, departures. Seems like a lot of our senior execs suddenly want to "spend more time with their family". Gerri Elliot, Kurt Kolb, Joe Peterson to name a few. Also some partners have found themselves in a holding pattern with a fixed time to leave. So we're culling at all ranks - some by choice, some not.

And yes, we have things to do better at. OSG, COI or C&G or whatever the heck we're calling all that this week - honestly I'm losing track. Yes, we need to stablize or cut bait on some businesses on the edge. But this isn't new news we just don't have an excuse to procrastinate any longer. So embrace the change or be mowed over.

Fear and panic are useless and result in some very odd behavior. That seems to be much of what we see right now. Everyone is a little nervous, but you can't stress out too much about what you can't control. The question for each of us is, how do my role and my contributions make the company better? How do I help customers? How do I positively impact the P&L? That is what you should think about.

Anonymous said...

Joseph Tartakoff's Seattle PI blog has specific details on cost-cutting moves involving Real Estate development deferments and allowing some leases to lapse. Company perks will not be cut (Chris Liddell vetoed), although that solution was proposed.

Anonymous said...

I think that being more competitive in the browser market is a must for our future. The web browser has been taking over the OS in importance for a while now and the future is devices like cell phones not full PCs. The fact that winmo is looking a bit long in the tooth and ie is slow and clunky compared to most competitors does not bode well for the future. The only bright spot is that we are investing in server infrastructure for "cloud" computing. That is where the future growth is, not in a mostly saturated PC market. I am hoping to hear a more cohesive strategy around future technologies or else the street will continue to pan the stock price if we keep sounding like we are just going to do what we always do.

Anonymous said...

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/396697_msftexpansion20.html


Microsoft expansion could take a hit to cut costs

Still unclear whether layoffs part of plan

Anonymous said...

Topics that I'm interested in this forum:

Why WinMo7 beta is still not out? Are they are waiting for iPhone v3 to come out first? I'm really interested how this group really works internally. What kind of politics gets played even under such humiliation.

Anonymous said...

Mini, you're the one who stirred up the rumors in the first place. Every article on the subject eventually loops back to here.

You have zero right to complain about rumors dominating the discussion, here, internally or over the internet.

Anonymous said...

Um, to point out the bleeding obvious, even if it is announced this week that there will be no layoffs, that doesn't preclude the possibility of layoffs later in the year. Or next year. Or the year after that.

We are in for a long hard depression, everyone, and it doesn't look like the various national governments are going to be able to stop it. Batten down the hatches and begin putting things on your teams into order to weather the storm. That goes double for your own personal situation; stabilize your finances while you're still employed and before any benefits are cut.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, you can ask if you are still here. :)

Anonymous said...

I want to hear about how our strategies are adjusting. If layoffs are true you can't tell me that Microsoft is going to still keep it's fingers in so many pies and expect to weather this economy. Drop Zune.. drop Mobile.. walk away from search... SOMETHING that says Microsoft is re-focusing on doing exceptionally well on a few things rather than decently to poorly well on dang near everything.

Anonymous said...

a vigorous push to either get rid of the bottom 10% or get them back on track into the 70% bucket.

---

i see my mgr trying to get me on the "track" path ... oddly enough feels real but won't know until we get past these milestones

Anonymous said...

Let's hope that coming out of Town Hall we are 10% lighter and 100% more efficient by simply eliminating:
1) WW EPG (each sub has their own EPG org - what is the value of HQ?)
2) WW SMSP (each sub has their own SMS&P org - again what is the value of HQ?)
3) the $100M marketing slush fund managed by WW OEM - read HP, Dell, etc. - how is this mkgt spend good for growing revenue in this economy? Offsetting computer hardware margins lost in order to win deals? What about spreading that investment across more impactful partners who do not have the same deep pockets.

Turner would achieve his goal of $500M cuts by doing those three things. It would also force the BGs and field to communicate more directly and track and adjust to real ROI.

where is the accountability for driving real revenue? not in overlay HQ teams - anybody looked at the commitments for our Directors and GMs in those org mentioned above lately??

Anonymous said...

This is a pretty obvious indication who is most important to the company, and it is investors not employees. Back in the day it was the reverse. If employees were more important, the town hall would be first and the company would be more interested in keeping its mental talent happy than keeping information from leaking to investors in an unmanaged way. Instead they choose to talk to investors first and let employees worry for a day about anything that is said. Sad, but nothing new. Five years gone and four times the compensation I couldn't be happier.

Anonymous said...

Working a lot of with outsourcing vendors in China. Have seen increasing cut-back on that. May see more in the upcoming months...The news should be official on Thursday. At least it will put an end to all the speculations and rumors!

Anonymous said...

Why are we barking on management? I do believe, if they have had an intention to fire someone, they will not keep silence about this, today. If you weren't attending last MGX, please ask someone who was there about what Steve told the audience about stock price at the day when FY08 results were announced. I don't think he cares a lot about stock price. He cares about The System sustainability. If there will be actual firings and wild rumors about upcoming firings, The System will loss its sustainability. So, I think they are trying to avoid excessive firings to keep all of us just working on f$%#ng Cows.

Anonymous said...

Whither MINI-Microsoft?

I get why you would dislike the timing Whoda, but I honestly can't tell why you wouldn't want Microsoft to shrink in size. It's more than tripled since Ballmer took over as CEO and it has not added to performance. Almost everyone (who bothered to stay) recognizes that the quality of hires has suffered and there are a full bench of B's hiring C's.

Management is convincing itself that it is finding the A's and keeping them via Partnership, but it's readily apparent that there is nest-lining. The company has alway winked at rest-and-vesters, but it's getting worse.

Most importantly to me, look at the people who you respect, and how many of them are partners? Some are. I am amazed at the number of true stars (the ones everyone knows in their group are the real ones getting things done) who are not being rewarded. There are an awful number of flops at the partner level already.

Ballmer believes this is inevitable in a big company and long ago set on a track that has now calcified the company.

I just don't get why you, of all people, would be meekly hoping that Ballmer pulls out more unwarranted bravado and say that we are invincible and wink/nudge his way through another meeting.

Anonymous said...

My bet: No obvious layoffs, but we'll lose a lot of people perceived to be sacrificial lambs, bottom performers, that guy you never liked anyway.

Sadly, the folks keeping this company down are the sycophants, yes-man, buzzword-bee, let-me-change-the-topic-without-answering-your-question and trust-me-on-this people who seem to get along well without contributing.

If -au contraire- we end up cutting full groups, once, I'll throw in my towel as chief pessimist and will sing Ballmer, Ballmer Halleluja all day long. Not holding my breath, though.

Anonymous said...

no kidding... rumors rumors rumors - jeezus, you'd think as a company, we'd step up and set the record straight here...

Anonymous said...

I would expect to hear questions about Windows Mobile plans in light of the continued growth of iPhone + Palm OS showing at CES. Ballmer will likely respond with Skymarket plans and op system improvements but I'd be curious to know, if any of you really do, just how well those are currently going?

Anonymous said...

The company is cutting back on extraneous stuff. I got turned down for a relatively cheap conference but I agree with my manager; the content will be available in-house so it's an expense we won't make today.

Anonymous said...

This article in the PI seems to lay out possible cost cutting measures. It looks like any new buildings will be on hold for the next few years.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/396697_msftexpansion20.html

Still - the silence from SteveB and LisaB is troubling. I wish they would just say something.

Anonymous said...

Glad Liddell is so impassioned about the continuation of free Pepsi. I hope he feels as strongly about actual human people.

Anonymous said...

I really want to know what is Microsoft's long term plan to survive this big global slowdown that is cutting demand for all the technology products and services. If you are just looking at Microsoft's last quarters earnings statement, what I have to say is "You ain't see anything yet". This demand destruction just started in October of 2008 and it is accelerating every week. I don't think Microsoft can just layoff 5% of the people and survive this downturn. It would be a much better solution to get rid of all unprofitable business and make a major cutback now. In that way Microsoft will be able to retain all the best people in profitable groups without destroying their morale. I know most of we are techies don't really see what is the global big picture now is.

The bottom line is no matter how smart Microsoft employees are or what good products they make when nobody wants to spend money (enough money so Microsoft will be profitable) on technology products there is nothing anybody can do to keep everybody employed for a longtime. In my opinion, keeping unprofitable groups alive is a corporate suicide.

jon said...

off-topic but i'm not sure where else to put it ... the new Whitehouse.gov is apparently implemented using ASP. a win for .NET?

Anonymous said...

As an admin, I have a different take on all this. If you really want to increase productivity, get rid of any middle management (especially glorified admins) that come between you and the person you support. Not only would this resolve communication problems, it would cut costs--and deflate egos--as well.

Anonymous said...

Could you explain what's wrong with EU?

AFAIK Microsoft is just being punished for pursuing illegal activities and not complying. It's Microsofts fault that it's been dragged so long.

Anonymous said...

SteveB, please spin off E&D and get back to the basics of delighting customers with best softwares.

Shrink/miniaturize programs and headcounts back to Win XP launch.

MSFT can certainly use fewer indirect headcounts. Can certainly do without bunch of MBAs in marketing departments and fewer PMs and middle managers too.

Anonymous said...

>If employees were more important, the town hall would be first and the company would be more interested in keeping its mental talent happy than keeping information from leaking to investors in an unmanaged way.

I'm pretty sure it's a Sarbanes-Oxley requirement that any news that will affect market performance must be made publicly first.

As for the EU - it reeks of "economy's down, time to go pick pockets." Our entire response should consist of the "I'm a PC" ad where Apple bashes us because MacOS comes with more applications built in. I'll lay money that if we pulled IE out of Windows7 the next day there'd be an "I'm a PC" ad with Mac saying "I hear you don't even have a browser built in."

And by the way, if the OS doesn't come with a browser, how do you get one?

Anonymous said...

The good-ending scenario is that Steve Ballmer gets out there and finally rips the rumors to shreds and proclaims that Microsoft is a one-of-a-kind juggernaut...

Okay, on three you can come out of your happy place and wake up! 1..., 2...

If earnings and guidance are as bad as expected and not accompanied by significant business focus reductions and layoffs (the expected scenario following last week's non-announcement), I'm interested in hearing the rationalization. That would be contrary to the promise made to analysts and shareholders last quarter that the company would dial up cost-savings measures as required if conditions worsened. It's also out of step with many other already more efficient technology companies and doesn't appear to be in line with the reality of slower growth for several years (at least). MS got away with a similar approach in 2001, but times have changed. And while Ballmer may be able to get away with saying the stock doesn't matter internally, effectively sending that same message externally will be the coup de grace for an already battered stock.

This is a pretty obvious indication who is most important to the company, and it is investors not employees.

You must have the ten-year stock chart inverted.

Anonymous said...

The important thing is that we get to keep the towels...

Anonymous said...

Google is one of the fastest growing businesses out there, with nearly uncontested dominance and among the brightest of futures. Yet they have shut down at least six different under-performing ventures in the past few weeks alone (Printads today), gotten rid of 100 recruiters, and significantly reduced their previous 10,000 contractors. MS isn't fast growing, is losing share across virtually every segment worth tracking (OS, browser, mobile, search), and has a much less clear future. Yet outside of dropping some leases and building plans, what equivalent concrete action is being taken? Google and others seem to be dealing with this crisis responsibly and aggressively. MS so far seems to be playing the now customary role of laggard.

Anonymous said...

Latest rumor here (Reuters via Forbes):

Microsoft expected to cut jobs as profit weakens

Anonymous said...

Ballmer will likely respond with Skymarket plans and op system improvements but I'd be curious to know, if any of you really do, just how well those are currently going?

Oh, and this would be an excellent place to discuss all of that in detail, would it? Maybe we could put up some charts for you that would spell out our whole strategic plan for all products, for the next 1-5 years. That'd be helpful, wouldn't it?

Jeez...

Anonymous said...

I wish someone would ask if Microsoft is porting Windows 7 to ARM to run on netbooks, or is going to try to use Windows CE/Mobile, or will just surrender this upcoming market to Linux.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the "one-of-a-kind juggernaut" is IBM:

IBM: Recession? What Recession?

http://finance.yahoo.com/tech-ticker/article/161078/IBM%3A-Recession%3F-What-Recession%3F

"After market close Tuesday, IBM (IBM) reported a fiscal fourth-quarter profit that rose 12% year-over-year and said it expects its earnings for 2009 to surpass current estimates. IBM believes it will earn at least $9.20 a share in 2009, while analysts have been betting on $8.75."

Pretty incredible results. And to add insult to injury:

"thanks in large part to its software business".

Anonymous said...

Interesting points from 24/7 Wall St Blog. Agree that MS needs to jettison Xbox, Zune and MSN:

http://www.247wallst.com/2009/01/alls-well-with.html#more

"Microsoft has continued to make a set of decisions about its ancillary operations which no one on Wall St. can understand or explain. The company is still in the video game business, which has poor profits and creates all sorts of product liability issues when the game consoles overheat. Microsoft also persists in selling its Zune media player although its share of the market will never be more than 5%. Both businesses are a drain on money and management time.

The most vexing part of Microsoft's business is the company's internet operations because they hold a key to the company's future but are a confusing menagerie of zoo animals.. But, if the economy gets bad enough, the decisions about what Microsoft should do with its portal and search businesses will sort themselves out quickly. CEO Steve Ballmer is under enough pressure that whatever patience he has will desert him. The MSN portal loses money and has no value to Microsoft, now or in the future. The company's search product could be set up like Google's (GOOG) without any content or interfaces. Pure search. The consumer either uses it for his own benefits or he doesn't. When the search engine is combined with a portal supported by display ads, the combination just confuses the consumer.

Microsoft also does not need the MSN portal to support its aspirations to sell its software online or to allow its software to work remotely on its customers PCs supported by Microsoft servers. Google has no special claim to this method of service delivery. It is common place in the software market so Microsoft does not need to blaze a new trail. .

Microsoft has confused having a splashy presence on the internet, producing losses of hundreds of millions of dollars each year, with the opportunity to market its products and distribute its search business. A website with a video of Britney Spears, stock quotes, and classified ads has nothing to do with serving software customer needs. It is like putting a gorilla in a race car."

Anonymous said...

>> Oh, and this would be an excellent place to discuss all of that in detail, would it? Maybe we could put up some charts for you that would spell out our whole strategic plan for all products, for the next 1-5 years. That'd be helpful, wouldn't it?

Um, no. That's not what I asked. I asked if anyone on this blog had their own insights into the projects, And given the state of Windows Mobile and Skymarket, I'd still be interested in the collective perspective.

Chill, dude. Your 'tude is showing big time.

Anonymous said...

"I wish someone would ask if Microsoft is porting Windows 7 to ARM to run on netbooks, or is going to try to use Windows CE/Mobile, or will just surrender this upcoming market to Linux."

Err did you not see the PDC/Beta/CES coverage? Win7 rocks on netbooks already without the need for an ARM port.

Anonymous said...

"Why WinMo7 beta is still not out? Are they are waiting for iPhone v3 to come out first? I'm really interested how this group really works internally. What kind of politics gets played even under such humiliation."

The problem I see with that org is that the top layer gets sacked every other year, the bottom layer moves on every other year due to disillusionment, but the middle layer who control the design are still the same folk who've been in that team for 10+ years.

Anonymous said...

From Reuters:

"Checks indicate that Microsoft is likely to engage in headcount reductions to the tune of 6,000 to 8,000 employees or 6 percent to 8 percent of its 95,000 workforce," said McAdams Wright Ragen analyst Sid Parakh. "Our checks also revealed some speculation over the potential for a second round of cuts in some groups sometime later in the year."

If this is true it is yet more evidence of Microsoft's management deep rooted incompetence. When it comes to layoffs you don't drag things on. You cut once and deep, then assure the remaining employees that what needed to be done has be done and they can concentrate on doing their jobs.

Anonymous said...

According to http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/396697_msftexpansion20.html , "But the presentation shows that in December, Microsoft's Real Estate and Facilities Team developed a scenario to estimate the company's real estate needs under the assumption that the company's work force would not grow for the next 2 1/2 years."

That doesn't sound like a layoff. It sounds more like what's already happening today: no new headcount but you can replace attrition.

Anonymous said...

Forget Yahoo—Buy Palm
Why Microsoft would be foolish to get into the Web ad business.


"Microsoft's own boom-era delusion was that by buying Yahoo, it could succeed in both the Internet ad business and the software business. Now that the boom is over, Microsoft ought to take a page from its rival and pick a single business. In 2009, companies are expected to spend about $45 billion on Internet ads. The market for software is nearly 10 times that size—around $388 billion this year. If you were Microsoft, which would you choose?"

Several other good insights including core developments MS has missed while being distracted by Google envy and MS's worsening position in the increasingly important mobile space. The specific Palm suggestion is interesting, although it depends on how far along Mobile 7 really is. It also runs on Linux, so that's a potential philosophical problem.

Anonymous said...

Where can US employees over 40 who are affected by upcoming layoffs gather for mutual support if their jobs are cut in lieu of H and L visa co-workers?

Anonymous said...

Do EEOC reports track layoffs by age, sex, and citizenship/visa status?

Anonymous said...

Where can US employees over 40 who are affected by upcoming layoffs gather for mutual support if their jobs are cut in lieu of H and L visa co-workers?

Losers

Anonymous said...

Lots of angst expressed against H1, L1, and other temporary foreign workers who may not be laid off while their greencard and citizenship holding counterparts are laid off.

First, if Microsoft indeed proceeds to layoff on a large scale, you can be certain that the lawyers have done their homework to ensure the company is on firm legal ground. Don't count on succeeding against a company that has done its legal homework and has decades of experience in laws related to hiring (around the world).

Second, have you heard of "trade"? US sells goods/services to other countries. How can the rest of the world be not allowed to sell their goods and services to the US (H1 and L1 category labor is one service provided by some foreign nations that specialize in providing those white collar services)? Upsetting this delicate balance of trade amongst nations is ill-advised. Go back and read how the country screwed itself by imposing excessive tariffs in the early stages of the 1930s Depression.

Anonymous said...

Where can US employees over 40 who are affected by upcoming layoffs gather for mutual support if their jobs are cut in lieu of H and L visa co-workers?

let me guess, you're thinking here:

http://www.insiderpages.com/b/3723308094

Anonymous said...

From the seattle times article:

Not constructing Buildings 81 or 83 could put additional space pressure on the Windows team, which under one scenario was set to move into those buildings.

Windows makes the company a lot of money. Yet they're spread out across some of the oldest buildings on campus (with horrible lab facilities). I work in building 50, and I laugh every time I visit friends in some of the core campus buildings.

Kind of a shame that E&D gets a gigantic new building while the people that make most of the money for the company are using labs that used to be conference rooms.

I really want to know what is Microsoft's long term plan to survive this big global slowdown that is cutting demand for all the technology products and services.

Apparently it's to start another crappy advertising campaign. It doesn't do anything to encourage people to spend money on our products.

I wish someone would ask if Microsoft is porting Windows 7 to ARM to run on netbooks, or is going to try to use Windows CE/Mobile, or will just surrender this upcoming market to Linux.

Windows 7 will never be ported to another architecture. Ever.

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft has continued to make a set of decisions about its ancillary operations which no one on Wall St. can understand or explain."

IBM's earnings today are going to reinforce that. Despite having similar issues of size, mature businesses, etc., they have rather quietly built five collectively recession-resistant segments, the least profitable of which contributed gross margins of 28%. More than ten years into its diversification efforts and a mountain of money and publicity later, MS is still almost totally dependent on PC sales for growth and profitability and is going to have a horrible report and outlook as a result.

Anonymous said...

I guarantee that anyone who is "laid off" will be done so with just cause of performance problems. EEOC complaints and talk of H1's is a moot point if they make cuts based on performance. All bets are off and any lawsuit possibilities are out the window.

It's up to you to prove that you were discriminated against due to being in a protected class. To do that you're going to need some specific evidence to support your case (ie. emails or witnesses) If not then all the company has to do is show one of your poor reviews and case closed.

At a time like this the EEOC system will be bogged down as many people will be attempting to exact revenge on their former employer. You'll wait 6 months to hear back that your claim has no merit and then you'll be black balled in the industry.

By all means if you're being discriminated against you should file with the EEOC. But you should file with the EEOC now if you're laid off or not. And don't cheapen the system by filing out of spite without a clear case. Real people need the EEOC to help them.

Anonymous said...

"The MSN portal loses money and has no value to Microsoft, now or in the future. The company's search product could be set up like Google's (GOOG) without any content or interfaces"

The WallSt247 blogger has no idea what he's talking about: this is how search vs. portal is already set up, and it's been doing worse since than when it was part of MSN. The "portal loses money" part is wrong, too. OSB shuffled all of the (unprofitable) Local Live groups into the (profitable) MSN teams to hide some of this. It would be nice to see these numbers broken out separately again (kinda like Zune vs. E&D), but there's no chance of that.

Anonymous said...

We should talk about how many copies of the "N" versions of the OS sold, and compare that to the engineering investment that we had to make in them for Vista and future releases.

I hope someone has the balls to tell the EU to screw off.

Anonymous said...

"The problem I see with that org is that the top layer gets sacked every other year, the bottom layer moves on every other year due to disillusionment, but the middle layer who control the design are still the same folk who've been in that team for 10+ years."

Spot on.

Drop WinCE and get a small focussed team to redevelop Windows Mobile on the MinWin kernel. And hire in some UX talent to do the interface.

Anonymous said...

One got to do what one has to do. My only hope is that MS reduces the right set of people - I mean look at not just entry level new people, but also at the senior execs who have not created anything but empires without impacting top-bottom lines (there are many).

jmo21 said...

to the person asking if the OS doesn't have a browser then how do you get other browser's.......

clearly, you are correct.

how they would make MS implement this is by giving the user a setup choice where they choose the default browser

the scary thing for MS is that an incredibly high percentage of users would choose the one with Google in the name

Anonymous said...

We should talk about how many copies of the "N" versions of the OS sold, and compare that to the engineering investment that we had to make in them for Vista and future releases.

Negligible, because the bulk of Windows licenses come via the Royalty OEM route. And the system builder OEM "N" licenses are slightly more expensive than regular ones here in the UK.

As a customer and sysadmin, I don't mind that Microsoft bundles genuinely useful programs - what I do object to is when those are leveraged to lock the customer in to a proprietary technology.

The Office 2007 "free trial" is a case in point - it is basically ransomware, as the clueless user happily creates .docx files until the trial runs out. Then they have the choice of losing their stuff, wasting time converting it for their older version of Word that they didn't bother to install, or paying the troll.

Many Microsoft products are good enough to succeed on their own merits... so why this greed?

It is the company's boundless greed that results in compromised products, turns off users once they get some clue, and also reflects back into many Microsofties' working environment.

W7 is looking good because it is driven by a desire that the customers should be happy (at least it looks that way from the outside!).

Anonymous said...

Kind of a shame that E&D gets a gigantic new building while the people that make most of the money for the company are using labs that used to be conference rooms.

I doubt envy of E&D will last when the envious learn that E&D's new building is made up of cubicles, not offices.

Anonymous said...

>"I guarantee that anyone who is "laid off" will be done so with just cause of performance problems."

Don't forget, a group reduction in force is a layoff no matter how you cut it. We understand that HR would love to fire all RIF personnel so that unemployment insurance is not paid, but the bottom line is any appeal will be granted to the employee for insurance on grounds the person was laid off.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft WIll have cuts. If they don't, it is at their own peril. I agree with others who observe the company is bloated, which, in my opinion, hampers creativity, efficiency and effectiveness.

I've said it once, and I'll say it again: That Microsoft has not created a search engine even remotely comparable to Google is not because there aren't talented people, it's the organization has barriers to doing so.

Microsoft is a marketing machine. Software is it's vehicle. Politics is the basis of its operations.

The best software/IT companies are software machines, with adjunct marketing departments. Politics are generally viewed negatively.

Anonymous said...

I just got this error message when trying to open Headtrax:

"The Headtrax application is unavailable at this time and is expected to be back up again on January 23rd."

Anonymous said...

I think Balmer needs to go as part of the RIF.. shareholder value has reduced by 60% since he took over as CEO eight years ago. Which company would allow a CEO to stay this long when its stock has underperformed the broader market for 8 straight years?

Anonymous said...

I just got this error message when trying to open Headtrax:

"The Headtrax application is unavailable at this time and is expected to be back up again on January 23rd."

Dude -- thats routine maintenance, please dont scare the hell out of everyone :D

Anonymous said...

> We should talk about how many copies of the "N" versions of the OS sold, and compare that to the engineering investment that we had to make in them for Vista and future releases.

> I hope someone has the balls to tell the EU to screw off.

Free clue: Microsoft is not bigger than the EU. This is a government. You do not tell the government to screw off. You are going to lose if you do.

How can Microsoft, a US corporation, lose to the EU? If pushed/ignored, they can:
- sieze any/all Microsoft assets within the EU, and/or
- imprison the most senior MS officials located within the EU.

Drop the arrogance. The government may be wrong, but you aren't going to win if you tell it to screw off.

MSS

Anonymous said...

Since headtrax is down, I think it's pretty clear something is going down and HR/Senior Leadership doesn't want anyone to see what they're up to.

Anonymous said...

"The Headtrax application is unavailable at this time and is expected to be back up again on January 23rd."

Who thinks this is just a coincidence!

Anonymous said...

Wow. I wasn't sure about this whole layoff rumor thing until I went to headtrax and saw that message. Headtrax has maintenance all the time, but if that's all this is, it is the worst possible timing I've ever seen!

Anonymous said...

As a former M'softie, I feel for my friends still working there - I can only imagine the absolutely disruptive and cannabalistic churn that is going on and has been for weeks. That kind of behavior was bad enough when I left a few years back - I can only imagine how bad it's become.

On the dark side, I have a desire to see M'sft stumble a bit...their time is long past due. Call it bitter grapes or whatever you wish, I just think the company's "always 2nd", "don't innovate when you can 'borrow'" mentality is ready for a harsh reality check.

I just hope that doesn't come in the form of lay-offs...

Anonymous said...

Much as I dislike EU action, unbundling IE would be a great thing. At work we can't upgrade to IE7 because several applications require IE6.

That's one of the reasons Firefox is popular; you can't upgrade IE6, and you can't install IE7 separatly.

Anonymous said...

5%, that is what the cut will be.. This from someone very high up in HR.. so approximately 4500 people world wide, which isnt too bad considering the pace at which the growth MS has been on. Some of that 4500 will be not replacing folks that left, so really it wont be so bad.

Will you really be that sad to see slackers and the bottom folks in your group be let go? I know I wont be. This is a GOOD thing people. Its good for the company, good for the stock price, its good motivator for those people near the line and just doing enough to keep their job.

Everyone needs to look at what they do everyday and ask "Can I do more? Can I have a bigger impact? Can I help Microsoft grow and prosper"... Take pride in the company like we used to do in the 90's and work hard and do great things. I dont think that is too much to ask for.

So stop reading mini-microsoft and do some work and help Microsoft be all it can be.

For the 5%, it was nice knowing ya. Take the experience you had at Microsoft and go help somoene else succced. Maybe this wake-up call will help motivate you to be more productive in your career.

3pm tomorrow, this will all be disclosed.

Anonymous said...

I too checked headtrax site. The message says:

The Headtrax application is unavailable at this time and is expected to be back up again on January 23rd
Thank you for your patience during this outage.

Well - this should be a very good indicator that layoff emails/meeting requests will go out tonight or tomorrow morning. Good luck to all.

Anonymous said...

I've been keeping an eye on comments here. I dont understand one thing - if MS needs to reduce headcount, why dont they give 'Voluntary retirement option' with standard severance package.

Some people mentioned on this blog that they are here at MS only because they need to pay their bills. They dont see have any passion for their products. Such folks will leave sooner or later and are not good for the product anyway. Why not just 'buy them out' by offering voluntary retirement.

This will pave way to potentially hire fresher folks, with passion and energy for the products.

This makes total sense to me as an employee and MS shareholder. Dont know if the senrior leadership cares or not.

Anonymous said...

Steveb wouldn't announce a big layoff during inauguration week. Would he?

Anonymous said...

the headtrax thing is true. now, that's some scary confirmation.

Anonymous said...

The big issue at the moment is the secrecy. The HeadTrax issue, the sudden mandatory manager training today.

Because no one knows what's going on, everyone is freaked out. Less work is being done and more people are playing political games (badly).

I'd rather hear the news already.

Anonymous said...

If you pick on the bottom 5% for layoffs then aren't we just encouraging every group to hire at least 5% who are underpreformers? Think about it for a second. Given the way we rank (and the rankings are worse than arbitrary) there will always be a bottom and randomly we could all be there...so there would now be a great argument to pad hiring with 5-10% useless fluff.

Anonymous said...

Headtrax is down, admins are supposedly asked to be around Thursday and Friday (http://www.tweaktown.com/news/11143/microsoft_layoffs_imminent/), Town Hall Friday... without a doubt, fishy.

I note the admin point "supposedly" because it's really just another rumor point here, but still, interesting in the context. Should shape up to be an interesting week.

Anonymous said...

That Headtrax error is either firm confirmation that something major is coming down tomorrow or one hell of a coincidence.

Anonymous said...

I want to hear how IBM can post good results, and Apple spectacular ones, but MS can't even make its already lowered forecast.

Anonymous said...

http://headtrax says

HeadTrax Status

The Headtrax application is unavailable at this time and is expected to be back up again on January 23rd

Thank you for your patience during this outage

Anonymous said...

Mini - if there is a RIF, I hope they clean house by reducing the number of VP's and Partners within MS. These guys have been self serving by spinning non-strategic projects and making poor business decisions.

In this economic down turn the company has an incredible opportunity to leap frog the competition. Its time for MS to stop being the dog chasing its tail, lets be smart and efficient and produce products and service the customer really needs.

Anonymous said...

A lot of the comments are valid but I don't agree with the give up on Search option. If it's anything that we've seen the last few years, it's that we can't ride the Windows/Office horse forever and we may not be there today but we HAVE to be there to compete against Google. Our stock price is a reflection of confidence in our ability to survive in the future. Every investor knows we have cashcows, the problem is they don't have confidence it will last forever.

Anonymous said...

I wish someone would ask if Microsoft is porting Windows 7 to ARM to run on netbooks, or is going to try to use Windows CE/Mobile, or will just surrender this upcoming market to Linux.

Netbooks will not have ARM CPUs in the forseeable future. ARM cores are for lower-power devices like phones and provide unacceptable performance for netbook-like devices. It takes 40+ seconds for my iPhone to render NYT.com over wifi, whereas it only takes my Atom-based netbook a few seconds.

The reason Linux succeeds on netbooks is because it has a low memory footprint (in terms of RAM and disk) and boots/resumes fast.

Anonymous said...

Why do companies immediately resort to layoffs? MS has done very little to try to cut costs. Though travel budgets have been reduced and I am seeing people forced to "bunk up", I also see a lot of unnecessary travel by Execs to China and Japan. My Org alone could have saved $1 million dollars by assigning a task to existing employees instead of hiring staff overseas (would go into more detail but fear identifying myself)

Yes $1 million dollars is not going to save the company but you can bet this type of thing is going on elsewhere within the company and how much does this add up to? Frivolous lunches, dinners, catering. Why not cut towel service, reduce the shuttles, try something else? Anything else first! Require employees to pay $10a doctor's visit?

There are layers of people who could be cut in my Org, think Office Space and the guy who had the job of bringing the customer orders to the Devs. We have a lot of that. But also how many high paid execs could we eliminate and still function normally? Yet they won't be touched. Of course MS has always filtered out the bottom performers. I have known some of them and they ended up with higher paying jobs.

But where is anyone, even the top people going to get a job in this economy? When companies resort to layoffs they only perpetuate the cycle. People have no jobs or not adequately paying jobs thus no money to spend, the cycle continues and the economy will never recover. Not just Microsoft but God help us all. It is a very scary time we are living in. And whoever says we need to focus on the customer, it is hard to do that when you don't know whether you will be receiving your last paycheck. Shame on our Execs for dragging this out if it is true and not putting our minds at ease if it is unsubstantiated.

Anonymous said...

If we *are* having any lay-offs, I'd like to see some reducing and/or restructuring the Partner program. Those folks are getting some pretty hefty bonuses and not always for clear reasons. I think the Partners should have to *gasp* live on the sort of bonus % the rest of us get.

Anonymous said...

We wait till the morrow when all shall be made known. Horay, horay...

Anonymous said...

This is a pretty obvious indication who is most important to the company, and it is investors not employees.

>>You must have the ten-year stock chart inverted.


It's clearly not the investors. And it's not the employees. So who is it?

Partners.
Execs.
VPs.

They make the mega-bucks and they're the ones the company works hardest to keep happy. Everyone and everything else appears to be secondary based on the adage of putting your money where your mouth is. MSFT puts its money heavily into its very top tier, and everyone else can go jump in a lake for all MSFT cares.

Anonymous said...

Previously I found some reassurance in the fact that Intel hadn't laid off anyone despite a major decline in profits, and other major companies such as IBM hadn't laid off anyone either. It didn't make any sense to me that Microsoft would have a major layoff when other tech companies aren't.

Today comes the news that Intel is laying off 6,000 and layoffs are underway at the moment at IBM.

At this stage I am thinking that it would be almost irresponsible for Microsoft to not have any layoffs.

In a way I am glad because I am a good developer and I have been moonlighting. I have been working on a program (at home; not using any MS resources or proprietary knowledge) which I intend to sell on-line. I just didn't have the guts to quit my job to work on it full-time. Getting laid off will probably benefit me because now I don't have to make the hard decision to quit.

Thank God I have been moonlighting -- it gives me some control over my own destiny.

Anonymous said...

CNET article about Headtrax going down: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10147644-56.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20

WTF Microsoft? Way to generate more fear...

Anonymous said...

>>Where can US employees over 40 who are affected by upcoming layoffs gather for mutual support if their jobs are cut in lieu of H and L visa co-workers?

The unemployment office.

While it's perhaps comforting to believe that "foreigners are taking our jobs",I just don't believe it's so. I'm not a visa holder, I work with those who are, if I get laid off and they don't, perhaps it's just because I suck and they don't.

Anonymous said...

Not to add more fire to the Headtrax being down post, but that sure seems to conflict with a mail out to all managers just today for prepping for the MSPoll. It included the line:

"In preparation for the MS Poll, we will freeze organizational data in Headtrax. The data frozen on the 27th will populate this year’s MS Poll. Therefore, please ensure that your organization’s data is correct by this date."

Seems kinda strange to lock Headtrax for 2 days the same day that this is announced.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, just tried to login and got the same message from HeadTrax. Something fishy is definately transpiring...

Anonymous said...

In a crisis like this I have one thing to say...
Save the Blibbet
Now where did I put my "save the blibbet" button?

Anonymous said...

"I've said it once, and I'll say it again: That Microsoft has not created a search engine even remotely comparable to Google is not because there aren't talented people, it's the organization has barriers to doing so."

That is just not a true statement. Have you ever used Live Search on Live.com? Its results are just as good, if not better, than Google's. In terms of related services (Maps, News, Image Search) the Live.com versions are also either as good or better. From a technical/search quality/experience stand point Live search is just as good as Google. Prove me wrong.

Anonymous said...

The Office 2007 "free trial" is a case in point - it is basically ransomware, as the clueless user happily creates .docx files until the trial runs out. Then they have the choice of losing their stuff, wasting time converting it for their older version of Word that they didn't bother to install, or paying the troll.

Both Office 2003 and Open Office read .docx files.

Anonymous said...

> Yeah, just tried to login and got the same message from HeadTrax. Something fishy is definately transpiring...

Um yeah it's called a layoff. Pull up the calendars of conference rooms...HR has reserves rooms all day Friday in multiple rooms throughout campus. I imagine that where ppl are getting informed and/or picking up their layoff packages.

Anonymous said...

hey mini, can you turn off moderation for tomorrow/friday? any data would be helpful now (except for the trolls)

Anonymous said...

I don't know about everyone else, but I'm "not feeling well" and so I'll probably "work from home" Thursday and Friday

Anonymous said...

"I just think the company's "always 2nd", "don't innovate when you can 'borrow'" mentality is ready for a harsh reality check."

While I agree a reality check is needed, your assessment of the problem is shallow, dated and uninformed (like a good troll). The problem as I see it is that we are not even borrowing or being always 2nd any more. We were successful when we were swift followers of new products and could invest in a way to release a superior product before there was an established leader in the problem space. Those days are long gone, as are the days when we could get it right by v3.

I think the mentality now is "roll your own." Take no one else's product into account, pay no licenses for something that works perfectly and everyone already uses (say by allowing people to share their Zune plays on last.fm). It's all msft all the time and we will roll our own (usually crappy half assed)component before we give another company partnership. This is biting us among hardware as well, where OEMs are making end user experience decisions to the detriment of the Windows experience and are as disinterested in helping us sell our product as possible. My fear is that Windows 7 will have its awesomeness clobbered by Dell/Toshiba/Sony's crapware. Because we're not good partners with them either. Live Writer might be the exception except now they try to get you as invested in Live offerings as possible just to install it.

Anonymous said...

I will be very dissapointed if the cut will be only 5%. That really means this is just the first layoff.

Anonymous said...

I imagine myself in the cut. The writing's been on the wall I'm not in the right place, but economy preventing me from leaving the nest so to speak.

If done with dignity and severance, I will go with no hard feelings and great appreciation for the help in softening the landing. Keep it classy Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

Stop dreaming cutting VPs/Partners/Execs. They are the people who holding the knives and preparing the lay off tonight (or tomorrow). Will they cut themselves? No way.

Why we have so many middle layer mgmt? Simple answer: MS will kick your ass if you are not promoted for 3 years. You have two choises: be part of mgmt, or be a seniorer IC. Obviously the first one will be easier. If we don't change this policy, everybody will be pushed to the same way eventually (some of us may like to be a technical IC but i guess <40%?).

Anonymous said...

For the 5%, it was nice knowing ya. ... Maybe this wake-up call will help motivate you to be more productive in your career."

Not everyone is in the 5% due to their own actions, or deserving the cut. But I guess accepting that as fact would mean MSFT or its management could be capable of mistakes *gasp*. At any rate you just keep the faith. The more self-important, and shallow the individual, the greater the possibility that enlightment will be unpleasant.

Keep whistling past the graveyard buddy.

Anonymous said...

That sounds plausible...don't be surprised by that.

I am just wondering what's going through the mind of career Microsofties...where Microsoft is the only place they have worked and have never been laid off in their life? The sky is falling!!! ;-)

> I will be very dissapointed if the cut will be only 5%. That really means this is just the first layoff.

Anonymous said...

"I will be very dissapointed if the cut will be only 5%. That really means this is just the first layoff."

That's what yesterday's article from Reuters seemed to imply and if that's true it's concerning. Microsoft had enough trouble shipping products on time back when people thought their jobs were secure. Can you imagine them working under the constant threat of another round of layoffs?

Anonymous said...

"I think Balmer needs to go as part of the RIF.. shareholder value has reduced by 60% since he took over as CEO eight years ago."

Ballmer, 70%, nine years ago, and I think you're right. Read an article today about leadership. Coincidentally, it was written by Netflix founder and MS director Reed Hastings. It ended with this:

"The big lesson? If you are a great people leader, you had better not lead them into a box canyon from which there is no escape. In leadership, market judgment trumps nearly everything else."

Market judgment is Steve's Achilles heel. He's been wrong about, late to, or missed completely just about every shift this decade. Underestimated competitors such as Apple and Google not once, but repeatedly. And has consistently overestimated reception to MS offerings, including even franchise ones like Vista. As a result, the company has spent most of that time reacting or digging expensive dry holes while others have led and secured dominant positions in lucrative new areas. Reputation, perception, market capitalization, have all suffered. Something needs to change.

Anonymous said...

headtrax is down until Friday... figure that out... Layoffs tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

"Yes $1 million dollars is not going to save the company but you can bet this type of thing is going on elsewhere within the company and how much does this add up to? Frivolous lunches, dinners, catering. Why not cut towel service, reduce the shuttles, try something else? Anything else first! Require employees to pay $10a doctor's visit?"

Seriously? I would rather we layoff unneccisary employees then have our benefits cut or make doing business harder (even if I am one of those employees). The benefits this company has are some of the best in the world, you cut those and that would prove we are like every other cold company out there. People should be treated well and if that means we should have less employees, then so be it, but lets not start cutting out what makes it great to work here. People with ideas like this have ruined the advantages of having a full time job. You start cutting into benefits and you might as well be working for a Big 3 Auto Maker.

Anonymous said...

"From a technical/search quality/experience stand point Live search is just as good as Google. Prove me wrong."

Okay. A simple query: "Microsoft" and the news category.

Top Google results currently:

- Microsoft group suggested dropping 'Vista' from Home Basic, docs show
- Wall Street waits for layoffs at Microsoft
- Lotus Notes, Microsoft Competition Heats Up
- Microsoft Sells Off Comcast Stake

Top Live results currently:

- Microsoft expected to cut jobs as profit weakens
- Gates, others pledge $630m to eradicate polio
- Russia: No more space tourists after 2009
- STOCKS NEWS US-Wall Street poised for higher open on IBM…

Anonymous said...

Mini - Please do NOT turn off comment moderation tomorrow or Friday. This place is full of enough bullshit as it is.

Plus you know that external news sites are watching now. We don't want all of the dirty laundry to be seen.

Anonymous said...

It is comfirmed folks... the not so good performers in their current roles are being let go... tommorrow the news is going to be out...HR briefed all affected people's manager this evening...folks who think who might be one of those who is getting let go - please make yourself mentally strong. remember if is not the end of the world...

Anonymous said...

MS should give those being laid off decent severance packages. Let's face it, the so called 5%ters are really mostly those victims of office politics. (and we know who the players are don't we)

People should be treated decently, with less chances of hard feeligns here, there and everywhere, do it right MS.

Anonymous said...

My career only has been at Microsoft had ups and downs but i landed up in a bad team with bad managers with a bad review in august.

Very nervous, may be lay off will be good eye opener. I noticed nothing unusual today. Headtrax being down makes me very nervous.
Hope they give good severance package atleast.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, guys - MSFT will get the layoffs right by the 3rd one. ;)

Anonymous said...

While yes there will be some amount of layoffs, did anyone pause to think that maybe HeadTraX is down also because there are some MAJOR re-orgs in the works? By the weekend, the GAL will be correct with the new world order and that has to be done through two days of SAP / HeadTrax fun. Otherwise, you could go see that E&D is going to look vastly different in 48 hours based on all the pending requests.

Anonymous said...

"I am just wondering what's going through the mind of career Microsofties...where Microsoft is the only place they have worked and have never been laid off in their life? The sky is falling!!!"


This is a situation nobody should find themselves in. Back in the early 90's when I was still in college I remember reading about the troubles at IBM and it really struck a chord with me. Even though I was in my early twenties the description of middle-aged men and women who had known nothing but IBM suddenly sent packing and looking for jobs in an uncertain economy completely freaked me out and I swore I would never end up in that position.

Microsoft offered me my first job out of college. After almost 10 years there I realized I was on my way to becoming just like those IBM employees I had read about in college. Someday, maybe not soon but someday, MSFT would hit a road bump, my job might be on the chopping block and I had no clue what the outside world was like. Wouldn't it be better to make a controlled exit before becoming unemployable anywhere else?
So I wrote my resume, put it out there, interviewed with two companies, and got an offer with one of them. Leaving Microsoft was the hardest decision I ever made. I literally stayed awake at night. I knew I had a promotion coming and that almost made me stay. But in the end, I decided it was time to go.
I ended up loving my new job. I picked up a lot of new skills, and most of all I proved to myself that I could do well outside of MSFT. But I'll tell you, that first "day after", sitting in employee orientation, one recurring thought kept crawling through my mind: "What have I done? Lord, what have I done?" (I'm not always very good at dealing with change, can you tell?)

If MSFT ends up announcing layoffs this week I will consider myself lucky (because honestly, although I could see a future where Microsoft would have to layoff, I never thought it would come this soon). If anybody here loses their job, best of luck to you. To those lucky enough to keep theirs, take this as an opportunity to prepare yourself in case you're next.

Anonymous said...

If you see packing boxes in the hallways or somewhere nearby, be wary...

Be prepared - clean up your office and take home any personal stuff. You won't have much time to pack your stuff if you have collected lots of stuff over the years. You'll get escorted to your desk to get your personal stuff and out the door....

And for the others, scavange the left behinds before the other vultures get to them!

Anonymous said...

And if you get laid off, take a breather, it ain't the end of the world.

Make sure you sign up for COBRA and go to http://www.esd.wa.gov/uibenefits/index.php to register for unemployment benefits. You won't get any for the first week.

And make sure you record all your job searches. With the budget deficit, they're more careful.

Anonymous said...

With layoffs comes pay freeze?

Anonymous said...

Let's hope that coming out of Town Hall we are 10% lighter and 100% more efficient by simply eliminating:
1) WW EPG (each sub has their own EPG org - what is the value of HQ?)
...

Turner would achieve his goal of $500M cuts by doing those three things. It would also force the BGs and field to communicate more directly and track and adjust to real ROI.

where is the accountability for driving real revenue? not in overlay HQ teams - anybody looked at the commitments for our Directors and GMs in those org mentioned above lately??


I am part of the management team in one of the large subs - I could not agree more with the suggested saving potential.

- Bloated an fat
- No value to customers
- No value to field
- De-focussing field resources from their main job: sell and deliver value to real customers
- Increase disconnect between field and PG/BG

90% saving potential.

Anonymous said...

"Do EEOC reports track layoffs by age, sex, and citizenship/visa status"

No, the company has no obligation to inform EEOC about the layoff/firing or their demographic information. If you think you are in bottom 5% because of discriminatory reasons and the company lets you go because of that, then you can complain to EEOC.
EEOC will investigate if there was discrimination. If it comes to that conclusion it will work with the company to rectify the situation first. That is the most common outcome compared to going to court.
You need to have some data to backup your complaint. Its not necessary that the discrimination is obvious like "you are ***ethnicslur and thats why you got a limited". Everyone understands that its never that explicit.

Anonymous said...

> Have you ever used Live Search on Live.com? Its results are just as good, if not better, than Google's.

Once every year, I switch back to Live Search to see if it's any good. I start by typing in "Oracle". As of yet, Microsoft can't seem to find Oracle.com.

You can't even use Live Search to search for files on Microsoft.com. For example, try finding a certification with Live Search. Won't work. Google points you at the right page straight away.

Anonymous said...

Can we have moderation turned off at the first sign of a layoff until Friday so people can get immediate updates? Moderation will make this blog incredibly useless if the big event happens.

Anonymous said...

Just remember that a 10% cut in R&D = 1 RROD ($8.8B / 95k employees = around $100k). Or if you use $200k/employee 1 RROD = 5% layoff.

So think of something special for Robbie Bach and $1B lost for the red ring of death fiasco.

Anonymous said...

Not MSFT employee - As outsider shareholder I see that IBM exceeds expectations, Apple exceeds as well... And MSFT won't! Why is MSFT paying the partners, GMs, VPs & above the hefty $s? Are they not the ones responsible for failure? I thought MSFT follows performance based system - huh?

Anonymous said...

The 3pm disclosure time sounds about right. All web publishing tools are locked down from 11am - 3pm today to prevent new bits being placed on the sites.

marc said...

9:06 AM todayNew Microsoft: Economy, IT spending 'slowed beyond expectation' - MarketWatch
9:05 AM todayNew Microsoft job cuts include 1,400 lay-offs Thursday - MarketWatch
9:05 AM todayNew Microsoft cutting up to 5,000 jobs over next 18 months - MarketWatch

9:03 AM todayNew Microsoft Q2 revenue $16.6 billion vs $16.4 billion year ago - MarketWatch

39 seconds ago Microsoft Q2 profit $4.17 billion vs $4.71 billion year ago - MarketWatch

1 minute ago Microsoft Q2 profit 47 cents a share vs 50 cents year ago - MarketWatch

Anonymous said...

The PI reports 5,000 layoffs including 1,400 today.

From the PI:

Microsoft says it will slash 5,000 jobs

Microsoft Corp. said Thursday it would lay off 5,000 workers over the next 18 months, including 1,400 jobs today, marking the first time in its history that it has laid off workers across all of its operations.

The layoffs show how the economy has taken a toll even on companies renowned for their ability to withstand downturns.

The announcement is also a severe blow to the Puget Sound region, which counts Microsoft among its largest and strongest employers.

Anonymous said...

NEWS: Microsoft says it will cut up to 5,000 jobs over 18 months - 1,400 immediately;

This is the worst way to cut jobs. Small upfront layoff with the prospect of laying off another 3% in the next 18 months. If there is a great way to kill morale, this is it.

Anonymous said...

Per the Seattle PI:

"Microsoft Corp. said Thursday it would lay off 5,000 workers over the next 18 months, including 1,400 jobs today...."

http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/microsoft/archives/160076.asp

Anonymous said...

Earnings report is out:

http://www.microsoft.com/msft/earnings/FY09/earn_rel_q2_09.mspx

Anonymous said...

Earning and Job cuts just announced

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2009/jan09/01-22fy09Q2earnings.mspx

Anonymous said...

Microsoft is simply becoming irrelevant at a faster rate than ever before:
- on the mobile front, well... the iPhone that Steve said was never going to succeed has burried Windows mobile.
- on the internet, Firefox has gained huge percentage points in non-US markets and is the de facto browser of choice for tech influencers...
- on search, MSN/Live/(whatever name of the day) is not making any inroads on Google...
- Vista?
- Office - substitution products are becoming good enough so that the need to upgrade is really waning...

How did this happen? Steve and the feudal system in place at Microsoft with partners as the nobility, more inclined to preserve their turf rather than making the appropriate decisions for the business... Of course this trickled down with a whole bunch of mediocre managers thinking themselves leaders (as in the oft-heard leadership team that is neither a team nor exerting any leadership). Sad thing, the layoffs are not going to change anything... unless the fundementals of management are changed at MS but I won’t hold my breath on that one...

Anonymous said...

Just got SteveB's email. Looks like you were wrong. And that the other shoe dropping does sound like a sigh of relief, sort of. now we wait.

Anonymous said...

Layoffs just announced...
5,000 jobs within 18mos, 11% drop in second-quarter profit.
http://www.komonews.com/news/38136914.html

Anonymous said...

Preaanounced Terrible Numbers. Minor Layoffs!

Anonymous said...

1,400 out and no pay hikes this year. It could have been worse.

Anonymous said...

Wee - the lay-offs are official. 1400 to go immediately.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28791669/

Q is which groups are affected most.

Anonymous said...

5000 jobs? Are you kidding me? That's a drop in the bucket and Wall Street is reacting. They know that the number should be at least between 10,000 - 15,000. 5,000 is laughable and now this just sets Microsoft up for more layoffs. Also MSFT won't forecast earnings for the rest of the year, yeah, The Street loves that. Wow, a more f--ked up group of execs could not be running a company. I'm glad I left 8 months ago, I can't imagine the sheer terror from pretty much everyone working there now. Not productive to have an axe hanging over you all the time.

Anonymous said...

1400 layoffs today. Just announced.

Anonymous said...

it is official - Lisa Brummel's email came just before Steve B's this morning:

I would like to take a moment to ask for your support as we move through this unique time. You have a lot of information to absorb today, and I want to use this mail to provide guidance to you as managers. You play an important role in helping lead the company through this challenging time.



The most visible change today is with our people. Some employees will learn their jobs are being eliminated, some managers will be communicating this information, and many co-workers will wonder how they can help.



For employees whose positions are being eliminated, we have provided as much information as possible to help them transition to their next opportunity. For managers responsible for communicating to impacted employees, I strongly encourage you to use the resources available to support people through this change. Finally, I ask all managers to be thoughtful about what is happening around you. Show people the respect they deserve and step up to lend a hand when and where it is needed. If you’d like to understand more about how you can help, you will find information on HRWeb.

Anonymous said...

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2009/jan09/01-22fy09Q2earnings.mspx

Doesn't sound too bad.

"In light of the further deterioration of global economic conditions, Microsoft announced additional steps to manage costs, including the reduction of headcount-related expenses, vendors and contingent staff, facilities, capital expenditures and marketing. As part of this plan, Microsoft will eliminate up to 5,000 jobs in R&D, marketing, sales, finance, legal, HR, and IT over the next 18 months, including 1,400 jobs today. These initiatives will reduce the company’s annual operating expense run rate by approximately $1.5 billion and reduce fiscal year 2009 capital expenditures by $700 million."

Anonymous said...

Layoffs... announced... see SteveB's email.

Anonymous said...

Announced! 5000 jobs eliminated...Wonder if it was bottom 10% who got eliminated? Wonder if I have been eliminated...

Anonymous said...

The mail is out. 5000 heads cut over 18 months; 1400 heads today.

http://www.microsoft.com/msft/earnings/FY09/earn_rel_q2_09.mspx

Anonymous said...

Anyone know where the axe fell?

Anonymous said...

It just happens...

Anonymous said...

Ok - now we know. 5000 total, 1400 today.

It's time to write to your senator and your Representatives to push legislation that H1B holders should be let go of before U.S. citizens.

Cantwell, Maria - (D - WA)
511 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-3441
Web Form: cantwell.senate.gov/contact/

Murray, Patty - (D - WA)
173 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-2621
Web Form: murray.senate.gov/email/index.cfm

http://www.house.gov/

Anonymous said...

so... when and how do the 1400 people find out today?

Anonymous said...

"I will be very dissapointed if the cut will be only 5%. That really means this is just the first layoff."

Layoffs destory companies. I'm shocked to see this. Clearly the cost cutting wasn't working fast enough. I sincerely hope this is the last big layoff for a very long time. 1400 will be gone, it sounds a large group will be cut.

Anonymous said...

5,000... ouch.

Anonymous said...

mini - Your policy of moderating every post does not seem appropriate, esp. for day like today when employees are getting laid off.

I for one would really like to post/talks real time with other employees. I am a bit nervous about myself getting laid off.

Is there any other forum, where a poster does not have to wait for moderator to "approve" their post?

Anonymous said...

Layoffs official today.

http://money.cnn.com/2009/01/22/technology/microsoft_jobs/index.htm?postversion=2009012209

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/23/technology/companies/23soft.html?_r=1&hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1232636504-l1d7FkJA0bpitDyf2D2H0w

patricianne06115 said...

After running my own business for the last 8 years in the packing and moving industry - I have seen many Microsoft employees come and go. Newcomers are excited to be here and many of those that leave, leave to further their careers or for family reasons.
As anonymous said - this happens all the time with Microsoft - and it will pick up again as it has in the past. Patty - AAA 1/2 Price Moving Services

Anonymous said...

hey microsofties, you've got mail!

Anonymous said...

Too little. Too late. The first two people should be laid off are CEO and CFO for such a stupendous incompetance. When whole world saw this downturn coming in 2007 these two kept expanding Microsoft because of the sheer arragance and lack of skill. Microsft is the only company that never punishes to very top. The board of directors should be fired at once.

Anonymous said...

And here's the announcement: "As part of this plan, Microsoft will eliminate up to 5,000 jobs in R&D, marketing, sales, finance, legal, HR, and IT over the next 18 months, including 1,400 jobs today. These initiatives will reduce the company’s annual operating expense run rate by approximately $1.5 billion and reduce fiscal year 2009 capital expenditures by $700 million. "

http://www.microsoft.com/msft/earnings/FY09/earn_rel_q2_09.mspx

No raises next year either? Good thing the raises were so paltry, we probably won't miss them.

Anonymous said...

From Ballmer's mail: "We’ll also reduce costs by eliminating merit increases for FY10 that would have taken effect in September of this calendar year."

I wonder if that means executive bonuese and board member bonuses will also be on hold. Call me cynical, but I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Aw, shucks. So, the details are out.

Not only will Steve and consorts be around to ruin the company even longer while laying off the productive line workers who wouldn't suck up to their bosses enough, no, we're also going about doing this in the most braindead way possible:

Lay off 1400 in breadth (not nearly enough to be called a decisive move) instead of cutting unprofitable groups wholesale, and announce we'll lay off 4000 more in the next 18 months. Ouch. Let's create FUD amongst ourselves and make sure our best people start looking elsewhere.

Not that I truly expected any better, but this is worst-case-management.

Anonymous said...

Read the latest email from Steve.Its confimered microsoft will fire 5000 people this year 1400 will be fired today.

Anonymous said...

http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/techtracks/2009/01/22/microsoft_cutting_1400_jobs_today_up_to_5000_in_ne.html

And so it begins.

Anonymous said...

Well the rumors were true after all.

Check your inboxes employees.

Then read the Seattle Times MS blog in addition NOT mentioned in the emails.

"In addition to the job cuts, Microsoft is eliminating merit increases in the 2010 fiscal year, which begins July 1, the company disclosed in its quarterly report, filed with the SEC."

Anonymous said...

Its official now.

Anonymous said...

From Ballmer's email:
>>We’ll also reduce costs by eliminating merit increases for FY10 that would have taken effect in September of this calendar year.

Merit increases? But not bonuses? Or are bonuses considered a "merit increase?"

Ken said...

It's a sad day for Microsoft. Layoffs are necessary -- but that doesn't make it any easier...
They could have been avoided if "panic spending" had been avoided in the boom times...
http://kenmo.wordpress.com/

Anonymous said...

The massive layoffs have been announced today (see cnet.com). CRM Live, Zune, and Office may be affected.

Anonymous said...

it's official, and looks like you're getting what you originally asked for. The stock is at $17, thousands no longer have jobs and mr anonymity (that's you) is surely more smug than ever.

Anonymous said...

ok, so the layoffs have been announced along with a salary freeze for this year.

question -- what is the status with the SPSA grants and partner incentives? have they been eliminated or dramatically reduced for the year?

thought not. same shit, different day -- at least now the final bit of microsoft's legacy mystique is gone and we're truly no different than boeing.

see ya.

Anonymous said...

You should pay attention to whether 9 bucket classification is being used in your groups this MYCD or 7 bucket ones. If this classification forms the basis of lay offs, then 9 buckets favors higher levels more. It is very difficult for a lower level guy to end up in higher bucket in this system.

Anonymous said...

The guy was right, even if he can't Liddel's name. I guess some people didn't want to hear what they were hearing.

So which team is affected?

Anonymous said...

kudos to Mini for providing a forum where MS employees can get the something resembling the truth. These rumours have been floating for nearly a month, while our pathetic senior leadership like Ballmer and LisaB sit idly by

leave to MSFT to screw up layoffs,

Anonymous said...

first off I'm so sorry for those who are affected :(
To increase everybodys knowledge could you please share

Level
Do you get severance
What is severance
What happens to your stock

Anonymous said...

I love it that HR and legal are taking it in the pants...

I wonder how many HR morons gleefully participated in axing folks in IT, only to turn around and find they too, had been axed?

Anonymous said...

I hate to say this, but it may be time to put this blog on hold Mini. Its prepostrous that a mention of HT on this blog is now a leading story on CNET. Mini is a place for people to vent in a hugely unsubstantiated way.

Yet is is now becoming a "news source" for the current generation of almost incomprehensibly lazy and irresponsible "journalists" who all actually collect a paycheck for regurgitating blog rumors onto legitimate news sites.

That Wall St then picks them up and runs with them just sends the rabbit hole deeper. When a rant blog like this, and a total FUD site like, well, FUD, can actually start to MAKE news by generating rumor ABOUT news that is then picked up by people that MAKE news... we have a problem...

Anonymous said...

From a technical/search quality/experience stand point Live search is just as good as Google. Prove me wrong.

That's easy. Just type bernie and see if live brings up madoff on the 1st page, or on the 2nd, etc.

Anonymous said...

great point... bernie madoff doesn't even exist in the automatic completion section, hah!

Anonymous said...

Netbooks will not have ARM CPUs in the forseeable future.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Do a google search on Freescale ARM netbook. It's coming this year, and it will be much cheaper and besides that use less battery power.

Anonymous said...

As a shareholder, I am disappointed.

IBM beats, Google beats, Apple beats and MSFT? These all live on the same planet, where economy is hitting them all!

Why would you not blame the VPs & GMs who have taken poor decisions over past few years (and were also promoted, mind you)? Clearly, they spent $s cooking up wrong strategy!

Any VP or GM wants to take up the hard questions

Anonymous said...

There's more to these layoffs than meets the eye. Just ask "The Google:"


http://www.google.com/search?source=ig&hl=en&rlz=&q=%22Microsoft+layoffs%22&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f

Anonymous said...

@Patty - AAA 1/2 Price Moving Services

OMG you guys moved me about 5 years ago! (between apts, already at ms) You guys rocked. One guy and his teenaged son (I think on summer break). They did an awesome job and I will definitely be in touch if I need you again (as I'm laid off I might very well).

Anonymous said...

This town hall will go down in history as the day Microsoft died. Loved the tans though.

Anonymous said...

While these layoffs are going on, MS Field IT is holding a Five day Conference in Hong Kong with over 400 people from around the world at an expense of well over half a million dollar. What is even more appalling is the fact that this is the THIRD conference in the same year. First one was in Texas in July, in Hong Kong in October and now again in Hong Kong in June.

What do they do in such conferences. Drink, party and hold morale events. Oh of course to make it official they have a training for a day.

Ares Vista said...

You can be sure that Microsoft will recover nicely. They always do, and will now, even though this is the toughest economic times they have faced. Their business model has outlasted horrible customer reviews and experiences. Surely they can recover from anything after that.