Friday, January 23, 2009

Microsoft Layoff 2009 - Day 2

Okay, not a real post put more of a page break given the incredible number of comments from the first post on the 5,000 layoff cut-back (which is really 2,000 if you listen to Ballmer since we're hiring 3,000 people in the near-term, especially to help out with Search - take comfort in that you first 1,400 and you remaining 3,600).

Feel free to post comments on any Day 2 experiences and safe feedback about the Town Hall after you've had a chance to watch it.

If you're creating any Facebook groups because of this that you'd like highlighted please let me know in the comments and I'll roll them together. I'm especially interested in any networking groups for Microsofties + local tech companies given that some excellent contributors are affected by this, so some real talent is available.

Personally, I feel like we've taken the Sword of Damocles and rammed it through a bunch of pink slips and now we intend to dangle that above the head of Microsoft for the next year and a half. All the way through the end of FY10, folks. "Cut once, cut deep." Or, you know, don't. If you have insight to this counter-intuitive plan, please share.


520 comments:

1 – 200 of 520   Newer›   Newest»
Josh said...

Silly question: Is the town hall for public consumtion or only over the intranet.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft layoffs are undemocratic. Is it so that Microsoft's profits are more than expected in India and Australia? If MSFT had to layoff employees the locations should not have been discriminated.

Anonymous said...

If you are currently using WinISP as your web/email hoster, you better think about finding a new place. It's going to be outsourced.

Anonymous said...

Any such big town hall is basically public. Microsoft is required to make public all such communications by submitting them to appropriate authorities. That's why Ballmer email shows up as is in the Seattle Pi.

Anonymous said...

I was cut after 15 years. I believe I know the fatal flaw at Microsoft. It is the arcane notion that someone in their role for more than like 18 months is limited. That seemed to have worked in 1985. But with 75000 employees it is a disaster. Every year management seemed compelled to do new stuff. Guess what you can't have 75000 new ideas every year. It is nothing but churn. Manager N reverses the decisions of manager N-1 to shows they are doing something. Manager N-1 reversed the decisions of manager n-2. It is like a pendlum. Constantly changing but getting nowhere. Of course Manager N-1 has moved on and will in no way be held accontable for anthing they did or didn't do. Manager N-1 has already collected their high bonus and in a different role. There total lack of acountability is astounding. At any given time you are exactly where you were 2-3 years ago. It is sad and pathetic that the bloat of management destroys the talent and accomplishments of the truly gifted. Microsoft has some true geniuses. But they are buried under a many layered pile of morons. Here is a clue: Not everyone in Redmond can be a manager or PM. You know who you are. It is all of you.

Anonymous said...

I have read the transcripts of Google's townhall too, because those were submitted to the authorities too. One I recall is when they provided an option to Google employees to sell their options. Just like Microsoft did. Google had a townhall to explian this to their employees. Since they knew it was going to be public, Google employees were sarcastic to Microsoft. One of them asks, suppose Google decides to purchase Microsoft...

Anonymous said...

I'm former MSFT, so now an outsider. I'd be interested if anyoen has the guts/balls/resignation to actually ask some real questions of Balmer and company at the meeting (for example of questions, see previous 500+ posts).
Best wishes from many of us on the outside.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 7:44 is right on. I'm on the Zune team, and mgmt told us a year ago that we couldn't make a low-cost music player because MS doesn't know how to make a product without stuffing lots of features in.

Anonymous said...

My guess on the cut-now-and-cut-later thing is that individual divisions were asked to make X amount of cuts over the whole 18 month window, and to do what they could today without jeopardising key products.

For example, from what I hear, Windows is relatively unscathed, which just suggests to me that they're storing up a bunch of pink slips until Win 7 ships (or reaches a key milestone).

Conversely, over in our group we lost a lot of people yesterday, but the message we're getting is that we took all our pain now and that there won't be more.

I assume individual SVPs were given some discretion as to how to stagger their cuts. Luckily ours seems, as far as I can tell, to have decided to cut deep and cut once.

Anonymous said...

"Manager N reverses the decisions of manager N-1 to shows they are doing something. Manager N-1 reversed the decisions of manager n-2.....Here is a clue: Not everyone in Redmond can be a manager or PM."

Wow I don't work for Microsoft but that happens at the company I work at too. Maybe it is just like that at many big companies.

You have so many middle managers trying to justify their jobs and roles that in the end they do more harm than good.

Anonymous said...

I know of a few cuts in my group. It was not always based on performance. It was sometimes based on $$$. I know an individual who was a performer that was let go because they cost too much. But another who has done nothing to contribute was kept. Lower cost employee. This is terrible, it only show small gains to cut cost.

Anonymous said...

I keep seeing people mention that Search is still hiring. Good luck with that. I left Search recently because it just got way too irritating. All the worst parts of MS are concentrated there. Constantly rotating upper management making changes just so they can say they did something, middle management crammed full of over-level Partners with nothing useful to do, all working together to create so much process and red tape that it takes two weeks to make a four line code change.

I learned a lot there, but it wasn't about development or design; I learned how to run around the building pushing requirements and sign-offs past the ten different people who all required that they approve everything. And I'm glad I learned it, but there's only so much of that you can take before you want to actually BUILD something, and they just aren't set up to allow that.

I see this sentiment a lot in these comments, and I wouldn't have believed it myself until I tried, but there really is a Microsoft Reality Bubble at work. Once you're there long enough the nastiness and political bullshit start to seem "okay", or at least you start to believe it really is the same at every company because that's just how business has to work. It's not true. I moved to a position that pays significantly better, is much more relaxed, and actually values the inputs of their IC level employees. If you want someplace where you're empowered to make a difference, Microsoft Search is not the place for it.

Anonymous said...

face book group:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=57816478948&ref=nf

Anonymous said...

I know of cuts over in the Millennium complex and over at Microsoft Game Studios-RTC. Apparently, MGS-RTC got hammered, and I feel bad for my former co-workers. A lot of talent over there is getting shown the door.

Anonymous said...

"My guess on the cut-now-and-cut-later thing is that individual divisions were asked to make X amount of cuts over the whole 18 month window, and to do what they could today without jeopardising key products."

That's the explanation Chris gave on the call but it doesn't pass the sniff test. Cut once, cut deep is best practice for a reason. The productivity impact on the 95% who remain is potentially far greater than what you lose by eliminating the 5% immediately. The whole thing has the feeling of being green-lighted late and thrown together quickly. This isn't a thoughtful project by project reassessment of where we should invest resources. It was a sacrificial offering to Wall Street and bungled like so many other things.

Anonymous said...

Mini, can you provide any insight into why they're adding to Search? I don't understand - Online Services has been hemorrhaging money for something like three years, and they're going to increase their costs? I'm not an employee, I'm a shareholder.

Anonymous said...

Typical MS BS...

Let go 1.4k today and create stress and angst among 3.6k survivors over next 18 months...

Folks, get ready for mean spirited back-stabbing dog-eat-dog and find the scape goats work environment!

It's going to be interesting. Yipee!

Anonymous said...

The layoffs were not surprising, nor the size and there will be more. How about a Headtrax people counter for a Win 7 Gadget? 97K+ going down, a year from now it will be 75K employee. What is surprising is the lack of the professional manner of the announcement and the knowledge how HR/Legal was executing it. Several employees (now former) have shared with me that they have been notified over the last 3 weeks with a crash course of performance management. Their managers comments were like "you need to correct your actions or you are out of here!" HR since KT came abroad seems to be a Wal-Mart blue light special. Forcing out KJ, JR and other true blooded Microsoft gods, BrianV. The 1,400 cuts should have been in HR and Legal staff. As long as HR and Legal act like the old KGB these hard and emotional situations are just a complete nightmare. One other tip for SteveB, stop hiring from IBM, Oracle, Wal-Mart and Adobe wash outs for upper management, grow your talent, promote your talent and then you will have the Microsoft we all hired on for.

Anonymous said...

As a former Softie of the OSG variety (part of that big $6B acquisition), I want to give the heads up that while you're position might not be cut, you could be outsourced (to the Philippines), just as our 5 person group was. And if you are cut? Don't even bother trying to use the internal job search. Big waste of time as you'll be lucky to get 1 response from a hiring manager out of the 15 positions you apply for. Take the package and run!

Anonymous said...

This fucking webcast never works...ever.

Can someone do live blogging (respecting confidential stuff, of course) of the townhall? (like Engadget's blogging of Apple events)

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if the !@#$% VPN infrastructure was such that people could actually connect and see the town hall.

Did we lay the people in charge of this off too?

Anonymous said...

Cuts are hard, but MS has gotten very big and we do need to look at our business and ask the question if we are making the right investments, in the right way.

MS is not as fast moving as it was when I joined in the late 1990's. We need to focus on solutions to be the high tech bleeding edge company many of us came for.

For those who are dedicated to your work and company being more rewarding, start to lead the change for your group. Call out bad behaviour, don't let people get away with it. Band together and we will make the right changes happen.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"I know of cuts over in the Millennium complex and over at Microsoft Game Studios-RTC. Apparently, MGS-RTC got hammered, and I feel bad for my former co-workers. A lot of talent over there is getting shown the door."

True that -- there were some really strong people who were axed yesterday.

Anonymous said...

The townhall website clearly states that the live video will not be viewable over RAS or wireless (presumably for confidentiality reasons.)

Anonymous said...

re: I was cut after 15 years...

This is so exactly right about how MSFT works.

Anonymous said...

This layoff thing is a joke.

I think this is just a way to show the world Microsoft is saving money.

Anonymous said...

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=49462626446&ref=mf

Anonymous said...

lisaB is giving out a load of BS about "employee experience" for "long term" in townhall.

Hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Do not complain about how MS works, you should have known since day one, and it is not only MS, it is the greed of the shareholders of all the public companies trying to make more money, they just care about profits and cut costing without the human toll. Every time a company announces lay-offs their stock goes up. This is they way that the market works. MS just do like any other company.
Just like Mini-MS mentions MS has become too big for its own good. Now it is not about great products and innovation, it just a power struggle and the $$.

Anonymous said...

This whole Microsoft layoff round reminds me of a joke that a friend circulated to me years ago which I always think of because it reminds me of Microsoft (considering I am a former Microsoft employee of almost a decade of service). I quit years ago because of stuff like this.

----------

The Corporate Boat Race

An American automobile company and a Japanese auto company
decided to have a competitive boat race on the Detroit River.
Both teams practiced hard and long to reach their peak performance.
On the big day, they were as ready as they could be.

The Japanese team won by a mile.

Afterwards, the American team became discouraged by the loss
and their morale sagged. Corporate management decided that the
reason for the crushing defeat had to be found. A Continuous Measurable
Improvement Team Of "Executives" was setup to investigate the
problem and to recommend appropriate corrective action.

Their conclusion: The problem was that the Japanese team had 8 people
rowing and 1 person steering, whereas the American team had 1 person
rowing and 8 people steering. The American Corporate Steering
Committee immediately hired a consulting firm to do a study on the
management structure.

After some time and billions of dollars, the consulting firm concluded
that "too many people were steering and not enough rowing". To
prevent losing to the Japanese again next year, the management
structure was changed to "4 Steering Managers, 3 Area Steering
Managers, and 1 Staff Steering Manager" and a new performance
system for the person rowing the boat to give more incentive to
work harder and become a six sigma performer. "We must give him
empowerment and enrichment." That ought to do it.

The next year, the Japanese team won by two miles.

The American Corporation laid off the rower for poor performance,
sold all of the paddles, cancelled all capital investments for new
equipment, halted development of a new canoe, awarded high
performance awards to the consulting firm, and distributed the
money saved as bonuses to the senior executives.

----------

Microsoft is cutting junior employees who's salaries don't even add up to towel service that employees have ... that once didn't ... and previously had before that.

This whole lay off is just to show to shareholders that "Microsoft is cost saving." But in reality these people also have no clue and are appluding this type of activity because they think it's going to increase shareholder value. Trust me, the stock isn't going to move because some executive will spend that money on dinner at the Herb Farm.

Why don't they cut more senior people like Partners and executives who don't deliver? The only reason why they are around is because it's a good old boys club up there. They are the "no ops" of the company and need to be gone. I don't know how many time I've seen over and over again these ding bats running product units and have no clue, making poor decisions that cost the company millions because of their ignorance and the fact that they have to be right because they are higher up than you and get paid more than you.

Microsoft, if you want to cut some costs, cut the people who make these cost cuts.

Anonymous said...

To those laid off:

I keep thinking of this one scene in Frank Herbert's book Dune. They're about to leave their home planet and go to Arrakis, and Paul says, "I'm really going to miss this place." One of the other characters (Gurney Halleck? I forget) says, "Nonsense. Parting with friends is a sadness. A place is only a place."

MSS

Anonymous said...

@9:31 AM:
I AM a shareholder, and believe me, I'm not applauding this move. Sure, my opinion isn't worth squat to MSFT, but I think a lot of major shareholders are wondering what the heck is going on.

It's not about cost cutting, it's about doing what it takes to position the company better in the long term. This is a terrible economy, yet lots of segments posted good (relatively) profits last quarter. Sure, the growth has slowed, but they're still profitable - that's a sign that they're doing something right.

So why are the messing with it? It sounds like the layoffs are hitting segments that are actually MAKING money, and they're talking about ADDING TO costs in the places that have posted huge losses for years now (Live Search? WTF?). Why?? They've invested for years in these products and have nothing to show for it but red ink. Online Services posted what, a $1.3 billion loss in FY08? Meanwhile, Google made $1.6 billion over the past two quarters. It's not the economy if your primary competitor is kickin ass while you're bleeding cash.

Shareholders don't want to just see cost cutting, they want to see companies focus on what they do best, and stop doing the things they suck at. They want to see companies keep their best people and let go of the worst, but that's all the time, not just in a bad economy. This whole debacle won't do an ounce of good if management doesn't realize that (and from what I'm reading here, it sounds like they don't).

Anonymous said...

I for one am happy about the approach our company is taking. Like MiniMSFT, I agree we overhired, so we need to have SOME cuts.

However, I'm on the border, performance-wise. I love this company, and I'm trying like hell to succeed, but I don't do so consistently, yet. I would rather have the threat of being cut hanging over me (which it should be anyway) and still be able to work to fix my situation over the next 18 months. For me, that's preferable to getting fired yesterday. Because I think I WILL succeed, I think it's better for Microsoft, too.

Anonymous said...

Ballmer has been as bad for Microsoft as Jerry Yang for Yahoo. From the time he took over, the company has been on a steady decline. We are so far behind in search and advertising and he keeps throwing money and more bad people at the problem. The whole Yahoo acquisition thing was another bad move. Some people got fired for Vista - wasn't Ballmer accountable for that as well? Why were we caught by surprise by the rise of netbooks? If the people down below can make all these decisions then why are the execs and especially this incompetent CEO paid so much ??? He has been sleeping at the right job, and being unnecessarily passionate at the wrong things.

Even the layoff thing was done so poorly. Morale is low because of the 3600 number. People are talking in the hallways. The general sentiment seems to be that people want Ballmer to resign. Perhaps there should be a poll on this - and people don't want him, he should be let go?

Bush screwed the country for 8 years, and Ballmer has been screwing the company for about the same time. It's time for change..

Anonymous said...

Folks -- this is what we are facing economically -- this guy hits it square on (Forbes Top 25 Financial Blogger).

http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2009/01/brink-of-debt-disaster.html

Bank of America is about to be nationalized -- truly, the Bank of America.

Hang on to your hats, the worst is yet to come.

Anonymous said...

That's the explanation Chris gave on the call but it doesn't pass the sniff test. Cut once, cut deep is best practice for a reason.

Please consider W7, its timeline, and recognize that there may well have been a desire to hack deeply at COSD or WEX but not so much as the desire to keep W7 on schedule and deliver it on-time.

Those working on W7 should consider carefully if they are secure once RTM hits.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft is cutting junior employees who's salaries don't even add up to towel service that employees have ... that once didn't ... and previously had before that.

I'd check my facts if I were you, chief -- Of the 30 or so people I know personally who have been cut from all over the company, I would say roughly half are Director level.

Anonymous said...

"lisaB is giving out a load of BS about "employee experience" for "long term" in townhall.

Hilarious.
"

LisaB is a corporate tool who should be shown the door right along with Steve.

Of all the Microsoft executives who are disappointments, Lisa is the worst IMO -- because she used to be really, *really* good back in the day and now she's not.

She might be in an unwinnable position, but she has conducted herself atrociously and has caused far more trouble with her utter mismanagement of InsideMS than she has addressed. Fire her ass.

Anonymous said...

Now is the time for all MSFT stock holders to be thinking about the board of directors voting. Don't wait for the voting paper to come to you, act now and start the rally. If you wait it's too late. Obama won with tons of supporters and a great "early" campaign run.

Anonymous said...

The layoffs announced can't be minimized in terms of impact on individuals lives, as well as the "change in the implied deal" assumed when joining the Microsoft corporation.

There is reason for optimism for Microsoft.

The company has a tremendous business model with relatively low fixed costs (compare to Intel), no debt load used to finance sales (IBM) and broader diversification than current technology thought leaders (Goog, Apple).

Steve and management team care deeply about the company and it's employees. I think that is why such a tepid plan for fte reductions was announced.

The management team and company could use this downturn to radically improve productivity and also dramatically improve the P&l profile of the businesses that habitually underperfom financially - E&D, Online, Mobile. The team could also reduce the layers of organization, process and cost in HQ and regional HQ's. The thousands of people in Marketing, Business Managers, Program Managers needs to be cut in the double digits at a minimum.

The team needs to set a goal for what it wants to achieve - it is one of the largest most successful publicly traded companies in the world - and investors have no idea what the goal is for increasing value.

Now employees are also confused.

This place has great opportunities to create value. It needs to move fast ahead of the inevitable decline in the Office and Windows franchise values. I would argue the nearly $20b drop in market cap over the last two days is due to:

incompetence managing investors

the lack of any long term goal for investors trumping earnings release incompetence

no confidence in seriousness and urgency to make money in new businesses

worry by investors that the gig is up for Windows.

An opportunity exists for continued greatness

The company has had a great 30 plus year run and defied critics numerous times

The challenge is greater now than ever

Anonymous said...

To help with mini's request..

I was part of a RIF about 8 months ago. (after 15 yrs.)

First, the outplacement service MS offers (if it's still the same one), kind of sucks. The only thing of value is their web site.

Of course, do the obvious..network,network. There are a lot of ex-msft out there working at either companies they started, or for other Tech companies. It's highly likely you know them, or know someone who knows them.

The Times' Brier Dudley's blog is a great resource for more insight into the tech community outside MSFT.

http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/brierdudley/

Anonymous said...

"Steve and management team care deeply about the company and it's employees."


So that is why the remaining 3600 are going to be suddenly told that they aren't performing and basically suck? I'd prefer to be laid off and retain some dignity.

Anonymous said...

very surreal watching all of this from the [more comfortable, more profitable] sidelines after taking my 5+ years and leaving msft 4 years ago. Take advantage of the counseling benefit and get in and see someone to help. When I left, Mini was just getting up to speed and this was a great outlet.
I had a sweet glass of scotch last night after hearing about my old dipshit manager getting cut. Its about time.
If you are someone who only focused on how to build institutional knowledge about how MSFT works (you know all the TLA's), then you may struggle a bit on the outside. But if your tech skills were truly good enough to get hired at MSFT and stay on awhile, then you will be a valuable resource to your next company.
One interesting scenario I talked with old microsofties about was this: what if SteveB announced that during the terrible economic crisis, MSFT wouldn't lay off a single person (non performance related). Think of how much loyalty and goodwill that would have built? Everyone would be lining up to show their loyalty and getting logos shaved into their heads or some such stuff. Once again showing how to lead in this industry and refute the popular myth of the company as a ruthless place. Let the well paid execs decide to 'work for $ 1.00' a year. This kind of action would have inspired the masses and added to the legend of the place.
Before I finish, I do think SteveB had a sleepless night like many of the folks who were fired or did the firing yesterday. I think he's the one exec who will stand tall and take the body blows that we all fling at him and upper management. This wasn't the most gracious way to handle the layoffs, but its not like the company has much experience in the area. Take your skills, dust off the resume and show people you still have intellectual horesepower.
[sorry for the rant. Long time reader, first time poster]

Anonymous said...

"So that is why the remaining 3600 are going to be suddenly told that they aren't performing and basically suck? I'd prefer to be laid off and retain some dignity."

Exactly, those that were spared yesterday will "worry for the next 18 months" every day they come into work if today is their day fo rth epink slip. CNN's saying that Microsoft can pink slip anyone at any time. Gee that's a serious morale piece of information.

Anonymous said...

"I'm especially interested in any networking groups for Microsofties + local tech companies given that some excellent contributors are affected by this, so some real talent is available"

There are some networking and meetup events listed here:

blog.npost.com

Another one here:

www.hopsandchops.com

Anonymous said...

Lots of people that I know are not worried about losing their position. Why? Because they're awesome.

Be the best and don't worry. If you're a dev, fix the most bugs, write code that is well factored faster than everybody else, become not only awesome but evangelize and help make everybody around you better. If you're a tester, open more bugs than everybody else, understand product quality, advocate for the customer and be the best tester on the entire team. If you're a PM, write better designs than everybody else that balance simplicity with power with development time, understand enough about development to know what's practical and figure out what we need to do to outperform everybody else.

Be the first person that your group manager would want to hire and the last person that they'd want to let go. If everybody were to do this, we'd all benefit and sell more product as well.

I'm not worried about losing my job because I'm a top performer on a team that makes a ton of money. I can't control my god-given talents but I can control how much effort I put in so I out-hustle everybody else. It's a formula that works in every industry. There are enough slackers or average people in the world and, yes, even within Microsoft that frankly it's not that hard to stand out if you really want to. Be that person and you don't have to worry either.

And if your group is not making money then make it make money.

Anonymous said...

Check out Xconomy.com for tech news and insights. Lot's of good job contacts.

Anonymous said...

long time reader and first time poster here.. Agree with a lot of comments.

Overall the Townhall was a load of BS. They came they talked and never answered straight.

We have too much fat in the middle and senior levels- we spend too much time looking important in hour long ( at a min) meetings when we can get to the point in 20 min because the CVP has no control over the marketing blabbermouth , who once he gets the stage will never let go so we cant get to the real issues.

BTW - why have some groups got 2 CVPs, Sharepoint- Teper and Del bene, BOSG - David Thompson and Ron Markezich--- does anyone know what Ron does for a living??

Anonymous said...

Facebook group:

Microsoft January 2009 Alumni

Anonymous said...

My husband was cut yesterday, after being hired within the past few years. There is no "generous severance" for people with a short tenure, as that one week of severance for each six months, after you sign the severance agreement waving all your rights to sue them. Things that could have been cut without causing as much pain as there is in our home now: Eliminate Microsoft matching funds for giving (currently a maz of $12,000 per year, per employee), drop Ballmer's salary to $1 a year, as Steve Jobs has voluntarily done for the years since his return to Apple, eliminate the Connectors into campus(yeah, you would actually have to get yourself to work again, which my husband would gladly do if it's too much trouble for anyone who still HAS a job today), go to something crazy, like regular brewed coffee - maybe even charge for it, ditch the free pop if it might keep a few jobs, ASK FOR VOLUNTEERS FOR LAYOFF by offering the same severance package, but let people choose to go if they are rich enough to move on, consider decreasing or temporarily stopping the 401K match (currently 3% on the first 6% set aside). I would stop the 401K match before taking away the free pop, if it were up to me. Let's see, what else - oh, hey, stop bringing people into work who have to be relocated from other countries at great expense and great effort to work aroound Federal requirements. Look at any executive perks or excess that can be put on hold for a year or so. We do not live extravagantly, but are now looking at what we will have to sell, from holding a "Microsoft Layoff" garage sale, to selling the cars and the house, and possibly breaking into the kid's college fund. We will be using our prepaid legal counsel for the first time, to have them go over the severance agreement, write our wills, and discuss how bankruptcy works. For everyone who is laughing that their keycards still work - it's not over yet. The Seattle Times is quoting people by name who say they don't actually know anyone who is laid off - well, ask around, or wonder why you don't actually know the people who have disappeared in the night from your hallway. Them former Micrsoft employee at my house is devastated - professionally and personnally, and keeps saying "I'm sorry" to me - over and over and over. Beware any confidential one-one meeting request, especially if you are busy celebrating your safety. My husband said we might have to move in with his parents, but hell will freeze over before then - we have friends with basements, so maybe that will be the solution in 6 months. We will be pulling the kid out of his pay-to-play sports, and cancelling his tutor for his learning disabilities when we can't pay that any longer. If you are still on the payroll, do what we are doing - go to the doctor for your last physical, get your dental work caught up, and kick yourself every way that you didn't refinance the house in November - do it now, don't wait to hope that the rates will drop some more. We have a 15 year mortgage which we will only be able to pay for about six months - unemployment will be less than 1/4th of the current pay per month. Good luck to everyone - my husband loved working there - said it's the smartest bunch of people he has ever been priviliged to work with.

Anonymous said...

"And if your group is not making money then make it make money."

So, the reason Online Services has lost about $3.1 billion over three years is because their developers are lazy?

Sorry to break it to you, but effort is not the problem. Doesn't matter how brilliant or diligent your developers are if upper management sets them up to fail.

Anonymous said...

A GM in one group yesterday said that they were cutting "roles", that the decisions of which roles to cut were made fairly high up, and it didn't matter who was filling those roles. Super star? Slacker? Didn't matter. If you're in a role that got cut, you're out.

If cuts were really done by role, and if they continue to be done by role, then NOBODY is safe.

Scary...

Anonymous said...

"And if your group is not making money then make it make money."

So please cut Live Search, the most stupid thing in software history, even worse than BOB and Vista.

Anonymous said...

"BTW - why have some groups got 2 CVPs, Sharepoint- Teper and Del bene, BOSG - David Thompson and Ron Markezich-"

Pardon me, doesn't the money losing Online Services got a guy called Qi as a PRESIDENT and he has a dozen of CVPs reporting to him in the org chart? At least SharePoint is making money.

Anonymous said...

I would stop the 401K match before taking away the free pop, if it were up to me.

Maybe that's just your grief talking, but seriously, come on.

I'm really sorry about your husband losing his job though. I hope he has luck with finding a new one.

Anonymous said...

"Sorry to break it to you, but effort is not the problem. Doesn't matter how brilliant or diligent your developers are if upper management sets them up to fail."

The meaning isn't that you can do it by yourself, but that we all have to be accountable for the success of our organization. We should each feel responsible for the success of our product even though we can't decide what features we decide to go after.

I acknowledge that that was a glib statement and nobody's saying that an entire product's developer staff is lazy - in fact I hope that the top developers from cut groups join my org :)

Anonymous said...

Every time a company announces lay-offs their stock goes up.

How did your theory work out yesterday?

This whole lay off is just to show to shareholders that "Microsoft is cost saving." But in reality these people also have no clue and are appluding this type of activity because they think it's going to increase shareholder value. Trust me, the stock isn't going to move because some executive will spend that money on dinner at the Herb Farm.

Shareholders didn't applaud it. They immediately sold enough shares to cut nearly $20 billion off the company's valuation. That's just the beginning too, because without forward guidance there is no clear target for 09 EPS, therefore no good way to determine an appropriate current price.

The company has a tremendous business model with relatively low fixed costs (compare to Intel), no debt load used to finance sales (IBM) and broader diversification than current technology thought leaders (Goog, Apple).

If it's so tremendous, efficient, and diversified, why did MS miss while three of those beat? How can anyone look at a huge miss, $3 billion of E&D revenue with only $150 million in profit and $.8 billion of OSB revenue with nearly $.5 billion of losses, and conclude MS has a tremendous model or has done a good job of diversification?

The management team and company could use this downturn to radically improve productivity and also dramatically improve the P&l profile of the businesses that habitually underperfom financially - E&D, Online, Mobile. The team could also reduce the layers of organization, process and cost in HQ and regional HQ's. The thousands of people in Marketing, Business Managers, Program Managers needs to be cut in the double digits at a minimum.

Best comment yet. Yes, they could. Steve even seemed like he might at the beginning of yesterday's call. But by the end it was clear his first statements were scripted contrition and his real feeling is that everything is A OK as is.

Anonymous said...

"Lots of people that I know are not worried about losing their position. Why? Because they're awesome."

May you end up in the next batch of cuts just for being such an arrogant jerk.

Anonymous said...

"Pardon me, doesn't the money losing Online Services got a guy called Qi as a PRESIDENT and he has a dozen of CVPs reporting to him in the org chart? At least SharePoint is making money."

Here's some numbers from fiscal Q2:
Net income: $4.17b ($0.47/share)
Consensus expected: $4.35b ($0.49/share)
Online Services income: -$471m

Net income for the quarter would have been over $4.6b without Online Services.

And they're talking about *expanding* this group?

Anonymous said...

The meaning isn't that you can do it by yourself, but that we all have to be accountable for the success of our organization. We should each feel responsible for the success of our product even though we can't decide what features we decide to go after.

As a grunt you only have control over the stuff you do, I certainly cannot control investments on Zune, Xbox, and Online Services, or any other business that does not make much sense for Microsoft to be in.

Default back to core competencies instead of having our hands all over the market.

That refocusing can only come from the top.

Anonymous said...

@10:34 I don't trust that. Unless my manager sits down in my office and says not to worry, the potential by itself will discourage me. I'm also a top performer on a team that makes a ton of money. I do not feel safe. This is an excellent reminder to the people that do go balls-out working for M$ that there are other things in life to focus on. That number of people is fewer these days. I would now expect it to decrease further. If you're management, I would suggest talking to your stars and verifying with them their job safety. If you cannot do that, I would expect some stars to shine less brightly. Some people are motivated by belief in the company more than money. That belief is shakier now.

Anonymous said...

"ASK FOR VOLUNTEERS FOR LAYOFF by offering the same severance package, but let people choose to go if they are rich enough to move on,"
Sorry, but if they did that we would risk losing a lot of the older braintrust. Probably not actually a good thing. I personally don't know anyone who is 'rich enough to retire' anyway.

As for your situation, sorry to hear about your husband's layoff. It's never easy to go through, but the reality is you more often than not come out on the other side in a better situation. Not much comfort when you are dealing with the initial shock and anger and grief of it, but I've been there more than once and experience has taught me that you will survive. And, eventually, you will thrive again.

So, take a deep breath, let your husband vent his distress, anger, grief, etc., then start evaluating next steps. Chances are after this you will never be caught unprepared again.

In my opinion, it's best to think of all jobs as temporary 'gigs' these days anyway. If you let other people control your destiny, they will.

Best of luck to you and your husband.

Anonymous said...


"Lots of people that I know are not worried about losing their position. Why? Because they're awesome."

May you end up in the next batch of cuts just for being such an arrogant jerk.


+1. OP be warned: maxed stock awards, 20/exceeded and glowing testimonials from 360 reviews didn't protect some of us, even when it wasn't a case of a whole group being cut.

In fact, as another poster pointed out, it may be that some of us rose too quickly, incited a bit of jealousy, etc. Who knows, really.

I'm moving on.

Anonymous said...

Default back to core competencies instead of having our hands all over the market.

I couldn't agree more (as an outside shareholder). Why must they have their hands in everything? Do a few things, and do them well.

Anonymous said...

"My husband was cut yesterday,"

Very sad. You're right, a lot of other measures should have been exhausted first before resorting to layoffs.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Lots of people that I know are not worried about losing their position. Why? Because they're awesome."

May you end up in the next batch of cuts just for being such an arrogant jerk.

-------------------

Amen to that! Mr. AWESOME and his buds are what make this place such an infuriating/depressing place to work.

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Anonymous said...

"Steve and management team care deeply about the company and it's employees."

Steve doesn't give a rat's ass about the employees he cut yesterday. In keeping with this sentiment, he will not give a rat's ass about the next 3600 people he cuts, either. MSFT had enough CASH to offer to buy Yahoo last spring at an exorbidant price, but can't find a way to keep employees working? PLEASE don't pretend that the executives care about my family as we deal with the loss of a job that we thought would be the place where a difference could be made in the software universe. Don't do the happy dance yourself just yet, over the fact that you and your best pals weren't cut - yet.

Grumpy Old Man said...

Your reference to the Sword of Damocles seems out of place, being applied to the employees at large.

The Sword must hang over the head's of those in power -- Partners, Exec's, most importantly of all, over Steve.

Anonymous said...

View from the street:

"It all adds up to a company that, despite a relatively low valuation on a P/E basis, has few current fans on the Street.

Here are some excerpts from this morning’s batch of research on the company’s announcements:

Todd Rakar, Deutsche Bank: “We were disappointed that Microsoft is only reducing its workforce by a net 2K-3K people…larger headcount reductions were warranted given the 10% year-over-year decline in bookings.”

John DiFucci, J.P. Morgan: “The negative stock reaction may have had more to do with a head-fake regarding expense control than the weak results,” he writes. “Management discussed the need to concentrate on running the organization more efficiently through expense reductions, but net/net there were none. Operating expenses will increase in the second half from a year ago.”

Adam Holt, Morgan Stanley: “Given the magnitude of the revenue shortfall, the 2-3K net headcount reduction and $1.5 billion in cost savings seems too small.”

George Zwakman, Tier1 Research: “We believe investors are struggling with what we view as signs of complacency…the company has pulled back on some expenses and is doing some layoffs, but those are minimal efforts relative to the scale of the once dominant firm.”

Robert Breza, RBC Capital: “We question if the cuts were deep enough…We wonder if MSFT is doing enough to protect earnings when other large software vendors are reducing headcount 4%-8%.”

Walther Pritchard, Cowen: “In our view, the cost-cutting doesn’t go far enough.”

Brad Reback, Oppenheiner: “The real issue remains expense controls,” he writes. The moves to date, he writes, don’t go far enough in light of expectations of future demand. “We also take issue with the potential slowing of its buyback efforts given its current cash flow.”

David Hilal, Friedman Billings Ramsey: “We think MSFT should, and may end up cutting deeper as the downturn persists.”

Brent Thill, Citigroup: “With a business rebound unlikely until the [second half of FY 2010] and with revenue mix shift pressuring margins, further expense reduction initiatives over the next few quarters are likely. We view [yesterday's] expense announcement as only Round 1.”

Heather Bellini, UBS: She blames the stock’s fall yesterday on the company’s decision to pull guidance. But she also maintains that on a relative basis the stock is “one of the better places to hide.”

Sarah Friar, Goldman Sachs: “The suspension of financial guidance and management commentary about the re-setting of economic activity to a sustained lower level underscores our view that we are only just entering the worse of the downturn for IT vendors.”

Kash Rangan, Merrill Lynch: He says that the company could have cut another 5,000 jobs from its online segment, which he estimates has 20,000-30,000 employees - that would be at least as many as Google’s roughly 20,000, by the way - but that the company sees online as an area of continued investment and a franchise potentially as large as Windows.

Israel Hernandez, Barclays: He views the $1.5 billion in expense reductions as a “disappointment in light of rapid deterioration in revenue growth.”

Yun Kim, Pacific Growth: “Investors are likely to question whether the company is reducing its operating expense enough to properly align its cost structure to its lower revenue run rate and also its decision to slow its current share buyback efforts.”

Sid Parakh, McAdams Wright Ragan: He says the announced cost cutting moves “do not go far enough and lead us to believe that the company is de-emphasizing margins in the near-term, inflaming investor concerns.”

Sean Willis, Caris & Co.: He writes that the “lack of buyback activity” is “a major disappointment and undercuts a major earnings assumption.”

Anonymous said...

Okay... so we have had the big layoff now. The damage is done that Microsoft never does layoffs. Therefore in the future layoffs will not be a surprise anymore. It important to remember that no job is for life and it is up to you as a person to be responsible about your own future. To those people that have been laid off, I feel sorry for you but in another breath you have a choice to make, either you going to consider yourself a victim or you going to step up and say okay I need to take charge and plot a new journey. For those of you that are staying, be ready for a culture shock, not only will you realize that the “koolaid” you’ve been drinking for years is no longer free, it going to be a dog eat dog culture and if you not making those numbers you’ll be turned on and eaten alive. Really Microsoft is just catching up to how it happens in other organizations. So it is an end of a era for the old Microsoft and welcome to the new way things will be run ...

Anonymous said...

Google is hiring...

http://www.google.com/support/jobs/bin/topic.py?loc_id=1123&dep_id=1054&topic=1123

Anonymous said...

Check this link, WinMo is hopeless.

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/245859/qa-microsoft-defends-return-to-drm.html

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Anonymous said...

Think for a minute about the dynamic this sets up. Managers are incented to climb and take on big flashy things (and rarely if ever punished for their failure). Well, now the only talent they're going to be able to recruit for anything that MIGHT fail, are tenured employees actively seeking severance packages, who WANT it to fail.

Welcome to the brave new world.

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Anonymous said...


Check this link, WinMo is hopeless.

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/245859/qa-microsoft-defends-return-to-drm.html


It didn't work on the PC platform, so let's try the mobile platform? You're going to see if consumers go for it? You're surprised that the kind of people who'd have phones that play music would be upgrading every 12-18 months?

Here. We. Go. Again.

Anonymous said...

The corporate culture a MSFT is horrible. I've only been working here for six months and I've never wanted to leave a place so quickly. The caste system that has been implemented will cause this company to rot from the inside. Managers do nothing but warm chairs in meetings and send out emails that nobody reads. Vendors are overworked and never given the time to complete tasks. They are also given jobs that should be in house (you know vendors have access to ALL payroll information, they're the ones prcoessing it). So I will be on the list of people who will be looking for a new job while milking the clock.

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Anonymous said...

You fail to explain how MSFT is victim to this horrible immigration situation and somehow IBM, APPL and GOOG all missed it.

Could it be... bad leadership and strategy on the part of MSFT? Naahhhh....

Anonymous said...

So I'm one of the director level folks who's job was eliminated yesterday. After 15 plus years i was still going strong, even if i was in the 10% pool of Type II people who had leveled out but still valuable team members....we'll i guess not that valuable. The general reaction from my peers to the news has been..... you? WTF?

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Anonymous said...

Let's see, Small Business Server 2008 which was hammered with headcount losses and attrition pulls in like 95% of the revenue and Essential Business Server which was more heavlily staffed only pulls in like 5%, yet SBS loses 3 people and EBS loses none? What the fuck? Looks like we know which PUM bends over and which drives.

Anonymous said...

>>Forcing out KJ, JR and other true blooded Microsoft gods, BrianV

KJ and JR…..who? I am drawing a blank on their names.

What Directors got laid off?

Anonymous said...

Am I only the one who thinks Lisa B could have dressed up a bit. Cargo shorts and a sweatshirt? Amateurish.

Anonymous said...

Did any Group Manager get axed....

Anonymous said...

to 10:44 -
I'm sorry about your husband's job loss. Was he not given 60 days to find a job?
Seriously, bankruptcy?
I'm sad that your finances are such. We all make decisions...about our finances...and those who run a company..about the company's finances. And we all pay a price for our decisions.
Surely you are just reeling from the shock - your DH will find work. You may have to move, but work is out there for talented people with a good skillset and proven track record.

I disagree on most of your points. A company, although having a difficult fiancial downtime, should still have things that ATTRACT and KEEP talent!
The 401K, the legal program, and even the transit does this!
If people cannot give, Microsoft doesn't match charitable contributions. If they do, thank GOD that Microsoft matches in such a bleak time as this. Charities need money now more than ever! To help people in dire financial situations - like those that cannot even afford a bag of rice!
You are trying to justify why your husband should have been kept.
There is no reason to look back. It IS WHAT IT IS...
hunker down and move forward.
It won't be easy but you will grow from this. (I'm guessing your financial decision making will grow substantially since you mentioned selling cars, selling possessions, and possible bankruptcy)

And for those whose finances are "paycheck to paycheck", please take note and plan for the deep recession we are in! Hoping you don't get laid off won't pay the basic bills if you do.

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Anonymous said...

The most telling point of the whole town hall meeting was when a woman in near-tears, listing off the kinds of people who'd been laid off, asked someone on that stage to just say "I'm sorry".

Ballmer took a good 3 minutes to very pick his way around that to avoid saying he was sorry, instead saying he felt bad for people but not sorry he eliminated positions.

Make of that what you will, good or bad.

And Lisa was as almost completely incoherent as she was inappropriately casual-dress for a somber discussion about the state of the company.

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Anonymous said...

Blame anything but MSFT management, eh xenophobe?

Anonymous said...

I so hope my test ex-mgr got axed....a bunch of us (women) left when he "asked" if we got down on our knees....he also gave us poor reviews so when we tried to tell HR, then HR claimed it was in retaliation and never did anything. The HR person was a guy. Plus my ex mgr was part of the good ole boys club...sad to say, after we all quit or moved on to other areas, he got a big promotion and wrote a book for MS. He also managed to drive away the minorites too so all he had working for him was *white good old boys*....

I got 3.5 -4.o reviews and enjoyed working there but not for him.

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Anonymous said...

I am proud that while there are a handful of people spewing anti-immigration rhetoric, there are more people condemning it.

As a white lifelong US citizen, I am happy to welcome anybody from anywhere to my country.

As a previous poster said, if you don't like things, vote with your feet. Leave Microsoft and/or leave the US if you don't like the immigration policies. Stop making life unpleasant for the rest of us.

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Anonymous said...

I think somebody is trying to intentionally derail this comments thread with anti-immigration trolling. Let's please ignore this and get back to the business of making MSFT a better place with grownup solutions, not hate speech.

Anonymous said...

What's up with dress panth and running shoes, I don't get that?

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Stop The Insanity! said...

MINI -- How about starting a post titled "Partners and VPs We Think Should Be Fired". Then, let us all name names of the nincompoops running the place who we think should go. It is time to stop being theoretical and to get specific. If Ballmer won't provide vision for MSFT, let us do it for him. Your followup post could be "Products We Think Should Be Cut"

Anonymous said...

Microsoft Alumni Network if you haven't heard of it: http://www.msanet.org/

"There are many thousands more who work for Microsoft indirectly as contractors and vendors. Microsoft does not provide numbers for its contract staff, but analyst Sid Parakh at McAdams Wright Ragen said he estimates the figure to be between 40,000 to 60,000. Microsoft said it will cut spending on contractors by up to 15 percent, on top of the full-time job cuts."

So more look for 6000-9000 contractors to be laid off too!

Anonymous said...

Microsoft was saying they need h1b because they can't find talent here.
BS there is so much good talent graduating each year hire them.

Anonymous said...

"View from the street:"

A lot of consensus there and most of it negative unfortunately. The downgrades and revisions are also coming in. Canaccord lowered their target to $18 from $22, and Davenport is now at $1.70 for this year and just $1.80 next. So even if analysts and investors are prepared to look past those "management complacency" concerns, the stock will probably have to lose at least 10-20% to make the cost/benefit picture at all attractive.

Anonymous said...

Sadly this whole thing says as much about the state of the country as it does this industry.

The older technology companies that were hit, in-part, due to the successes of Wintel in the 90's, have also unfortunately set the legal presidence that now rules layoff practice. Positions, not people's talents or contributions have to be eliminated.

Looking from the outside-in, I'm frankly surprised MS can get anything out the door at all. Morale, attraction/retention of talent and most of all extreme top heaviness in the mgmt ranks is killing this (your) company.

You've heard of the One-Minute Manager, here's the One-Minute CEO.

1) Restore power to the developers.
2) Stop throwing good money after bad chasing your personal conquests - i.e. only focus on what you do well and forget Search (look at IBM, they still want a piece of the desktop - fools!)
3) Remove all the narcissistic senior executives that actually think they are worth all that money they are getting
4) Stay out of the way, except to fire those who cannot make decisions and/or can barely spell the word "vision", let-alone possess any of it

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft was saying they need h1b because they can't find talent here.
BS there is so much good talent graduating each year hire them."

Why dont you run MS .. any votes for # 1401?

Anonymous said...

"The most telling point of the whole town hall meeting was when a woman in near-tears, listing off the kinds of people who'd been laid off, asked someone on that stage to just say "I'm sorry"."

And her courage and honesty will almost certainly be rewarded by being in the next 3600. Which is the most telling point about what's wrong.

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Anonymous said...

Any more details on the TownHall meeting?

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Anonymous said...

this country is going through the worse economic conditions since the depression. why are we giving ms leadership such a hard time? don't get me wrong, i have much empathy for those layed off and their families--having myself been layed off more than once during my professional career--aint nothing fun about it--and i still may be part of the second wave of ms layoff. i think there is a high level of intelligence of the people posting. what i don't get is a general lack of understanding of the basics of economics. we are in a downturn which nature is puzzling even to the fed chief and his predecessors. personally, i don't think ms cut deep enough. in times like these, businesses should cut as deep as possible to ensure their existence over the long term; the leadship team is taking a huge risk by trying to only cut in slices; we bellyache looking at this from a micro level; it's bigger than that. it also is troubling that folks think that management doesn't give a damn about the employees--that's just do do. Again, i really feel sorry for the folks that lost their jobs, and i am very concerned about mine...my wife and i would have to sell our house and adjust to a new living standard. However, it is not axiomatic that if one finds themselves in this situation, that the employer is the bad bad wolf.

Anonymous said...

this country is going through the worse economic conditions since the depression. why are we giving ms leadership such a hard time?

You are missing the point, people complain because MSFT put itself on the position it is on right now, it has been in decline for a while (look at the stock performance), even before there was an economic crisis. Even this blog was created before the crisis, and the complaints are the same: Ballmer has not done his job, and the company has not refocused.
MSFT leadership has failed, but MSFT is doing nothing at the top to course correct

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft was saying they need h1b because they can't find talent here.
BS there is so much good talent graduating each year hire them."

Yeah, I guess they're lying and jumping through all the H1B hoops for nothing.

Please, most of the college graduates in the US don't know the most elementary things. If you're not from a top 20 school, your school most likely did NOT provide you with the skills MS and other higher end hirers are looking for. And not even everyone from the top 20 schools is that great either.

Anonymous said...

"Lots of people that I know are not worried about losing their position. Why? Because they're awesome."

To assume that "awesomeness" will prevent someone being laid off is naive and, worse, just disrespectful to those who have been laid off...all over the country from various industries. The people I know who are not worried about losing their jobs are the ones who are complacent and out of touch.

This is not a meritocracy. It's the economy, stupid. If these layoffs had anything to do with making the company a leaner, more effective company then perhaps I'd agree with you. But, no these layoffs are just an ill-conceived attempt at damage control for springing mediocre numbers on unsuspecting investors in a down economy.

To the woman whose husband was laid off yesterday, I am so sorry. I hope you all move swiftly on to bigger and better things. My thoughts are with you.

Anonymous said...

unlike the rest of america, I have 0 credit card debt, today my mortgage balance is roughly equal to my gross annual salary+bonus+stock, and i have about 8 months of cash/stocks to liquidate stashed away for living expenses

and i live within my means!

I would LOVE to get severance and move out of POS Seattle to someplace warm

Anonymous said...

this country is going through the worse economic conditions since the depression. why are we giving ms leadership such a hard time?


There was a great post yesterday that described Bill/Steve's reaction to almost missing the internet. MS overreacted, afraid they'd miss the next big thing, and started funding far too many projects. They hired people for these projects, some of which are good and many of which are not. Many people relocated themselves and families to the Northwest to work at the greatest software company in the world.

So when layoffs occur and projects are closed down or decimated, it is the fault of the management for not prioritizing. MS should be smaller-- much of Microsoft should have not been hired.

APPL,IBM,GOOG management aparently were more disciplined with their business and thus were set up far better for the current economic situation.

MS Alum, 97-2007

Anonymous said...

It's not the lay offs that disturb me but how they picked people to be laid off. Drinking buddies and @**kisser...you stay. Nose to the grindstone and not part of the in-crowd or outshining your mgr= laid off.

Dead weight upper management who talk crap all day at the expense of their people/step on your folks and then make a big deal of laying them off to make yourself look good = do not get laid off

Upper management who actually care and help people grow = ADIOS

It used to be a great place to work for but now, it's how many people you can step on to get to the top....

Anonymous said...

After seeing multiple references to "layed off", the Grammar Nazi in me could not be contained any longer: the past tense of layoff is laid off.

Anonymous said...

"MINI -- How about starting a post titled "Partners and VPs We Think Should Be Fired". Then, let us all name names of the nincompoops running the place who we think should go. It is time to stop being theoretical and to get specific. If Ballmer won't provide vision for MSFT, let us do it for him. Your followup post could be "Products We Think Should Be Cut""

Absolutely agreed- We have more bloody CVP's/Partners - who cant point to zilch to say what they have delivered to this company- then Hitler had Generals- we can feed all of them to the pigs and will still struggle to get rid of all .

Anonymous said...

THIS IS NOT THE WORST ECONOMIC CRISIS SINCE THE DEPRESSION! Do some research. It hasn't even reached the level of crisis in the 70s. Not saying it won't, but get some perspective. Stop spreading the media lie that's becoming a self fulfilling prophecy.

Some of us maybe need to read a little history and come to understand what life was really like between the beginning of WWI and the end of WWII. Nothing even close to what we're experiencing today.

Economies are cyclical. Boeing does layoffs (massive ones) every few years and then they have major hire backs. I suspect that the whining and carrying-on that has been happening here is the result of incredibly naive sense of perspective.

I wish the best to my colleagues that were let go. Most of these folks were good people and will find jobs elsewhere. And while I think the cuts were handled horribly, and maybe not made in all the right places, something needs to happen. Microsoft has a lot of dead weight and that is what's crippling our ability to compete.

Anonymous said...

Ex-msft employee here (2000-2007) I work for a great company right now and we have 2 open positions in Manhattan (level 67+ pay for an IC... but remember that it's expensive to live here). Does anyone have any suggestions on how to specifically reach ex-msft employees? Most job boards are location specific, so most people in Redmond won't be looking in NY.

I wouldn't post here unless it was permitted, out of respect for Mini, and because I'm not a spammer. I'm not a recruiter and I don't get any kickbacks for finding someone. Just want to help people who are looking (and work with competent coworkers)

Anonymous said...

Mini
The truth needs to be told. Can you please post a simple, quick poll with interactive chart on your blog for displaced workers to capture the facts?

Proposed Exit Poll

Citizenship status
US Citizen
Greencard
H visa
L visa
Other (specify)

Age:
40 and over
Under 40
No answer

Sex
Male
Female

State
Years employed as MS FTE:

Job Level
If known, manager's citizenship /visa status

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Anonymous said...

and i have about 8 months of cash/stocks to liquidate stashed away for living expenses

Glad somebody mentioned it. I feel bad for people with small children who get laid off. But most 'softies I know are single with no kids and have spent all their money on a nice late-model car, a nice house, a nice home theater system, $50 video games, $30 DVDs, etc. and I hope they don't expect any sympathy if they get laid off.

Personally I spend around $30k/year and lead a pretty posh life by my standards. I pocket the difference between that and my under-six-figure salary. After 5 years of doing this, I could happily go without working for the better part of a decade.

GeekMBA360 said...

I just created "Layoff Satisfaction Survey " with the goals of keeping employers like Microsoft more accountable for their actions, and providing an outlet for laid-off employees to tell the true stories behind layoffs and set the record straight.

Please fill out the survey at http://www.geekmba360.com/?p=523.

Anonymous said...

Want to know how employers like MS avoid hiring qualified US citizens for jobs? Here's how

Training for US employers on how to avoid hiring qualified US citizens – from immigration law firm, Cohen & Grigsby http://cohenlaw.com/

PERM Fake Job Ads defraud Americans to secure green cards http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCbFEgFajGU

Anonymous said...

""I am concerned that Microsoft will be retaining foreign guest workers rather than similarly qualified American employees when it implements its layoff plan," Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, said in a Jan. 22 letter."

"Grassley's letter asked Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer to provide a breakdown of the jobs to be eliminated, and how many of those are individuals with H-1B visas and how many are Americans. He also wants to know what the breakdown will be when the layoffs are complete."

http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idINN2332910720090123?rpc=44

Anonymous said...

"Nonetheless, it’s clear that, where the Street is frustrated with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at the moment, they’re completely smitten with Google CEO Eric Schmidt."

Nothing succeeds like success.

Anonymous said...

the town hall was a complete joke. For those of us here more than a few years we could have predicted to the letter how it was going to go.

Lisa B was full of incoherent BS, with her nervous twitch smile. I really cannot make out what the hell she was trying to say - it made no sense. The three of them did their best to waste the clock so the Q&A would be minimal.

To the people at the town hall who had the courage to stand up and ask questions you have my upmost respect. To the lady asking for Ballmer to say sorry, you are extremely brave. I hope there are no recriminations for you. I admire your courage. If only the coward would have said sorry. He doesnt care about anything but himself and his ego. He can rely on me to NOT vote for him again at the next shareholder meeting.

Ballmer couldnt wait to get out of the room. He purposely picked questions off the screen to calm the room as the questions on the microphones were getting a little tougher each time.

If ever a CEO deserved to be shown the door, he does. He has ruined this company. He is a shoe salesman, nothing more. Every time he opens his mouth the stock price drops. But worse than that he is not a leader, he couldnt point a toy ship in the right direction in his bath. If I remember correctly he stated that Apple wouldnt do well with the iPhone, it was too expensive, closed platform etc. Today he said Apple had done really well with the iPhone - what great vision on his part.

The one thing I heard which worried me more and more was his answer to the "what about the 3600, how will they be selected". He babbled a bit and then mentioned the P word.....Performance. So now its pretty clear to me, the 3600 will be managed out via performance.

So let the games begin. All you 10%'ers that are in that bracket because of an incompetent manager or for not playing the political game need to either get out now or learn to kiss ass big time. I'm sure there are probably a lot who are there genuinely because they are not performing properly. Two 10%'s in a row and you can be pretty sure you will be shown the door without any severance package, once your project work is not going to cause a delay in shipping products. For COSD/WEX that could be as soon as September. For IW, next February.

The end is nigh...

And where are our illustrious board? Are they really satisfied with Ballmer's performance? If so, they need to go too.

Anonymous said...

"Some people are motivated by belief in the company more than money. That belief is shakier now"

very well said, unfortuntaley/fortunately I am one of those people. Just 2 days ago, I was telling my finacee about what a wonderful company MS is and how much I love/care about it just because this company cares about its employees. Though not much has changed about my thoughts yet, I do see that 'loving feeling' fading away slowly. Though don't fear much about losng my job, uncertainty in my job security in the 18 months will definitley affect me to give my best I think. I Hope we see some inspirational events in a near future.

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Anonymous said...

How does one learn to kiss ass? I don't really have it in me but it seems so effortless to others. Do they realize they are doing it or is it just a personality trait?

Anonymous said...

I didn't lose my job, but I'm severely disappointed. Things weren't so bad that Ballmer had to destroy families. Slow on hiring and wait for attrition. If they were good enough to hire in the first place you don't put them out in the street, especially in this economy.

If profit dropped a few percent in the beginning Bill wouldn't have put Marla Wood out in the street. Apparently we're just another commodity for Steve to game now.

It's time for me to find a small start up while I'm still somewhat young.

Anonymous said...

"Does anyone have any suggestions on how to specifically reach ex-msft employees?"

Here's one possibility: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=57816478948&ref=mf

Spread the word. Some of us could use the leads.

Brian said...

How does one learn to kiss ass?


There's a range here. At one, is total butt-kisser. At the other end is "I do great work, so of course people around should notice, right?"

Somewhere in the middle is "managing your career." The fact is that people *don't* just notice great work done by others much. So everyone needs a bit of self-promotion/PR. Too much and, yes you get to be an ass-kisser, but too little and you really aren't doing yourself any favors, either.

I hate to say it's "typical engineer" (Becuase I'm an engineer), but there's this belief among engineering-types that all that has to be done is make a product with superior features and it will win. Marketing (letting people know about the product) is also important. Can you say "NEXT computer?" (See, even Steve Jobs fails sometimes :)

Do your work, but don't be afraid to make sure that your manager and his manager know your contributions.

Anonymous said...

Regarding, "THIS IS NOT THE WORST ECONOMIC CRISIS SINCE THE DEPRESSION!" - by the economic data so far, kind of true except that this downturn is global and not just the U.S., and the estimated $3.6 Trillion in losses (Roubini, this week) caused by a credit market collapse.

We are not going to see anything like the Great Depression. Then 60% of the US population lived at or below the poverty level in 1929 before the Crash. There is far more wealth and far greater skills today among the US population than in 1929.

However, the government is responding as if it is a Depression, using every tool in the rule book written in the 1930s and later for responding to a Depression. That may account for why people feel like it is a Depression: Actions speak louder than words and the actions are geared towards responding to Depression economics not a recession.

Prior to the Great Depression, all down turns were labeled "depressions". The term "recession" was invented after the 1930s to provide a gentler term than Depression for economic downturns that occurred since then. There is no official definition of depression and/or how it differs from a recession. By many common definitions we will know in a few months if we are in a horrible recession or a real depression - featuring deflation or hyperinflation. A contraction in the money supply does lead to deflation - and a $3.6 Trillion hole produces deflationary pressure. Whether government debt fueled spending will fill that hole is not yet clear.

In the mean time, it does not matter what we call it. It has caused pain for a great many people. And is likely to get worse over the next 2 quarters before - hopefully - reaching bottom and beginning a very slow recovery.

Anonymous said...

A small bit of good news: John Lervik has resigned. He was CEO of FAST when it was acquired by Microsoft, and while the technology is good, the continuing investigation by the Norwegian authorities over financial irregularities (read: fraud) has definitely been an annoyance.

Anonymous said...

On the 'kiss ass' front, I learned at MS to pick who I worked for first over what the job entailed. I always looked for managers who fit my style and who would appreciate my work and needs, stood up to peers and upper management (important at stack rank meetings), and who were favored by execs. With that model, I did very well and never felt like I was compromising my own objectivity by having to be a yes-man.

Some additional grossly oversimplified survival tips:
- Devs should work for folks who are or were devs that can evaluate the scope of your contributions from a technical perspective
- Fathers and Mothers should work for managers who are parents themselves and understand having to take care of sick child or leave to go pick a child up from school
- and so on... you want your manager to be your advocate and they can't do that if they can't relate to you and your work
- Put yourself in an org which is a solid money maker. It's fine to sow your creative oats in say Zune, but right now, that's not an org I'd want to be in.
- I also recommend that people open their ears and listen. Not enough people listen... there's too many Type-A personalities still fighting to be top dog. You don't have to agree... but at least by staying non-confrontational, you're not remembered for being a troublemaker. There are other more subtle ways of having your views prevail (see above regarding a management chain who has your back).

So I'm not talking brown-nosing, but I am talking about working the system.

Anonymous said...

I thought somebody was moderating the posts here. Why do we still have all this crap about immigrants being asked to not give birth?

Anonymous said...

The attempts to "tell the truth" or "adjust the status quo" with information are unlikely to go anywhere.

Microsoft's severance agreements have teeth. Anyone who has signed one or is considering signing one, needs to talk to an outside lawyer, not being paid for by MS.

If you haven't been handed one yet - you have 21 days to take that thing out of the office, discuss it with your lawyer, and decide if you're really willing to live with it or not.

The rest of you, listen up.

1. Because of the agreements you signed when you came in (background and credit check) it is very easy for MS to know who they can control this way, and who they can't. Sort credit info and long-term spending habits with top-level healthcare information and address and it's pretty easy to tell who can afford to refuse one of these agreements, and who can't.

2. The first clause you hit is "agree to never say anything derogatory about MS, or any officer of MS, past present or future". It gets uglier after this. If they really don't like you there will be something in there about "agree to never present resume or pursue employment with MS, any MS partner or affiliate". (this is typical for anyone filing a formal complaint). These agreements have no expiration date.

3. Even clauses that sound innocuous can have huge long-term legal ramifications. That little clause about releasing MS from all liability for anything initiating prior to xx/xx/xx? Legal precedent makes it enforceable, "whether you knew about it or not". It's your responsibility to ask (formally, in writing, with a response delivered formally, in writing). You might be surprised. I certainly was.

3. MS has an outside firm tasked with fighting payment of unemployment benefits. If you're going to go this route, read all the rules and find a good advisor BEFORE filing any paperwork with the state. Every mistake you make will cost you at least a month.

This from someone who was recruited back after working a full career and retiring under Bill.

It is not the same company. It has no ethic whatsoever. Be warned.

Anonymous said...

I'm a ms employee and i couldnt agree with some of the posts made here...i've worked in the test org and have moved over to the dev org and simply cannot stress the fact about how messed up testing is at ms...I seriously expected some layoffs to occur in our testing teams especially in our test management, but as i can say, nothing happened there..they found some scapegoats and these jokers were left around to hang in there...

Anonymous said...

"3. MS has an outside firm tasked with fighting payment of unemployment benefits. If you're going to go this route, read all the rules and find a good advisor BEFORE filing any paperwork with the state. Every mistake you make will cost you at least a month. "

That's a pretty hefty claim. Got anything to back that up?

Anonymous said...

I am not surprised the shareholders aren't happy. I wish SteveB had the balls to eiter say "Screw you and your short-term demands, we are a long term company" or "We hear you, here is your 20% cut in staff."

Cutting staff at MS seems a little absurd to me as a cost cutting measure. It's like telling long haul truckers "Next time Fuel hits $4.50/gal you should just buy less of it."

I was already feeling demoralized after 8 years of doing my best work but feeling helpless to ship the things that would delight customers.

I still have a job, but I am not sure I want it anymore. Too bad I need the money too much to just give it up to someone whoes group wasn't as lucky.

Anonymous said...

"Ex-msft employee here (2000-2007) I work for a great company right now and we have 2 open positions in Manhattan (level 67+ pay for an IC... but remember that it's expensive to live here). Does anyone have any suggestions on how to specifically reach ex-msft employees? Most job boards are location specific, so most people in Redmond won't be looking in NY."

Dude, same here. I was 2000-2008 and am hiring in the greater NYC area. I need 3 developers with C#/.NET and SQL skills. I don't know how to reach people that are good that either got laid off or want to leave. Yes, my company recruiter can do a search, but I want to reach those that were affected or hurting. Any takers...can we find a way to connect? (sorry can't sponsor visas, citizen or green card only)

Anonymous said...

Regarding Unemployment benefits.

Most large companies utilize 3rd party firms to manage unemployment claims and ensure that only those entitled to benefits are paid. The state is very well versed in dealing with these third party providers. The main function is to ensure those that are fired for cause are separated from those who are simply laid off.

Anonymous said...

he also gave us poor reviews so when we tried to tell HR, then HR claimed it was in retaliation and never did anything. The HR person was a guy.

Mini has mentioned a book called 'Corporate Confidential' by Cynthia Shapiro before.

HR is there to protect the company's interests; not yours.

page 21 -

"If you've been laid off, downsized, or reorganized, start examining where you might have gone wrong so it doesn't happen in the future. These occurrences are very rarely benign.

They are the secret career killers.

page 24 -

Secret 6 - Talking to HR can cost you your job

HR's primary function is not to help employees, it is to protect the company from its employees.

Managers are seen a more credible than direct reports especially after they've been tagged with a bad review (since multiple managers have had input on that decision).

The same with being laid off. Regardless of how the decision was made (e.g. cutting roles instead of based upon performance), you are more likely to be looked at by hiring managers at Microsoft as someone the company wants to get rid of.

Anonymous said...

http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idINN2333334720090123?rpc=44

Interesting indeed. I just found a politician to donate to

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Anonymous said...

Microsoft could have cut more employees just by slowing down hiring and doing what they do every year - "managing out" employees they want to get rid of.

In this economic climate, they had to do it to appease Wall Street. Cutting costs looks good.

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_39/b3952001.htm

"While Microsoft's annual attrition rate rose one percentage point from fiscal 2003 to 2004, it's still just 9%, a bit lower than the industry average. Microsoft says it receives 45,000 to 60,000 job applications a month, and over 90% of the people offered jobs accept."

Anonymous said...

I've been head down working like crazy for four years. For what? Fat middle management is killing innovation and the only people who get promoted are drinking buddies and curry brothers. I'm starting to feel the disappointment that the average MSFT customer has.

Anonymous said...

I would recommend to everyone reading Parkinson's Law and think about they impact on Microsoft.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson%27s_law

Enjoy!
Marcin

Anonymous said...

That Business Week link is http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_39/b3952001.htm

Anonymous said...

Mini, I think it's time to turn off the free-for-all posting again.

Anonymous said...

Crap! It truncated on me too.
The end of the URL should be: 05_39/b3952001.htm

Anonymous said...
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V for Vendetta said...

Perhaps it's time for the former M'softies and newly outgoing to forge their own effort of some kind? As a former MSFT slave, I would love nothing more than to work side by side with some of my former colleagues (some, not all - the middle managers can go suck it). No doubt there is a lot of potential capital out there to get something going (well...maybe not after 2 days of stock beating).

By the way, does anyone know of a blog that's collating reports from around the company, as far as what's getting hammered? It would be nice to have a single snapshot.

Anonymous said...

The same with being laid off. Regardless of how the decision was made (e.g. cutting roles instead of based upon performance), you are more likely to be looked at by hiring managers at Microsoft as someone the company wants to get rid of.

in our case, we refused his se*ual advances...."knees to the floor, that's how I like my women" was what he told me....and others...we compared notes later...now he is a Group level mgr, I believe....

Anonymous said...

These Harvard execs take advantage of the passiveness of modern Americans. Maybe if they were concerned for their own mortality would they consider the cost/benefit of massive layoffs over a 0.5% stock. A modern peasant revolt a la French Revolution might make them think twice.

Anonymous said...

This was a symbolic blood sacrifice to The Street. Nothing more. And it failed. See our stock price for further instruction.

To those "for whom the bell tolls", there are thousands of us who are truly sorry. You're in our thoughts and prayers. Lots of us have been there and we know it sucks. Have faith, though. You will be okay. Really.

To those contemplating legal fights, just remember that this is The Empire and Ballmer is Darth Vader. MS has thousands of lawyers, both employed and retained. Our lawyers are better than the Justice Department's. An engineer with a lawyer doesn't scare them very much.

To HR & Sr. Management, I suggest a voluntary package for the 3600. You'll get rid of the people who want to leave and your employees won't hate you for it.

To the xenophobes among us, America is a melting pot. That's part of what makes us great. We beat the Nazis in the 40's and the Klan just ain't what it used to be. Too bad there isn't a citizenship test for natural born citizens.

To Steve and Lisa, go to hell.

Anonymous said...

The questions the Senators were asking are not rasist.

Really think about it, US should look after its own first.

Just like any other country looks after its citizens first.

Asking for H1B to go first is not rasist.

Anonymous said...

in our case, we refused his se*ual advances...."knees to the floor, that's how I like my women" was what he told me....and others...we compared notes later...now he is a Group level mgr, I believe....

You and the other affected could consult a lawyer to see what action you could take.

Sexual harassment is against the law.

http://www.governor.wa.gov/execorders/eoarchive/eo89-01.htm

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and is an unlawful employment practice under RCW 49.60 (Washington State Law Against Discrimination) and (Federal Law) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Anonymous said...

I definitely find it disconcerting that some of this response has turned into a xenophobic, borderline racist rant on the part of some.

Whether or not you agree with the boatloads of Indian workers filling jobs at MSFT, the reality is that they too are in the same position as everyone else - potentially worse. Unlike what Anonymous (10:44) related, they may not have a relative's basement to move into and will have to incur the expense of traveling back to India (or wherever).

No, I'm not Indian, I'm just trying to reinforce that you are now ALL in this together, like it or not. You can point fingers and search for blame all you want, but it is what it is now - and it's a very unpleasant, f'ed up situation. Personally, I blame upper management alone - they've known this need to cut fat for years, but in their perpetual arrogance to conquer Google, et al (ha, what a joke - Google's laughing their asses off at MS), they've driven the company into the ground.

Yes, be angry, sad, frustrated, desperate, etc., but don't turn this into a quasi-racist diatribe. It only shows how bad this situation is going to get - the internal culture is going to be absolutely nasty. YOU, the employees who are still there, can ensure that this doesn't happen.

Meanwhile, a little revolution now and then is a good thing - I'd be conspiring if I were you...

Anonymous said...

Been with Microsoft for close to 10 years. In the field and from that perspective, it really is quite obvious that this is really the beginning of the end of Microsoft. MS is obviously going to lay off more than 5000 people eventually, and more will leave voluntarily given the unavoidable climate of low morale, and when the economy bounces back, the rest of the brightest and perhaps even the loyal are going to finally leave as well.

A great company is nothing more than an bunch of great people. Microsoft is a company that cannot command respect among its troops as long as Ballmer is around.

Anonymous said...

Let the truth be known. Mini or community can you please post an exit poll to track citizenship, age, and length of service of displaced Microsoft employees?

According to Microsoft, One-third of Microsoft’s 46,0000 employees are US based employees have work visas or Green cards http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/04/04/news/visa.php

Microsoft ranks #1 employing the largest number combined H1B, L, and Green card holders
http://www.myvisajobs.com/Visa-Sponsor/Microsoft/356252.htm

Anonymous said...

"The questions the Senators were asking are not rasist.

Really think about it, US should look after its own first.

Just like any other country looks after its citizens first.

Asking for H1B to go first is not rasist."

i though the first "rasist" was a typo.. but then...

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Anonymous said...

You and the other affected could consult a lawyer to see what action you could take

One of the women did....she was told since he had so cleverly had written poor reviews that it was "he said, she said" and no witnesses or emails that it would be a losing battle....and it would affect us in our careers if we wanted to stay in test or the s/w industry. I can't believe he is a Grp mgr now.....guess the good ole boy network worked well for him

I took another position as a Test Mgr for a startup and did well for years and got rave reviews...so there is life after MSFT. I worked for two ex MSFT at the new company and they treated their people great and we all loved it. One was from India and a fantastic person. We got bought out and the company got absorbed....

Anonymous said...

""Zune platform revenue decreased $100 million, or 54 percent, reflecting a decrease in device sales," Microsoft said. That's quite a drop.
Apple, by contrast, saw its iPod unit sales up 3 percent, while revenue dropped by 16 percent. It still racked up $3.3 billion in revenue, as compared with less than $100 million for the Zune.
In an interview Friday afternoon, Zune marketing director Adam Sohn said a number of factors were to blame.
"It's the category, it's the business, it's the economy," Sohn said, "
from CNET news.

Someone please forward this news to SteveB...

Anonymous said...

To say that a politician (from the government that grants visas) is interested in looking into H1B practices of a company that lobbies hard to increase the limit under the guise that there are no US workers, and then subsequently lays off US workers is NOT racist. An H1B doesn't denote race, it is race-less. And Microsoft's disengenuous practice should be called into question in light of this layoff.

Anonymous said...

Any other American citizens singled out from your team for layoffs?

I am an American citizen, and based on my experience yesterday think i am the only member of my team that got laid off..

Demographics of the team
Redmond, WA. 7 employees
3 US citizens / 4 guest workers (don't know Visa status L/H) .
3/4 guest workers employed in the United States for the first time, each here LESS than 1 year.

Insult to Injury - Anyone other US employees asked to provide education/professional background for guest worker manager's green card?

Nil said...

If you are affected, and you are an American citizen, if willing to relocate to New Jersey, I can try to refer you to a very good defense company. The company is relocating to Maryland in two or three years.

You can send your resume and a brief introduction to me to lin000@gmail.com. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

People are so down on the company for laying people off. How loyal are the employees really? I have seen all sorts of stuff in my 17 years at Microsoft. People leave after 1 year so they don't have to pay back costs. People quit in the middle of a project. People ask to transfer in the middle of a release. Etc..

The US and Wa. state is an employment at will state. The company should be able to let people go at any point and you can quit at any point.

Employees want the best of both worlds where they can leave during boom times for a startup but during horrible downtimes nothing can happen to them. Whatever.

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Anonymous said...

My condolences to everyone who lost their job. I am young contractor with no stability to lose, so I knew when I was getting laid off when I started working.

My view is that even though the mad monopoly money will keep flowing for some time, the system seems pretty broken. There are too many old people at this company. They are too used to fleecing technically illiterate baby boomers, while the kids know how to do it cheaper and better. As a result, there is a lack of fresh blood because no one under thirty respects microsoft.

This can't be accomplished by slick advertising. Microsoft can either ride out their intertia and wither away or shake up the game they're playing.

Keeperplanet said...

>"Zune marketing director Adam Sohn said a number of factors were to blame. "It's the category, it's the business, it's the economy," Sohn said, "

Give me a break. Oh gee, you mean the thing that causes people to buy an ipod (style, design, works well, no DRM) were not factors in the loss of sales of a quite boring vanilla product called Zune with a front panel that reminds one of mickey mouse? C'mon Adam. I'm squirting songs to all my friends, that is soooooo kooool. My dog Milkbone could do a better job running marketing or design in the Zune group.

Anonymous said...

I worked for firm and we gave up our annual raises to save 45 job that was being eliminated. MS employee should do that.

First, this was already done -- all merit increases were canceled. Promotions are still possible, though, AFAIK.

And while this "community" approach might make sense in some situations, there is a hint of socialism in this. Some projects should be cut, and we've all seen the "C's" huddled in various groups that I wish I could somehow prove how useless they are, but I have to trust in the system and mind my own effectiveness and career. Bottom line is, I think we need to be more aggressive in culling and cutting loose the dead weight. Otherwise, I'd rather take my chances, despite the fact that the system isn't perfect.

Anonymous said...

Displaced Microsoft employees - You are not alone.... We are more than me and together we have a voice. Write your congressmen, senators, and the media.

Guest workers -sorry, you are also a pawn in the labor arbitrage scam.

Government - wake up and do something. Listen to the VOTERS and taxpayers, not the lobbyists and mega-billionaires who complain that they cannot find skilled labor.. This is a smokescreen and a lie....

Media - do some digging and expose the facts. Send some reporters up to Richmond, BC and check out the MIcrosoft H1b Visa factory. Expose the scam of L visas - its even worse and there's NO control or oversight.

FACT:
The strategy of hiring offshore labor has nothing to do with talent and everything to do with lowering the overall cost of labor. Hiring less expensive offshore labor lowers the average wages for the profession - it's already happened in some areas - check the IEEE or Programmers Guild site for the facts.

Let's hope the days of greed is good are over.

Anonymous said...

there was no way ballmer could have said "sorry" even if he wanted to. consellours (sorry for the sp) and lawyers and others would have specifically warned them and all hr involved not to let any emotional aspect get into the discussion.

Who da'Punk said...

Hammer time.

Sorry to break out the cold water but moderation is back on. I recognize that in the midst of layoffs that people out there want to have a discussion of citizen vs. non-citizen and employment. But it appears, at least as of today, having this as a civil discussion is not possible. I have deleted the obviously non-productive comments about this. If you have a thought to share, you of course have a wealth of individual blog publishing opportunities before you. You can even link to this blog post.

Anonymous said...

you all read this blog.
so suppose you support the premise stated in mini's about "Let's slim down Microsoft into a lean, mean, efficient customer pleasing profit making machine! Mini-Microsoft, Mini-Microsoft, lean-and-mean!"

so either you don't really want what you think you want, or you didn't think it through.

time to get back to work and focus on making good stuff

Anonymous said...

Figuring out the next 3,600

Down to 3200: 400 current employees will get new open positions. Their old position will not be filled.

Down to 2700: 500 "low" performers will ne ousted. These individuals are already on thier way out, but MSFT did not want them to have the severance package.

Down to 700: 2000 "high" performers will leave on their own due to "no merit increases" for fiscal 2010.

Down to 500: 200 will retire either due to age.

The remaining 500 will "make the news" as MSFT announces the layoffs in October 2009.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of irony that MSFT finds itself at the exact place that IBM was regarding layoffs in the late 80s/early 90s. I can remember well when MSFT was the anti-IBM.

Sigh...

Anonymous said...

Ballmer, Lisa and Liddell spent the first half of the townhall meeting explaining that our results are quite good. That raises the question... why the hell lay off employees? The threshold for layoff seems low, very low. This is mismanagement. Employees are not happy, and wallstreet is not happy either! The news of layoff caused the not-so-bad quarter to be percieved as worse that it really is to wallstreet.

A company's responsibility first and foremost is to its shareholders. But part of that responsibility to shareholders is to keep employees happy.

Microsoft shareholders gained very little from this layoff. In fact shareholders lost a lot because Microsoft is no longer seen as a terrific employer. It will be harder to attract top talent. Existing talent will see jobs at startup companies as no less stable than at MS.

The threshold for layoff should have been higher. Much higher. Billg would not have laid off just because of a few percentage points of decrease in profit. This is not Billg's Microsoft, have no doubt about it.

Anonymous said...

It is an interesting Theory-survial of the Fittest. After ten years at MS and watching today town hall I feel the beginning of a hypothesis taking form. I feel the need to work on this during my spare time but i will give it a shot. First it goes with out saying software brother and sisters. If you were impacted today I am truly sorry. Perhaps you may be the blessed ones. Go out and explore what is out there.

Onward.-Survial of the fittest at MS these days seems to amount to whom can do the skip dance. Convinvce your skip level manager great things, get on the right projects, hit your numbers and ensure you are aware of Manager above you may stop..so as not to run your nose into various body parts used for kissing arse. In all seriousness the most shocking event for me was watching the town hall and some manager trying to get SteveB. to say I am sorry. The fact that we couldn't muster up the courage took the wind out of my sails in a major way. Things were said like feel bad, unforunate-If we lack direction, conviction and motivation from the top and the abilty to recognize)admit) our mistakes how do we as employees whom are asked to manage our careers blah blah repect folks that have done such a poor job of managing the company i work for.

Idea number 2-Lets take this boat private with the money that is sitting and doing nothing for anyone in cash and liquid assets. There will be no dollar return for partners, employee;s or shareholders for many years to come. We need to move from Oil tanker to speed boat again and the efforts to please public shareholders continue to distract every effort in turning the ship.

SLT-Please make progress or move out of the way. Let the next generation of leaders have a go at the oars...right now they are just dragging in the water and slowing us down

Anonymous said...

Close this blog...and open mini google which has reported a higher percentage of loss than MSFT....u free loaders of open source.

Anonymous said...

My assessment of the Town Hall this morn. Steve, Chris and Lisa clearly articulated the business reasons for the lay offs, especially in positioning the Company for the long term. Kudos for that frank discussion, and how we employees can move forward. In the Q&A, I feel that Steve didn't fully listen to the employee who raised the point that she has yet to hear a 'I am sorry' from MS Leaders. She was asking about MS Leadership's accountability for 'leading' our Company into such a position, like the captain of a ship. She wasn't suggesting an apology for the layoff decision. Wrt the bonus, it's re-assuring to the majority of employees to hear this is un-touched, including the 401K match. However, I think there was a missed opportunity for the Leadership to show sacrifice, by taking a cut in their bonus/pay, again to demonstrate accountability. During the good times, our Partner level and above leaders have been reaping significant rewards. But during bad times, it seems they aren't sacrificing nor facing significant downside, rather, Steve went out of his way to re-assure that leadership bonus could still be significant despite the financial performance if we do well in market share and other factors. Net, I think the exchange were missed opptys for Leadership to shine.

Anonymous said...

Do your work, but don't be afraid to make sure that your manager and his manager know your contributions.

This is brilliant advice.

Remember that the 1400 gone yesterday for the most part were not 10%s. LCA is doing the slightly tougher work on denying those folks severance.

I was among them with 7 years at MS. My crime was, after years in the money houses, joining a team trying to do something different. Lesson learned - don't do this at Microsoft.

Is that what you mean by managing a career?

Anonymous said...

What the heck was Microsoft thinking?
Posted Jan 23rd 2009 6:00PM by Jamie Dlugosch
Filed under: Earnings reports, Bad news, Management, Microsoft (MSFT), Recession

One of the biggest complaints of the public equity markets is the incredibly short-term focus of participants. Management teams for publicly traded entities face severe consequences from a market short on patience.

Decisions tend to be focused on delivering short-term results. The "beat the number" game has become standard operating procedure. Such is the cost of accessing capital while providing shareholders liquidity.

But is worth it? I'm not so sure.

Investors want the company to make as much money as possible in the short term. As a result, if a company is not profitable in a given quarter, there is extreme pressure to cut costs and to do so immediately -- no matter the longer-term expense of such action.

In many cases cutting costs are exactly the right tonic to rejuvenate profits, but in some instances, those short-term cuts can do more damage than good.

This past week, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) dropped a big bomb on the market by releasing its quarterly earnings earlier than expected. Lost in the headline of the lower revenue and earnings number was the announcement that the company would be cutting 5,000 jobs from its rolls.

For the first time in its history, MSFT is laying off employees. My question is, why bother?

Seriously, while it is a negative in the short term for MSFT to have missed its earnings and revenue numbers, the loss of jobs will have a big psychological impact on the company. The move sends a horrible signal inside and outside of the company.

The biggest risk is that some of the best talent at MSFT may get nervous about sticking around. Will they be next to lose their jobs? That's what I would be thinking.

Microsoft is still a cash cow, and they are using that cash to do things like buy back stock. They are making money hand over fist, even if the numbers are not what the market expected.

The move looks like an act of desperation.

The company's stated reason for cutting is to preserve cash in an economic environment where there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel. I don't buy it.

The move was made to appease the market, but the tradeoff will be a lack of credibility with current and future employees. In one move they lost a key competitive advantage.

Now they are just like everyone else. No wonder the stock was down on the news.

Louis Navellier's PortfolioGrader Pro, which offers free ratings for nearly 5,000 Wall Street stocks, rates MSFT a D or Sell.

Jamie Dlugosch is a contributor to OptionsZone.com.

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