Thursday, January 22, 2009

Microsoft Layoff 2009 - Now What?

22 January 2009: here we are at Microsoft: realigning resources and reducing costs. And laying people off. The day that has been rumored for a month now has come. And the staff reductions I've been wanting since starting this blog back in 2004 are here, though within an economic context I certainly Do Not Want. I wanted intelligent, well-thought-out leadership to have seen long ago that we've doubled our ranks far too fast and exceeded our ranks beyond what we can sustain (let alone need). Yet here we are now, in the choppy waters of the global economic crisis, being reactive rather than opportunistic.

Microsoft should be better than this.

This will start as a short post to kick off the biggest event at Microsoft that I can remember: severe cut-backs and staff reductions.

Initial coverage:

Some quick, shallow impressions:

  • Not much is getting done today and tomorrow.
  • 1,400 gone today (Who? It's a drop in the bucket) and now we have the remaining 3,600 hanging over our head during the next 18 months - what does that mean? I assume at this point that it means aggressive performance management is the rule over, and over again for each MYCD and annual review from here on.
  • No raises as part of the annual review this year.
  • No SPSA payout? No details there.
  • Travel and contingent staff cuts. Very sensible and already in progress.
  • Building expansion cut backs that Mr. Tartakoff at the Seattle P-I has already taken an early preview of.
  • An outplacement center will be established. And hey, "some of you" may find jobs internally (good luck with the rush - I do hope over this past month you're already ahead of the game if affected) and there will be a severance package for the rest.
  • The conference call this afternoon will include Steve Ballmer. And we have our Town Hall Friday morning. What questions do you hope get asked to Mr. Ballmer as part of this staffing reduction?
  • Don't go asking your manager many questions today: this is news to 99% of us.
  • Dang, sometimes anonymous comments can be truthful in what they share.

Administrivia: moderation turned off in the near term - note that I will delete:

  • Comments I wouldn't have approved in the first place.
  • Comments that quote comments I wouldn't have approved - so don't have a great comment that goes and spends a little time quoting an offensive comment because I'll have to blow the whole thing away.

628 comments:

1 – 200 of 628   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

No raises in September...I think I can handle if it's only one year.

5000 layed off over 18 months, but only 1400 immediately. Great, now we can wait 18 months to see who the other 3600 are. Better be a superstar if you want to stay, compitition is going to be tight.

The only other question is, why is this only a net layoff of 2000? We should be reorging to come up with headcount for the following year.

Anonymous said...

I love reading work email first thing in the morning, especially today.

Anonymous said...

What does this news imply for new hires? I start in Feb!

Anonymous said...

Severence: (<65) 1 week for every 6 months of service. (65+) 2 weeks for every 6 months of service. Capped at 39 weeks.

Anonymous said...

SteveSi's org has no layoffs per an email from him.

Anonymous said...

what does not merit increases mean? will there be no promos for anyone?

Anonymous said...

Email from KT to SMSG telling us to "sharpen our focus on serving our customers and partners" and "stay focused." I can do that.

Email from Mich Mathews that is straight-forward and sobering but, in the second paragraph in bold/underlined letters: "NO full-time positions within our organization are included in the immediate job eliminations that Steve discussed in his mail."

Of course that doesn't mean some cuts won't come later. Cutting to the bone now might be better for morale. Then the "survivors" could move on and focus on working.

I wonder how many of the 5000-1400 will be from attrition?

Anonymous said...

does anyone know when will the proverbial pink slips be handed out?

Anonymous said...

Layoffs in Online group. Don't know which part. Mail from Satya.

Anonymous said...

realignment in MBD per Stephen Elop - and yes, some layoffs

Anonymous said...

Ok - which teams are seeing cuts?

How and when will the 'pink slips' be administered? Should people already have meeting requests or will people do drive bys on these?

Anonymous said...

The one key thing is that when you do have to cut, you cut deep the first time, because you don't want to have to cut again. Hopefully that's the case here.

Double Journey said...

Best of luck to everyone in the coming months. I left Microsoft over a year ago for several different reasons. One of which was because I thought the company had become too big for itself and it had become too hard to get stuff done

Life outside Redmond has been different and at times more difficult. But at the same time, it has been much more rewarding. While I am 100% certain I made the right decision, I still only wish the best for my old employer and old coworkers.

Layoffs are tough, but they often bring new opportunities both for those who leave and those who stay behind.

Anonymous said...

Used to work for Microsoft. I have to say, only Microsoft could come up with this sort of layoff. Let's cut a couple people today, then hold a larger number over your heads for the next year.

Not a pleasant place to work. For the people who get axed today, you'll soon discover that msft is not the center of the universe it believes itself to be and that you can find a real career path elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous who said "layoffs in Online group". Which online group, that could mean anything?

Anonymous said...

So what this means product engineering groups are untouched (dev/test/pm)?

Anonymous said...

Grrr! Why can't they do it all at once and be done with it? I have no problem seeing 5000 people go (really, we're talking about HALF of the 10% crowd...people who we failed to get rid of due to sheer laziness). Dragging it out over 18 months seems crazy.

Anonymous said...

Debra Chrapaty's org is going to have some cuts, per her email.

Lots of conference rooms booked for today. Hmmm...

Anonymous said...

Online group = SatyaN's org...AdCenter and Live Search. I saw the same mail.

Anonymous said...

5000 is laughable. Wall St. was expecting to see more as a buffer to the poor earnings. And now the street is reacting. I should have shorted MSFT. I left 8 months ago and am so glad. Frankly, I can't imagine working there with the spectre of more layoffs coming. You have to know that it won't stop at 5000. And then with no raises, effectively a pay cut for everyone. Just amazing, but I'm just stunned at MSFT leadership short sightedness. IBM released great earnings, Apple as well. Microsoft leaders just haven't stepped up to think strategically. More that should have been done...

- Eliminate MCS...gone. Take 1/2 the money saved from that and fund large numbers of RSI and NSI companies.
- WW EPG and WW SMSP...gone. They just fly around to justify their existence anyway.
- Deeper layoffs...as many have said, cut once and cut deep.

Sheesh, Ballmer et al...you suck.

Anonymous said...

Best to get laid off in the first round. You get the best layoff package. The next rounds will be less generous and the mood will be worse as the company circles the toilet.

Anonymous said...

As a former employee but still in the channel and with a lot of stock at risk here, I view this as a cleaning house effort. What concerns me is that only 1400 lay offs occur today and the other 3,600 could take over 18 months. This will only increase the trends I saw of management spending an inordinate amount of time on stack ranking and reviews as well as employees justifying their positions. Management and employees need to focus 90% of their time on customers and partner and 10% on internal versus what I saw which was 90% internal focus and 10% external focus! I believe the products and technology offer an incredible opportunity for consumers to benefit but Microsoft needs to adjust to an external focus immediately and abandon the extreme internal focus. Perhaps new execs would help.

Anonymous said...

If you're going to get cut, hope you get cut now.

Severance will be better, and the number of open positions will be much higher than later in the year.

Anonymous said...

I was laid off in 2001 and it was handled horribly by the company where I had been a loyal employee and had received a 23 percent raise three months before I was laid off.

I hope Microsoft at least has enough class to treat laid off people with dignity.

Anonymous said...

What concerns me is that only 1400 lay offs occur today and the other 3,600 could take over 18 months.

this is how layoff are done in other companies, laying off XXXX employee over 12 months etc..

Anonymous said...

Layoffs will hit some in MSRA

Anonymous said...

Based out of the US, its not overly nice to have to sleep on this until we learn more tomorrow.

Want to know how they determine the 3600

Anonymous said...

Anybody see mails from E&D yet?

Anonymous said...

I've gone through this before when my whole group got reorg'd a few years ago.

You get a meeting invitation, manager + HR rep. They give you the severance package to review and sign. You don't have much choice--it's take it or leave it. What is offered can vary from what the earlier commenter posted. It's up to MSFT what is offfered and they could be mean about the total package.

You get 6 weeks to look for a job. The placement service I got last time was pretty useless for anyone who can write a resume.

Your work stops on current assigments immediately and your "job" becomes finding a new position. You don't have to come in to do the search if you don't want to.

(Yeah, good luck in this economy finding anything. There's going to be very little internally unless you have a connection or some rare skills.)

My advice to those laid off: don't spend much time "winding up projects" (more than a couple days of email status summaries). Managers will not stop you for working, but you won't get anything from it. Spend the time on your job search and networking.

Anonymous said...

no news in STB land

Anonymous said...

Mini - It is completely fucking irresponsible of you to turn off comment moderation for the day.

Apparently you would prefer to be the source of more pain for MSFT than actually help employees here.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a good move. But I was wondering how 1400 job cut would give MS any kind of head start in the current economic times. Ideally Steve should think about cutting the extra fat at around 10% over next 1 year along with fiscal controls in place.

Chopping travel costs is a nice move but should have been started an year back.

Anonymous said...

it's really sad to hear this type of layoff coming to microsoft -- having spent the last several years in the 'real world' after leaving there myself i've encountered this mode of layoff operation a couple of times - and it sucks because of the impact it has on employee morale and the ability to retain the actual top talent - because those that can move, if threatened, will.. and then you end up "meeting" your headcount reduction without actually weeding out the people who should have gone in the first round anyway.

best of luck to y'all - key thing is not paint a target on your back by worrying about it too much, make sure you've got insight/contacts into groups other than your own immediate one (because anyone who tells you that these layoffs aren't decided by politics a bit is high) and keep your options open.

Anonymous said...

STB mail is in..

Anonymous said...

BobMu sent his mail ..

Eliminitations are in the works .. folks will be notified by EOD

message was vague but seemed mostly to focus on "elimination due to products / features which are not supported any more or can be absorbed"

Some of the lieutenants have been messaging "manage out low performers" so it is hunting season

Merry Xmas.

Anonymous said...

This is so sad. This is going to be
a lifeboat exercise over the next
18 months. FUD-loopza 2009-2010.
Focus? Yeah, right, Productivity?
By fear is wonderful.
5000 is so wishful thinking and
truly dishonest by the leadership.
Good luck, softies.

Anonymous said...

Maria Martinez's org is losing heads.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to me that people continue to think that MSFT's incompetent leadership would somehow be competent at locating and eliminating the worst performers that need to go. Layoffs are a sign of failed management and political skill usually predicts who stays and who goes.

Just two examples 1) no one in product engineering - does this mean there are no poor performers in those groups? 2) Execs - how many of them are being let go? (political power).

Despite mini's hopes for a leaner meaner MSFT, this is likely to be a step in exactly the wrong direction.

Anonymous said...

Here's another anonymous comment that will have far far greater impact than these layoffs... the collapse of the US dollar. What do you think that's going to do to your job?

Our country is bankrupt and the corporate Fed keeps printing money to keep things running. This dilutes your savings, and everything you own, that's based in US dollars. Imagine not having any retirement anymore, or money to pay for health care, etc.

This is what happens when people beocme too trusting of a manipulative mainstream media, and a Federal Reserve that's run by a for-profit, private corporation. And then they go vote for and rally around politicians who are paid for by the same people who caused this mess. Rah rah rah.

Such smart people at Microsoft? I think not. Just as stupid as the rest of the sheep out there, just a little busier, that's all. And probably a little greedier, too.

Anonymous said...

>> why is this only a net layoff of 2000

That's because it's the "layoff" portion of it. There will also be a "performance management" portion, where they lay you off without a severance package. And then there will also be a lot of people who can't bear an axe hanging over their neck and leave voluntarily. I'm certainly contemplating this. 18 months my ass.

Anonymous said...

no layoffs in India Development Center yet out of 1400, mail from CVP

Anonymous said...

I think the "no FY10 merit raises" is flat out stupid with such small job cuts. The message seems to be "do a good enough job to keep your job, but don't worry about it beyond that". So it doesn't matter much whether I get Exceeded or a solid Achieved this year. Why should I bust my butt for that?

To head off any "because you want to keep your job" comments, I'm not talking about why should I do a decent job. I'm asking what motivates me to take on extra stuff and really stretch.

I see work life balance improving already.

Anonymous said...

Seems like the cuts are so small who cares. I can't imagine any of the 1400 getting let go today do any useful work at all. Honestly the cuts should have been 14,000 today. Look at the losses in online group. The complete lack of strategy in WinMo. I would start there. GFS can cut 20% easily and then reduce the field where customer are not buying. Keep cash cows going (Client, Office, STB) and Xbox but deep cuts everywhere else.

Anonymous said...

Why not just lower some highly compensated people?

Lower VP, GM, Directors salary can easily save lots of jobs

http://www.salarylist.com/all-real-jobs-salary-at-microsoft-corporation.htm

Anonymous said...

There's simply going to be more emphasis on the stack ranking than ever before. Won't that be fun? I left MSFT three years ago, and whiel there are people and things I missed, that cuthroat atmosphere of politics I certainly have not. I don't think this is anywhere close to the only reductions coming. Best of luck to everyone at the empire.

Anonymous said...

The mid-year reviewes promoted at least 20% of the partners at various levels enabling them to receive higher compensation...right before the freeze in pay could be announced? Look around peeps, we are good at strategy, aren't we?

Anonymous said...

Stocks now at 17.50, 50% what it was this time last year.

Good thing management switched their bonus structure to cash vs. stock for this year. Anyone going to call them on it tomorrow?

Anonymous said...

i just received two email. one an unexpected hr meeting request to meet in a conference room. one a welcome email that a new researcher is joining in.

Anonymous said...

The problem is not just with VP and GM. You have low performing SMSG sales managers making over 300K by playing around with quota.

Anonymous said...

As an outside shareholder - Honestly, I wish MSFT gets rid of the layers of managers (directors, GMs, xVPs).

Ask your manger what (s)he does every day and if they can't describe beyond what their team does or use some buzzwords, then you know what they do!!!

Anonymous said...

So we add 20-30k headcount in the last couple of years, spending like drunken sailors, then have to turn around and dump 5000 people and spread it out over 18 months to make this a chaotic and nerve racking as possible. WTF. Our Senior Leadership is fucked and I wish they'd RIF their ass instead. Yes--I know they control the kingdom and it won't happen, b ut for fucks sake this company appears to be run by a bunch of loonies at this point. This is very sad, it used to be a vibrant high energy place to work 10 years ago and now look where we are.

Anonymous said...

no layoff in China Dev Center

Anonymous said...

no raises, but im sure SPSA will get paid out

Anonymous said...

What about india center. I think over 5000 people work there

Anonymous said...

"Here's another anonymous comment that will have far far greater impact than these layoffs... the collapse of the US dollar. What do you think that's going to do to your job?"

Are you really that stupid? The dollar is at an all time high against both the Pound Sterling and Euro. Get your facts straight and learn some economics. Then you might know what impact more US Debt bought by foreign entities actually has on currency.

Anonymous said...

some targetting in MSD

Anonymous said...

What are the expected savings here? The way I see it, ~$200K / year / employee * 1400 employees = $280M / year. Revenue in FY08 was something like $60.4B, so this approximately a half a percent. Far less than the gap in the revenue target for the last quarter.

The savings are a pittance, so what's the real reason for this?

Anonymous said...

Per mail from Tony Scott, no first-round layoffs in MSIT.

Anonymous said...

MS China Research "affected"

Anonymous said...

Per mail from Tony Scott, no first-round layoffs in MSIT.

Cut already happen in MSIT a few months back

Anonymous said...

Spreading layoff of 3600 people over 18 months is a brilliant strategy of making everyone working their buts off without any perspective of merit increase.

Anonymous said...

So does R&D include dev/test/pm or not?

Anonymous said...

any layoff news on Europe dev centers?

Anonymous said...

Yes, when Microsoft says R&D they mean both Research and Product Groups (dev/test/PM)

Anonymous said...

Does this means we are not hiring for next 18 months?

If we are hiring again, 1400 can be refilled in 2-3 months.

Anonymous said...

BTW, what's with all this hate for vendors and travel? Vendors are the ones actually doing the work that those endless ranks of "project managers" aren't capable of doing. And travel? You want to focus on customers, but you don't want anyone to travel to customers? You think the customers are going to travel here to Redmond just for the fun of it?

Anonymous said...

I wonder how they handle layoffs in China. Most people are already on a week+ long vacation for the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival). Maybe a pink slip email?

Anonymous said...

The question that nobody is asking is:

Isn't this too little, too late?

Look at Microsoft group by group, and it can be seen that many of the businesses are loaded with legacy staff that have been there forever, and are long past the point when they pay their own way, let alone generate enough profits to justify keeping them.

For the layoffs to be truly effective, it has to start at the top, drastically trimming management ranks --- especially those who have hardly coded a line of code in years, and rely on their pool of contractors, imported grunts and offshore units to do their work for them.

If this approach is taken, the company can probably lose 30% of its senior managers, 25% of its middle managers, and 20% of its rank and file with zero impact on productivity.

Alas, that is not about to happen anytime soon.

Too little, too late.

ZY

Anonymous said...

I worked at MS for 6 years and left in somewhat of a BS circumstance in 2003. All I can say to those affected is that I'm much happier outside of MS and make more money as well. Embrace the change as a new opportunity and you will be fine. I honestly would not consider going back to work at MS now. And I hope that they are targeting the thousand of incompetent middle managers but somehow I'm guessing that won't be the case.

Anonymous said...

Vendors are the ones actually doing the work

Vendors can do the work. Most Contractors are bad.

Anonymous said...

I left two years ago, as it had become a really awful environment place to try to do good work. In that time, I'm sometimes struggled and questioned my decision.

Today I feel sad for my friends, and very much at peace. This just demonstrates, yet again, how amazingly inept the upper and mid-level management is over there. All of the information employees are getting via Mini should have been communicated internally first. There's absolutely no respect flowing FROM management to employees, so why should there be any back?

The next rounds will be less generous and the mood will be worse as the company circles the toilet.

Exactly correct. Head for those lifeboats. The correction for seven (ten?) years of stock stagnation is just beginning...

Anonymous said...

"Isn't this too little, too late?"

Really? Microsoft still pulled in four billion dollars of income (on only $16 billion of revenue!), which would be extraordinary in virtually any other industry.

The cuts are about making Wall Street get off their backs, and to accept the reality that expenses keep climbing while revenue has plateaued. I hardly think that Microsoft is doomed, though.

Anonymous said...

Note from Linda Zecher, VP WW Public Sector:

"I know that this is concerning and your first thought is: “what is the impact for our team?” Let me start by saying that NO full-time positions within our organization are included in the immediate job eliminations that Steve discussed in his mail."

Anonymous said...

"The interesting thing is that they chose not to pre-announce these numbers. Most companies that are going to miss this badly would have pre-announced," said Brendan Barnicle, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities.

"I think what's most damaging is their credibility. It's as if this is something that they discovered today."

Anonymous said...

Not a 'softie, but an employee in another big SW company (mainly partner of MS, some competition in specific parts of our portfolios).

My thoughts are with you, good luck to all of you. We go through quite some cost cutting as well, although local labour law does not allow to sack people at such a breakneck speed. So far (fingers crossed) we have not heard of layoffs, but come Wednesday next week (All-Hands Meeting...), who knows...

I just hope that some social aspects enter into the decision whom to retain.

Best from Europe
(non-'softie)

Anonymous said...

does non-compete/non-solicit still apply if you are laid off?

Anonymous said...

Mail from Ravi Venkatesan (CVP)
Let me start by saying that NO full-time positions within India are included in the immediate job eliminations that Steve discussed in today’s mail.

Anonymous said...

non-competes are virtually impossible to enforce unless you are a named director (like Kai Fu Lee). Go work for whoever you want.

Anonymous said...

It's more like 5000 plus a good chunk of the 10% bucket - so closer to a 10% cut. This is all about cutting the high-cost blue badge people and backfilling with low-cost H1Bs. Some of the 70%'ers will now find they're in the 10% bucket, and so on.

There's some schadenfreude here for me but I know it's real people (and good ones) who are impacted. For you, take the advice of other posters to heart that MSFT isn't the center of the universe and you'll find life outside the bubble. For those of you college hires who have stayed because you have no clue what the job market is like anymore - wake up!

Anonymous said...

Muglia email unclear, seems there will probably be layoffs.

Anonymous said...

Few positions to be eliminated in the Moscow office, HR contractors and folks from the MCS.

Anonymous said...

Profitability and revenue growth stem more from monopoly position than innovation, I'd guess. The company is too large, and has too much monopoly control of its marketplace to correctly reorganize. Most companies gain discipline by taking on leverage. Here's a company that's had way too much cash for decades, and developed a heroin-type addiction to aimless spending of it on ill-conceived projects.

It will be interesting to see case studies of the situation decades from now. Truly a cautionary tale for human organizational behavior.

Anonymous said...

"This is all about cutting the high-cost blue badge people and backfilling with low-cost H1Bs."

You do know that H1Bs legally have to be paid at the top end of the scale for their position? Adding legal fees it's the exact opposite. There is no cost savings by bringing in an H1B. Outsourcing is how to save the $$.

Anonymous said...

robbie's email skirts the issue - he talks about reorgs. but i know for a fact e&d will be cutting at least two hundred fte's. best of luck to everyone impacted.

Anonymous said...

This is an extremely bad day for Microsoft.

Management gives wall street no warning they will miss earnings targets, hence investors assume if they stick to traditional earnings release date they must have made their numbers.

The company then misses the numbers but has results largely in line with what buy side investors forecasted.

The company holds a call with investors and manages to drive the stock down further. It is clear the company has reacted more slowly to the downturn than other leading companies such as HP, CSCO, IBM.

Management also releases a confusing attrition plan, and seems to minimize to investors the net reduction in headcount.

So the company has achieved the following in about three hours :

Decreased it's market cap by $20B

Reduced credibility with investors

Confused employees with a long tail plan of attrition

This is a bad day and was managed almost as poorly as could be scripted.

Anonymous said...

Note to self: No more whining at 1:1s

Anonymous said...

"This is all about cutting the high-cost blue badge people and backfilling with low-cost H1Bs."

"You do know that H1Bs legally have to be paid at the top end of the scale for their position? Adding legal fees it's the exact opposite. There is no cost savings by bringing in an H1B. Outsourcing is how to save the $$."

Correct me if I am wrong - a H1B cannot receive any type of job description change. They are "stuck" with their current job description until they get a Green Card. Even though they can get merit increases, they cannot get a promotion (new title, new duties). M$ saves money this way.

Anonymous said...

Be mindful about what you say and signing anything, particularly if you are in a protected class. Expect "high pressure" sales tactics - take it or leave it.... Signing may prevent you from being able to pursue legal action

Anonymous said...

"Correct me if I am wrong - a H1B cannot receive any type of job description change. They are "stuck" with their current job description until they get a Green Card. Even though they can get merit increases, they cannot get a promotion (new title, new duties). M$ saves money this way."

Incorrect. H1Bs can move around all they want internally. They just can't jump external. They are trapped in a sense but not if they're happy with MS.

Anonymous said...

can we please get rid of "meathead" now? could our leadership be more lacking in vision, planning, executation, and public relations *simultaneously*?

Anonymous said...

I feel lucky that i'm a low-cost blue badge...

Anonymous said...

Note from Linda Zecher, VP WW Public Sector:

Isn't she a new CVP to replace one that left recently?

She is one who should go. We need to have less overpaid SPSA.

Anonymous said...

Get rid of E&D!

What a crock about Xbox sales when income fell by whopping 60%! Its like sell more and lose heck of lot more.

Here are the "real" #s breakdown per 24/7 Wall St. Blog:

The bad economy took a significant toll on the two parts of the company which have never done well. The devices operations which houses the Xbox and Zune had flat sales at $3.2 billion but operating income fell apart, down from $375 million in the last calendar quarter of 2007 to $151 million in the current report. In other words, after being assigned its share of Microsoft's corporate overhead, it probably did not break even.

Link here: http://www.247wallst.com/2009/01/microsoft-msft.html#more

Anonymous said...

So it doesn't matter much whether I get Exceeded or a solid Achieved this year. Why should I bust my butt for that?

Promotions are not being halted are they now?

Anonymous said...

So here is the story:
- the 1400 are also including frozen headcounts which represents a majority
- the remaining 3600 which are real RIF will come out of a reorg between SMSG and C&O and E&D etc where many turn one and duplicates are reduced at Corp, in region/area and in Sub (not so much given how slim the orgs already are).
- Why would Steve else point to ALL workgroups and roles? He doesnt know - the magnificent leadership team is buying itself time!
- However, very likely this is about to happen in a near future given the number of all hands scheduled around the world mid February.
- Though there are a few dependencies - Yahoo developments and EA renewals rate and product/license attach rates. The first is very likely impacting at least the reorg component big time. This is the reason the SLT wont say when it happens or which roles which groups - corporate events will tell, not strategy.
- Last but not least - savings in mkting, vendor, travel et all is already enforced in International, its not like today held any news.
- So we should still wonder why Apple and IBM beat their predictions and we did not and we should certainly wonder why management around the world is sending out mails saying exactly the same thing, that their org is not affected by the 1400 cut today and we should all wonder why Kevin sends out a mail 30 seconds after Steves saying "lighten up folks, refocus on saving customers money and make customers happy" (i.e. please help me keep my job as the board and sharehoders probably dont think I am driving operations in the company very effective and that goes for the stock price as well) Folks, not many people were sacked today. This is merely the tip of the iceberg - youre on candid camera and Steves just started to Wag the Dog.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to be at the Town Hall meeting tomorrow and ask them questions that most won't ask (like direct questions)and then call their bullshit when they give the vague answer that doesn't really answer the fricken question. I hated the DOJ case but at least these some of these idiots had their bullshit vague answers called out by good government attorneys. I sure would like a public accounting (which we won't get) of the management layers that get riffed, esp at the high end vp/partner/gm/etc levels that provide us with some crap for company direction.

Anonymous said...

The mail clearly says that merit is cut for september 09. That's not the same as promo budget, or gold star. Get a promotion or get a star to increase your bottom line; managers will be assessing these as the tools for saving those they must keep.

Anonymous said...

5000 layoffs. Bet those are FTEs. If you add in the vendors and contractors being let go (previous and current), those numbers are probably upwards of 10,000.

Microsoft is doing itself a favor by cutting the dead-weight..its about time. But the way they are going about doing it blows chunks.

Some entire groups need to go. Mobile. Zune. Search. Perhaps MSFT will be doing that in the next round. Get back to its core and stop trying to do everything.

Spending the next 18 months in a lifeboat on stormy seas? Priceless.

Anonymous said...

Wanna know how much "lower wage" H1B are making at MS?

Check out this link and get dose of reality!

Also you'll get to see the pay for typical title and level too.

By the way, there are 2k H1B working at MS.

http://www.h1b.info/lca_job_list.php?name=MICROSOFT+CORP&employer=microsoft&year=2004&PHPSESSID=da6ef99388d810fad2ac92af7aecf9ed

Anonymous said...

"robbie's email skirts the issue - he talks about reorgs. but i know for a fact e&d will be cutting at least two hundred fte's..."

What e-mail from Robbie? When was it sent? I'll call BS on this one.

Anonymous said...

Run a search on "labor arbitrage" and H1B and see the results - this is a tactic to lower the overall cost of labor, nothing to do with a shortage of talent.

Anonymous said...

This is another great example of how MS execs just don’t get it. Ax the 5000 now and give them the opportunity to look for better opportunities outside of MS. Keeping 3600 in your back pocket just drags down the morale of the entire company.

If anyone fears being one of those 3600, better start looking for a job now while you’re fortunate enough to still have one.

Anonymous said...

No email from Robbie yet. E&D is the future of MS.

Anonymous said...

One third of the Puget Sound workforce at MIcrosoft is H1B, L or Greencard. Let's see what happens to the housing market and banking industry if H1B visa holders are laid off.. Wonder if they'll bother leaving the keys at the bank before they head up to Canada to switch visa status.

See if there will be rush hour at the border crossing. B

Anonymous said...

>> H1Bs can move around all they want internally.
>> They just can't jump external.

Also incorrect. They can go work elsewhere if that company sponsors their H1-B. The transition is very risky, though, so few people dare try it.

Anonymous said...

Heard that CRM Live is going to be severely impacted. I hope these poor folks will be able to find positions in other groups.

Anonymous said...

Who is the freaking CRM troll? Every Mini article has someone talking about how CRM "Live" (news flash: we aren't called that anymore, and haven't been for a year now) is being cut/removed/damaged irreparably. Plus there's the Facebook vandalism a few months back. I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Any word on HR yet? Haven't seen a Lisab email...

Anonymous said...

"What e-mail from Robbie? When was it sent? I'll call BS on this one."

"No email from Robbie yet. E&D is the future of MS."

There was an e-mail from Robbie. Not everyone received it though (exchange issue). I know Enrique forwarded it because of not everyone receiving it.

Anonymous said...

Um...if they are cutting jobs and other employers are cutting jobs...why aren't the applications for h1b visas for microsoft dropping?

All the people for Obama have to ask, why is it that he is for increasing the number of visas, and so is his labor secretary? I guess you'll have time to follow his every move on cnn and in the coffeehouse when you are unemployed.

Anonymous said...

Kevin T, Chris D and Steve B have all played their part. The stock is down -10%. And even before today, the stock is down deeper than Nasdaq during the crisis. What kind of executives do we have who can not make decisions and can not run a company, what kind of board do we have who do not adress these obvious issues? Let these morons loose now and get some real management in who dare to adress the real issues and dont just enforce scorecards that everyone know carries 99% error and bogus data but thousands of people have to treat like words from God.

Anonymous said...

I'm not the same anon who said there are 200 FTEs getting RIFd via reorg, I have no clue about that. However I'll confirm that Robbie sent a very vague email that announced some mgmt changes but neither confirmed nor denied layoffs.

From: Robert (Robbie) Bach
Sent: Thursday, January 22, 2009 7:05 AM
To: Entertainment & Devices Division FTE
Cc: Senior Leadership Team Core
Subject: E&D Announcements

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I am wrong - a H1B cannot receive any type of job description change. They are "stuck" with their current job description until they get a Green Card. Even though they can get merit increases, they cannot get a promotion (new title, new duties).

It depends on how the employer operates. From what I know Microsoft uses very generic job descriptions like "develops software" for software engineer (SDE/SDET/AppDev), and "manages projects" for project director (PM) for the legal filings, so people can move around within the company and get promoted without being stuck. Personally in my 9years at the company I have gone from L59 (SDE) to L65 (Principal Dev Mgr) on H1B while waiting for the green card.

Anonymous said...

H1B applications will go up - that's a big source of cheap labor.

Get real!

Anonymous said...

Pretty awesome that the only word so far from LisaB and HR is a blog post over a month ago about the HR site redesign.

I would settle for anything, even if it was just a "come drink the kool-aide!"

Anonymous said...

Email sent from US DPE - no impact as of now...

Anonymous said...

I work in Premier as a Premier Field Engineer (PFE). We have lost 20 guys so far. Some of them were on the bench though.

Anonymous said...

Listening to the earnings conference call. Sounds like Ballmer is at a funeral

Anonymous said...

Enought about the H1Bs already.

Anonymous said...

GREAT. I've only been here 1.5 years, but I have done very well performance-wise. But I'm also on a TN visa -- should I be extra scared?

Anonymous said...

why are you so sensitive about H1B?

Are you benefiting from it? Everyone know it's a source of cheap and obedient labor.

Anonymous said...

I am in Services and just got canned today after 11 years with MS and 7 years with Services.

Had Achieved or Exceeded for last 7 years except once (3 years ago) was promoted last year.

3 reasons given: job function, utilization and business need. No details on any.

I was a local expert in sharepoint and workflows. Published to MSDN. Was lined up to speak at TechReady. And had a full time customer billable gig until June 09 lined up

The utilization is an interesting story. I took a parental leave, full 12 weeks. That is supposed to come off your utilization target in a year (essentially take hours supposed to work and subtract 12 weeks). Well, I dug into numbers yesterday and they only appear to have subtracted 8 weeks. That extra month of supposed utilization really skewed my numbers downward. But they didn't want to discuss that discrepancy. My fault for not catching it early, I guess.

So careful with parental leave there. And Services people, watch MyIncentiveComp tool carefully.

I also had my ChangePoint hours messed with last year, one month utilization gone. Caught that just in time.

I think I pissed off my manager sometime last review.... Never clicked with that person...

I think I am the only one out of group of 25 to get canned in this group. I base that on review of the calendar of manager, mine is the only "Private" appointment this week although there was one two days ago, but that's before announcements.

Anonymous said...

"I am in Services and just got canned today after 11 years with MS and 7 years with Services."

What was severance?

Anonymous said...

From the cockpit: "Flight attendants, prepare for emergency landing and embrace for impact"

Anonymous said...

Of course MS leadership would not disappoint and handle this in the absolute worst way possible:

1. ignore the "cut once, cut more than you need and put it behind you" wisdom.

2. piss everyone off a little bit instead of pissing off (and getting rid of) those who do not pull their weight.

Instead, make cuts in waves, keep employees anxious, and risk losing the employees you want to keep.

Did Ballmer drop out of Stanford's MBA before they taught the class on how do deal with layoffs? Where is MS' board?

Anonymous said...

how do we know if we are canned, so far no mails from hr or manager but my inbox seems slower than normal.

Anonymous said...

One in every twenty will get the boot. The 19 left will slack their asses off since there is not gonna be any money left for anybody, except VPs.

Anonymous said...

Only one person in Australia, according to Tracey Fellows.

Anonymous said...

I worked for Microsoft sales & marketing during the 1990's. What I remember most was the level of racisim in the Atlanta based Southeast sales District. I wonder how many of the minorities are going to be layed off during this go around?

Anonymous said...

MSFT could have achieved a bigger saving just by changing the default Outlook meeting time to 45 minutes - at least that way people would have 15 minutes in every hour to be productive!

Anonymous said...

I feel for you guys. We went through this at IBM starting in 1992. It will be tough if it drags out as it did in IBM for some 15 years; arguably it is still going on. When I was cut in 2002, I was actually relieved; noone wants an axe hanging over their head or ro watch your company/division slowly die. Be glad though that you're not located in some town noone has ever heard of; there are other places to work that will not require you to move.

Anonymous said...

No mails to mssoc this morning. Are there any functionining internal social DGs?

Anonymous said...

To the services guy who thinks he's been laid off: by taking parental leave earlier this year, you have become "protected class", and the retaliatory actions against you are prohibited under Washington and federal laws.

Once you learn about severance, make your own decisions whether you want to make thic complaint. It will finish off your career at MS, but buy you ~6 months paid time to regroup.

Anonymous said...

More than five years with the company. Achieved or exceeded every year. Promoted more than once. Now looking for employment, as is everyone else in my group.

The cuts were capricious and thoughtless. Very few, if any, 10 percenters in the bunch.

Anonymous said...

I got a Star award this year. Have to admit I don't find that reassuring, reading the comments.

Anonymous said...

I feel extremely sorry for Microsoft colleagues as I left the company just in December 2008 unable to bear the harassment from my manager . It was out right discrimination which I brought to the attention of my skip level and HR as well. They were having conversations with me but used to use the buzz words like "work together" , open communication etc which was of no use . I left because I deserved a better life and I am happy I was right as I got a better paying job . I can't imagine having the axe hanging above your head for 18 months especially in a company that fosters favoritism in the name of "networking " . My blood still boils when I recall my managers' conversation who used to live in a vacuum and just use as many buzz words as possible not caring to know the reality.

Anonymous said...

Just got the axe today. I am in MCS as an Architect. I had been working on a number of technologies with customers such as Active Directory, Exchange and in some cases Virtualization. Recently the sales cycles have been extended due to customers pulling back on what they had planned to implement. So, a couple of deals that I would have had solid utilization on from a Design perspective fell through.

HR and management told me that it was mainly because of low utilization. It is a shame that I was viewed just by this rather than the value I was adding to the sales teams in helping to win big deals. Fact is, we won the big deals, but the state of the economy is what it is. If you aren't making money for the company from a tangible aspect that is directly tied to you, you will be gone.

Severance was 2 weeks for every 6 months of service. I am a 63.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like they're also cutting the highly paid.

Anonymous said...

10:18 - what group were you in?

Anonymous said...

In MDCC (Copenhagen), we have a 2-hour all-hands tomorrow morning. So while Redmond will know today, we get a sleepless night. There is a direct statement indicating that there will be some international layoffs, but it looks like all four ERP products will survive.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the magnitude of the Redmond cuts (FOR SURE, not a good guess) has triggered WARN for the Redmond campus?

If it has, then anyone being laid off must get at least 60 days of pay, whether they sign the severance agreement or not, and whether they're allowed/requested to work for those 60 days or not.

I ask because PFE is cutting according to other posters, and I'm fortunate to be based in Redmond. I am protected class by way of race and gender, and also possibly from a discrimination complaint I lodged against my manager last November.

My 2 years in the company seems to mean a potential 4 weeks severance + time to search, according to other posters. If they're required to pay me 60 days salary due to WARN, I won't lose much if I decline the agreement, and I'll get to keep the option of pursuing my complaint open.

I do hope that I don't need to make a decision about signing an agreement or not, but being prepared won't hurt. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I am hearing reports out of Fargo, ND that cuts have been made today in Dev, Marketing and Dynamics sales groups.

Wonder what this does mean for their campus expansion?

Anonymous said...

I was part of the MCS RIF in 2003. What people are saying is quite on the mark and exactly the way it went down then, but it was much quieter than this. Even if you have lower utilization but are contributing in other ways (working with Redmond, speaking at conferences, help sales calls, etc.), services does not care. It's a shame. Lots of good people were lost in 2003, and I'm sure a lot of people doing the real work at MS will go this time, too.

I feel for you guys right now. Been there, done that, am much happier now. There is life after MS.

Anonymous said...

Woe to you, woe to you! Sorry MSFT folks, but you had to have known this was coming. Seriously. I left MSFT a few years back and it was a nasty bloated beast even then - I know it's far worse now. I agree 100% that the cuts should already have been in progress for the last 5 years, but no - the ineffective and head-in-ass management have screwed you all with their failure to foresee this need. Shame on them!

I feel for you all, the nasty paranoid churn that must be taking place today is so unhealthy. I pray that those of you who do get laid off will find work ASAP.

Anonymous said...

Well, the bottom 10% is starting to get cut (Thank God). A guy in my group in MCS that has always seemed unavailable or just milking the company just got let go. Let this trend continue.

Anonymous said...

Managers seem to have gotten wise to the visibility of their calendars. Mine has his free/busy info turned off, which wasn't the case a few days ago.

Anonymous said...

In Germany, MS released a press statement ... sales & marketing will remain unaffected, but in support a two-digit layoff

Anonymous said...

I am an APEX member in MSIT, joined Microsoft in 2007. I have got a mail from my manager which says that he has saved my ass his time but if I still am on the top of list of employees to be laid off in next 18 months, so better I start working really smart. Can someone suggest me what to do now? Not much experience behind too, this is my first job in the industry and I am really scared!!

Anonymous said...

Managers seem to have gotten wise to the visibility of their calendars. Mine has his free/busy info turned off, which wasn't the case a few days ago.

People have been discussing their managers' calendars on this forum for a month. Why did it take them so long?

Anonymous said...

I was a local expert in sharepoint...

Well there's my first indication that the cuts are hitting the right areas. [Big Grin]

Anonymous said...

Cuts also in Italy. People involved are already aware of the decision. It will cost alot of money this operation here in Italy since the local legislation.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what happened at GFS?

GeekMBA360 said...

I'm very sorry about the layoffs. We, employees, must take care of ourselves.

I published a newsletter recently called "Depression 2.0 Survival Guide for High Tech Professionals" , which offer strategy, analysis, and tips on how to beat layoff, and survive recession. It's available at http://www.geekmba360.com/?page_id=412. Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

"I have got a mail from my manager which says that he has saved my ass his time but if I still am on the top of list of employees to be laid off in next 18 months, so better I start working really smart."

Wow what a lousy manager. Should have had a meeting with you to discuss your performance if it's an issue. This person needs some serious remedial management training.

Anonymous said...

"Be mindful about what you say and signing anything, particularly if you are in a protected class"

What do you mean by "protected class"?

Anonymous said...

European IT worker again (non-'softie). Do you have any programs in place at MS, that would help people cope with change? At my company we have internal coaching, mentoring and all sorts of support for employees in time of change and confusion. I sincerely hope MS has similar programs in place!

All the best, and good luck to all of you.

Anonymous said...

I left MS Sales & Marketing in November. We were hearing rumors of lay off in our division before I left. since I am over 50+, I have been thinking about MS lack of a pension plan.

I am so happy. The pace is fantastic and it is wonderful to bring what I learned in my 12 years at MS to a new organization. I am also more appreciated that I ever was at MS.

Don't fear the water! If you want or need to JUMP!

Anonymous said...

Ballmer, can't you get anything right?

Even brand new managers in my org know this is not the way layoffs should be done. You cut fast, and cut deep. Instead we're announcing "1,400" layoffs today, and are going to string the rest out over the next 18 months? Along with this, we're announcing "no raises" for the rest of you!

Do you know what this is going to do for morale for the next few years? It's going to de-motivate people. I'm not worried about the poor performers in my group who might step it up a notch; we still won't get much out of them anyway. I'm talking about the good performers, the ones that are going to evaluate all of this and adopt the attitude of "meh, why bother?" Why would they bust their ass with prospect of no raises, more budget cuts to compensation/bonuses, and the ever looming specter of being laid off by some HR guy upstairs with a spreadsheet? Frankly, if they're smart, they'll be looking for good jobs outside the company. I know I will be!

Also, what the hell were you doing a few months ago trying to blow $45 billion of our cash reserves on some lame has-been internet company? Thank god Jerry Yang has an even bigger ego than you do and torpedoed the deal.

I had high hopes that if layoffs were coming, at least being Microsoft we'd do them the right way, with class and with a clearly defined plan. I can see that even this is beyond the competence of you and your lieutenants. Ballmer, get your shit together! This is happening on your watch, and it’s obvious that you and your cronies are completely out of touch with the rank-and-file. Management is a skill you just don't have; it's time for some remedial training! Get it together!

Anonymous said...

"This is a bad day and was managed almost as poorly as could be scripted."

Agree, but the poor handling goes all the way back to last quarter. First with the overly optimistic forecast, despite the guidance reduction, that most didn't believe at the time. Then not jumping on the Intel warning during the quarter and using it to temper expectations. And finally with the failure to issue a pre-warning weeks ago despite having full knowledge that the company was going to badly miss guidance and consensus. Steve's "the fact that we're growing at all" falls flat given IBM's and Apple's result. And the "we acted quickly" is negated by analysts who are on record last quarter asking MS why they weren't being more defensive given the deteriorating economy. The truth is that management simply procrastinated until it was too late.

The stock is now at a new ten-year low, and with no forward guidance other than a decrease from last year, $15 or less is likely in the weeks ahead. The 5000 layoffs over 18 months doesn't make sense. It's too few to make a difference and the extended period would hurt morale. In all likelihood, the town meeting tomorrow will assure employees that this was just for Wall St. and that most of it will be taken care of by normal attrition. The street already sees through this sham.

The only question left is does Ballmer survive this? He's been second-guessed and criticized for most of his term, but until now the company by and large made their numbers and that kept him safe. This result ends that, and not just now but for the rest of the year and maybe even several years. This really feels like a crossroads for MS, one where the company can either change and prosper or not change and wither.

Anonymous said...

I hope they take into consideration the EU gouging more money from MS in this latest go round.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe this is the end of it all. I would predict that we will see more layoffs in the months to come - the first one always has the greatest impact and then onwards it will become a way of life at the company. Sad to see that this has happened but it's reality too.

Anonymous said...

From Bill Vegthe to WBG Full Time Personnel

(Bill is the SVP for the Windows Business)

'The biggest cost-reduction adjustment we are making is to refrain from filling most of our current open head count. Gating our open head count allows us to reduce the net size of our organization while minimizing impact to current employees.

In addition, after careful consideration, we have also decided that some positions in the WBG will be eliminated. Those directly affected by the U.S. job eliminations will be notified by their managers today'

Anonymous said...

USPG Safe

Anonymous said...

That's it, they have done it!
The 10%'ers are getting let go this Friday and they have broken the RIF out into 2 buckets:
- The good performers and the poor performers
>> If you are a poor performer, you will not have network access starting Friday!!!
>> If you are a strong performer, you have 60 days to find a new job within the company, after that you are on your own.

Anonymous said...

Only one question for SteveB:

"When is it your turn?" (to go).

honestly, his reign has been a: product, inspirational, co-operational, acquisitional, and share holder disaster.

Steve is super-smart, and i'm a big fan, but damn!

Anonymous said...

Re: "In Germany, MS released a press statement ... sales & marketing will remain unaffected, but in support a two-digit layoff"

Press statement is wrong. I know from reliable sources that dpa confused "supporting functions" (=overhead) with "support". No layoffs in customer support in Germany.

Anonymous said...

I left Microsoft early in 2007 for a company that is currently funded to grow its workforce at about 8%/month this year. If you did not lose your job today, it is worth looking for these opportunities. If you are good and your MSFT job is "safe," use the safety to look for better opportunities. If you are really good, they are out there.

My company is going to scour the spike we see in resumes, as I am sure a few treasures were thrown out with the dross.

I am sorry if this layoff touches any of my MSFT friends, but the smart people have been leaving for years. I wish everyone luck in this transition.

Isn't it time that Steve Ballmer decides to spend more time with his family? Can stockholders fire an entire board? I don't suppose they are TRYING to drive the stock low enough to take the company private.

Anonymous said...

To the Board: you are legally liable and I hope you get sued by shareholders

To Ballmer: have the decency to step down

To Liddell: you blew it big time. Admit it or leave.

To Robbie: hopefully you're in the 1400, you certainly deserve it.

Anonymous said...

What fresh hell is this?

Reality 1:1

1. When layoff's or rationalization occurs, it always results in those failing to be liked by their boss, exiting the premises. (Politics always Trumps performance)

2. When faced with uncertainty, the good resources will leave first by finding another job outside the organization or by being finger pointed out by politicians.

3. Combine 1 & 2 and you will arrive at the sum total of:'Every round of restructuring results in the organization losing valuable contributors; people that just get on with their job and don't blow smoke to get their boss to love them.

4. Result: the company will become an inverted pyramid of skilled politicians that feed of the hard work of a chosen few. Only chiefs no Indians

The future of the organization: Picture a Pig with all fat and no meat.

If Steve really wanted to make the organization work like it used to, he would lose the enormous layer of 'yes man' that sits between him and those people that actually are experts in their field and touch the customer.

Anonymous said...

"I am protected class by way of race and gender, and also possibly from a discrimination complaint I lodged against my manager last November."

Why is that relevant? If your role/team/group has cuts, how is that related to the fact that you are in a 'protected' class? Wow...

Anonymous said...

"Be mindful about what you say and signing anything, particularly if you are in a protected class"

What do you mean by "protected class"?

It's a specific term in employment law involving groups of people protected from discrimination. A search will tell you all about it.

Anonymous said...

This is the layoffs.

The rest is the normal Microsoft "good attrition" in an 18 month period.

Every company announcing layoffs plays the same game. They include "people we aren't going to hire" and "people who would have left anyway" in the total to make it look more impressive.

Anonymous said...

There are different schools of thought on how to motivate employees. Two of the easiest to describe are the carrot and the stick.

"The carrot" - If the company does well, you'll do well!

"The stick" - Beatings will continue until morale improves!

I think what we're seeing here is a concrete shift to the latter. In a company that relies heavily on intellectual property, this has a very predictable outcome.

Anonymous said...

I think the number will be larger than 1400, if you include Services, operations, and manufcaturing etc. and the 3600 will be larger.

Still well below th 15k rumored earlier

Anonymous said...

Isn't it time that Steve Ballmer decides to spend more time with his family? Can stockholders fire an entire board? I don't suppose they are TRYING to drive the stock low enough to take the company private.

Three words: The Hudsucker Proxy

Unfortunately, SteveB can't draw a circle!

Anonymous said...

Re: Protected class.


I am not an attorney.


The "Whistleblower" statutes may offer some protection for someone who has filed a discrimination claim. Retaliation is seen as very bad, but this isn't a blanket protection.


Discrimination legislation is very carefully written to not be discriminatory itself, it aims to offer equal protection. While 1400 (or 5000) is not many in a company the size of MS it is enough that it should reflect the same diversity (or lack thereof) as the general population of MS employees. If MS only layed off white male non-veterans under 40, that would also be grounds for a discrimination suit.


If you think that you are "protected class" or protected by "whistleblower status" and haven't consulted an attorney, do so before relying on this to save your ass.

Anonymous said...

I just listened to the earnings call and both Ballmer and Liddell stated that despite the 5K layoff, we still plan to hire 2K in search.

WTF are they thinking (or smoking)?

Anonymous said...

no blue-badge cuts in STB infrastructure marketing, field strategy or pricing and licensing

Anonymous said...

Steve B's Microsoft lurches from hiring binges, to firing purges, all the while with no real discernible way forward, and under the cloud more Wall St. mismanagement driving the stock lower and lower. Is it time for this tone def CEO to get a one way ticket out of town?

Anonymous said...

E&D

Revenue $3183
Income $151

That's a 4.7% contribution margin *before* accounting for shared overhead costs. In other words a $3 billion dollar break-even business. Is this an example of the future investments Steve is talking about?

Anonymous said...

What would the stock do if Ballmer resigned this week?

Jump up? Tank? Stay the same?

Anonymous said...

Advice for the layed-off (or staying up nights worrying about it) from someone who was labeled a poor performer and let go for questioning my boss's business practices and finally filing an ethics complaint:

Being RETAINED at MS is actually a worse thing to have on your resume than being let go. Being retained - especially if you make the point about being a great performer under Ballmer - raises all kinds of questions about what kind of worthless back-stabbing game-player you are.

Prospective employers know that the MS environment sucks and creates all kinds of horrendous employee behaviors. That's what you really have to worry about - so take the time to buy a dartboard (one with REAL darts) and put a cut-out of Ballmer's face on it, then take a deep breath and visualize what a good employment environment for you really should look like, how good managers behave and treat their employees ... and go find it, determinedly focusing on identifying the RIGHT behaviors and making the RIGHT assumptions about your prospective new employer.

Leave the attitude at home. (If directly questioned it is o.k. to sigh and go "you know, I'm kind of glad they layed me off because I was finding the environment didn't agree with me").

At least in the northwest, EVERYBODY knows what that means.

Best of luck. Not only is there life after MS, it's much better.

Anonymous said...

I am a male WASP. Is that a protected class?

Anonymous said...

"Isn't it time that Steve Ballmer decides to spend more time with his family? Can stockholders fire an entire board? I don't suppose they are TRYING to drive the stock low enough to take the company private."

yes, yes, and possible (although it assumes they can plan anything and then actually accomplish it).

Anonymous said...

Did you notice? The "HeadTrax" is unavailable till tomorrow (Jan 23). (If you didn't know, any FTE can use HeadTrax to track the number of FTEs/Contractors/Vendors in any team in Microsoft)

Anonymous said...

This is just the beginning. It's very evident how MS behaves when it's profit margin shrinks. So given the continuing economic slump, and shrinking profit margins, I would expect more layoff announcements in H1 FY10.

What a great situation to be. It is survival only for the fittest politicians.

Anonymous said...

"What fresh hell is this?"

Agreed, I think its already close to that. I have to keep balancing doing my work, which I love and moves the ball forward for MS, with the politics which moves my career forward. Honestly though, I don’t know what the alternative is. Isn't this a human social phenomenon? Something that happens when you put limited resources and humans in a room? I would love to know if there are alternatives, because while I am skilled with politics, it nauseates me.

Anonymous said...

Well I got the The Meeting this morning when I came in. I've been a dev here for 6 years and I'm in the mid-70% catagory and my managers and HR relation assured me that this was not related to my reviews.
I am just unlucky to be completely new in this team so I knew I was in a volatile position already. (After all - who do you cut when you have to? You cut where you think it will impact the least).

Well the package is decent - I'll essentially get full pay and benefits for ~6 months incl. the 60 days of internal job seeking.
I have high hopes for my future and consider this an oppportunity to try out something new. Yes there will be uncertainty ahead but I have a good resume...

So goodbuy MS - I liked working here and stayed on for 6 years - too bad it had to end now...

(p.s. No- I won't tell you which team I was in)

Anonymous said...

... Although this is unfortunate, and in large part due to the drunkness at the top, I still believe Microsoft is one of the best places to work for, even though my personal job is at risk.

For those 70%+ that are perofrming and have performed strongly, put in all that extra work, kudos, you invested in your future.

For the rest of us, some politics, others not, and some unfortunate group, every closed door brings a new one.

.. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying "just put up with it," if my job goes, the medication my wife and I need to take for serious issues costs thousands of dollars per month, and it will royally suck. Unemployment is around 2K max, and paying corb willbe about 1k, but that's going to be the cheapest route. I hope, and I think MSFT provides a good severance package.


Things will get better, in a couple of years MSFT and toehr companies will be doing mroe hiring, our skills will be sharper and hopefully all take more pay.

God Bless.

Anonymous said...

Ballmer, go home!!

Anonymous said...

Microsoft Corporation

17.59 -1.79 (-9.24%)

Apple Inc.

89.91 7.08 (8.55%)

C'mon people. You saw the respective earnings. You heard the respective guidance. You see the respective stock reaction. What more evidence do you need? MS is last decade's company with weak management.

Anonymous said...

I don't see the cuts happening as a slice across the 10%ers, or a gradual thinning here and there - we need to chop whole divisions that aren't performing, or dramatically prune job roles -- like the 100s of "marketing" people who produce no decent content and influence no customers or partners directly, instead living in XLS and PPT.

This isn't performance management. I see groups who are a total drain on resources, but they're always patting themselves on the back, shooting promotions and no doubt their upper management not wishing to topple their own house of cards by realizing/publicizing the fact that they're a collective waste of human blood.

Anonymous said...

Yes, politics are par for the course at any business. Especially one as large as this. Been there done that...that isn't going to change. I was hoping that the cuts would've been quick and deeper sending a signal to Wall Street that the company means business. Other tech companies seem to be managing with these tough times. I don't like the fact that more cuts coming down the road will cause even more stress for my spouse. It is enough stress in the best of times with stack rankings and such. Best of luck to everyone.

Anonymous said...

Those 5000 do not realize yet how lucky they are. I've spent in MS 7 years and left when Balmer started killing the company. Yes we all remember towels.

I can tell you one thing: life is beautiful outside Microsoft. More money, more opportunities, better people and much better environment. Thus screw rankings, reviews, dumbest middle management on the planet and all their car dealership management strategies. Isn't it a time to leave anyway?

Anonymous said...

Despite no merit this year, there is still budget for promotions.

Anonymous said...

I worked for Microsoft for 18 years and left after Windows Me shipped because I couldn't bear the thought of that kind of bullshit anymore. In the ensuing years, I've watched things get much worse, as far as I can tell.

Bottom line: SteveB needs to go. He is not getting the job done. His leadership has led nowhere.

Anonymous said...

Wonder if the poor results will temper that idiot Kevin "just feed me corn dogs and McD's" Turner who issued a statement a couple months ago that we would "choose not to participate" in the downturn.

Well choose it or not, weasel-boy, our customers are choosing not to spend as much money with us as we thought. This is the thin end - we see revenues coming in that were scheduled anything up to three years ago. Hardly anyone is starting new annuity agreements now, and we're likely to see a revenue *drop* in Q3.

Anonymous said...

I am simply AMAZED at how stupid this company has become. Our management could not possibly f*ck this up any worse...or could they?

Anonymous said...

Im an Ex-softie from MCS. Left 2 years ago.

Services is a step-child to MSFT. Utilization numbers is utter bullshit and you get raises based on if they "like" you or not. So much for talent.

To the people let go from MCS...

Your skills are valuable, you can make more money and focus on the non-technical aspects ( speaking, customer relationships, etc )

Go with a vendor, partner, or smaller tech-firm as they are the ones who usually do the real work anyways. You will also get more creative freedom.

Obviously with the market in the state its in, it will be a bit harder but opportunities are out there.

Anonymous said...

Many of you want Ballmer to go! What's about ideas who can rule da MS instead of Steve?

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