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Microsoft Businesses

Massive Job Cuts Are Reportedly Coming For Microsoft Employees 300

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the hope-you-don't-work-at-nokia dept.
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes with news that Microsoft is reportedly planning a major staff reduction that would top Steve Ballmer's record 5,800-head layoff in 2009. From the article: The reductions — which may be unveiled as soon as this week — will probably be in areas such as Nokia and divisions of Microsoft that overlap with that business, as well as marketing and engineering, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public.
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Massive Job Cuts Are Reportedly Coming For Microsoft Employees

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  • by Virtucon (127420) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @09:26AM (#47456255)

    Domination in the desktop eroding. Products not making a big splash in the market. Shareholders restless and right after an announcement by the new CEO about agility and business realignment. All of these things add up to reductions in force in areas where they're not profitable. It'll be interesting to see if the cuts will be across the board.

    • by lord_mike (567148) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @09:29AM (#47456295)

      And yet, they are still making gobs of money. In fact, they are more profitable than ever. Moves like this don't really help anything.. not even the bottom line, since the massive cuts crush morale and limit the ability of the company to innovate to keep ahead of the competition.

      • by Virtucon (127420) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @09:40AM (#47456415)

        Yeah it doesn't make sense but the TFA says the Nokia handset folks but I'd have to think about the memo with the buzzword generator on at 11 it'll be across the board to wake up the troops. Sure, it'll crush morale and it'll negatively effect the processes that are in place but unfortunately it seems more and more that CEOs want to cut themselves to eek out as much profit as possible. Forget new products, innovation is something they'll buy and integrate.

        • It's probably going to weigh particularly heavily on the ex-Nokia staff. Partly on the last in first out principle. But mostly because it seems the new CEO has accepted they aren't going to succeed in mobile devices.

          Embrace, extend, extinguish. It's been a bad way to die for Nokia mobile division.

          • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @09:53AM (#47456567) Journal

            To be honest, this is Nokia's own doing. Hiring MS drone to take down the enterprise was pretty stupid. It was the least expensive option they had. It would have been better to pick one of the three lanes they had, and stuck with it. They went a fifth lane when that wasn't really a good option (fourth lane being Android). Even Microsoft is realizing that Windows Mobile / Phone / Whatever is not going to win in the market.

            The result is typical short sighted vision of CxOs. But, I bet it looked good on paper, and instead of listening to the asshole who is usually right, they listened to the nice guy who lies.

        • by rickb928 (945187) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @10:25AM (#47456889) Homepage Journal

          FWIW...

          I work for a S&P 500 financial corporation. I've been here through multiple major layoffs, one a 10% global layoff, the other a 20% global layoff. One in response to the unpleasantness in 2008-9, the other in response to business decisions to refocus and drive growth by investing in new markets and new products, necessitating divesting and letting a lot of good people go that simply did not do what was needed at the time.

          It's a familiar and trite complaint that layoffs serve the C-level exclusively, but I can easily see Microsoft choosing to remove distractions, reduce current expenses, and even take the opportunity to shake the tree and rid itself of (real or imagined) low-hanging underperformers.

          IBM did this repeatedly, and is still doing it, as large corporations regularly have to sift their work force and reset priorities, UNLESS they are consistently evaluating their strategies, have truly strategic planning that looks beyond the horizon, and work from a position of true knowledge of their business and performance. Microsoft is regularly accused of failed strategy and poor performance. And they can certainly be accused of being too big to be well managed, especially in the eyes of the minions who live with the decisions.

          Microsoft's market(s) is(are) difficult places to predict performance. Intangibles rule in that space, and failure is the norm. Success if fleeting. Windows is Microsoft's bedrock, so as the marketplace starts to embrace nontraditional devices that need not use Windows, Microsoft should be looking beyond traditional and on to emerging opportunities. Can they move quickly enough to outflank competitors? Google is huge, but acts like a startup on specific projects. From my viewpoint, Kinect is the last Microsoft project that could be described as nimble. There are some interesting things they show off, but none yet ready for a product. Surface is just not floating anyone's boat yet. Nokia was dead on arrival, so losing that is admitting they could not resuscitate it with Windows Phone, the poster child for losing the traditional to the nontraditional. Ask me some time about my new set top box, running Microsoft Mediaroom, and closed captioning. At least Microsoft left this in marginally perfect state, but another idea they had to abandon.

          Harrison's Postulate confirmed. Enjoy.

          • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @11:08AM (#47457269)

            IBM did this repeatedly, and is still doing it, as large corporations regularly have to sift their work force and reset priorities, UNLESS they are consistently evaluating their strategies, have truly strategic planning that looks beyond the horizon, and work from a position of true knowledge of their business and performance. Microsoft is regularly accused of failed strategy and poor performance. And they can certainly be accused of being too big to be well managed, especially in the eyes of the minions who live with the decisions.

            In the early '90s, when IBM nearly burned down, fell over, and sank into the swamp, Lou Gerstner came in as a new CEO, and also oversaw massive layoffs, which helped it get back on track. However, a lot of people he let go were top executives, who were "yes men" to the old CEO, John Akers.

            It would do Microsoft a world of good if it got rid of their Ballmer retinue who are still holding key positions in Microsoft. Just letting go a bunch of minions is not going to cut at the root of the problems at Microsoft.

          • by Virtucon (127420) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @11:30AM (#47457511)

            I agree with almost everything there however MSFT's core is Office/Exchange, Windows is a vehicle to get you to Office. If Office were really on Linux I think you'd see Windows practically disappear. I don't think they can move quickly enough but they're not going away anytime soon. IBM on the other hand will be out of business or a frail shell of its former self. The C-Level at IBM are idiots and it's being proven with bad market strategies and eroding margins. Cutting yourself to prosperity doesn't work. Pruning poor / nonperforming units can make sense but at some point you have to ask "Are we cutting our nose off to spite our face?"

            • by dimeglio (456244)

              If Office were really on Linux I think you'd see Windows practically disappear.

              Perhaps you're being a little too optimistic here.

            • While I agree with you that Office/Exchange should be seen as the core, up until recently Windows has been treated as the core. Office sells well on MacOSX, but until recently we saw no plans to make it available on iOS or Android. Instead, it was supposed to be a selling point for Windows tablets, and it's pretty clear how that turned out. Microsoft would have made much more money on iOS/Android Office than they did trying to sell tablets.

      • If the Nokia division is losing money, then they should close that division especially since it seems there is a lot of overlap in that division. Just because they are doing well now does not mean they should become complacent.
      • And yet, they are still making gobs of money. In fact, they are more profitable than ever.

        Irrelevant. Companies don't keep employees because they are affordable, but because they are profitable. If an employee is not adding net value, it is better for both Microsoft and the overall economy for that person to be employed elsewhere.

        Moves like this don't really help anything.. not even the bottom line

        Actually, Microsoft's best path to maximize shareholder returns is likely to significantly cut their workforce. Their profitable products are mature. New tablet and phone products are unlikely to succeed. So they should just milk the profits and pay dividends.

        • by Casualposter (572489) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @10:31AM (#47456939) Journal

          "Irrelevant. Companies don't keep employees because they are affordable, but because they are profitable. If an employee is not adding net value, it is better for both Microsoft and the overall economy for that person to be employed elsewhere."

          Not quite true. Profitable companies reduce work force to compensate the CEO and the company elite, while spinning the upcoming company death spiral as good for the stock price because costs are reduced. Reducing the work force won't improve moral, change the culture, create new products, or improve the long term prospects of the company. Anyone in the workforce who can leave will leave. What it will do is boost the stock price long enough for the current company elite to sell their stock at inflated prices and justify the ginormous bonuses they will get right before the plunge into financial crises - at which time they will pull the golden parachute and land in some other cash rich company.

          • by fuzznutz (789413)
            Right on the nose.

            This is what happens:

            1) Company lays off employee "dead wood"
            2) Morale among remaining employees sinks
            3) Good employees bail out before things go too far to shit
            4) Employees near retirement keep heads low and ride it out
            5) Remaining shitty employees stay because they can't go
            6) Company loses competitiveness and innovation
            7) Company flounders
            8) Company is bought out by smaller more efficient company.
      • by gstoddart (321705)

        And yet, they are still making gobs of money. In fact, they are more profitable than ever.

        That doesn't mean that all business units are profitable, or profitable enough.

        since the massive cuts crush morale

        Despite lip service to the contrary, I've never actually seen a corporation which really gave a damn about morale. Because they all seem to go out of their way to do it.

        It's all executives bonuses, and cutting back on perks.

      • by DickBreath (207180) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @11:08AM (#47457273) Homepage
        > And yet, they are still making gobs of money. In fact, they are more profitable than ever.

        I remember in the late 1970's when IBM people were laughing at these 'toy' microcomputers. HA HA! Those toys will never be like real computers. Certainly not a threat to IBM which is making gobs of money. In fact, IBM is more profitable than ever.

        IBM introduced a PC in 1981. Thinking they might sell up to two million. By the mid 1990's IBM had lost the PC market, abandoned the PS/2 attempt to re-monopolize it, and eventually got out of the PC business completely. Before the end of the 1990's IBM had re-invented itself. Think the same thing won't happen to Microsoft? You may be too young to remember, but in the 1980's, even by the late 1980's it was completely laughable to even consider that IBM might find itself on hard times. But it happened. And just a few years ago it was laughable to suggest that Microsoft might lose its industry dominance. Not so much laughable anymore.


        > Moves like this don't really help anything.. not even the bottom line, since the massive cuts crush morale and limit the ability of the company to innovate to keep ahead of the competition.

        Moves far more radical than this may be the only way Microsoft stays around in the long term. We'll see what Microsoft looks like in a decade.
    • Eroding? Hah.

      The number of offices (of any kind) that I've seen running non-Microsoft software on end-user systems can be counted on one hand. Offices -- which is to say, businesses -- are what counts. They don't just get software that comes with the computer. They pay for upgrades ("maintenance") and technical support. They pay for their actual usage, because they agree to be audited for license compliance as part of the deal. I don't remember the last office I saw that WASN'T an academic institution that

  • Microsoft has collected too many employees. They absorb them into a corporate culture of ineffectuality, ensuring that they will perform below expectations.

    Pity that corporations like this always seem to want to lay everyone off at once, though. Why can't they do it gradually?

    • Re:Good (Score:4, Informative)

      by BasilBrush (643681) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @09:40AM (#47456421)

      Pity that corporations like this always seem to want to lay everyone off at once, though. Why can't they do it gradually?

      Sometimes they do, through a process of natural wastage. Trouble is that it means that you put a block on hires, meaning that skills gaps can't be filled. And often your best people leave, whilst the dead wood clings on.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Sometimes they do, through a process of natural wastage.

        Yeah well, what about something in between? Fire people in order of how badly they need to be fired, for example. You might just find yourself only firing a subset of those you planned to eliminate before things get back on track.

        • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

          by BasilBrush (643681) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @09:48AM (#47456513)

          Fire people in order of how badly they need to be fired, for example.

          Over an extended period of time? That's the worst thing you can do for morale. For sure fire the worst people, but you have to do it quickly and get it over with. Otherwise the rest feel that they have the sword of damocles continually hanging over them.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            Otherwise the rest feel that they have the sword of damocles continually hanging over them.

            Only if you keep it a big secret why the people were fired. If they were fired for an actual business reason, that reason should not need to be kept a secret. Meanwhile, not firing those people promptly, and keeping them around to cause problems shows other people that they don't have to work to get paid. Isn't that bad for morale, at least, of your most useful and productive people? I'd think it would be better for them to see the dead weight cut away.

            • Meanwhile, not firing those people promptly, and keeping them around to cause problems shows other people that they don't have to work to get paid.

              Which is another reason why you do it fast, not slow.

              • by drinkypoo (153816)

                Which is another reason why you do it fast, not slow.

                But no, that's not what is happening. Those people are ignored for years in most cases, then fired all at once much later. That's slow.

            • by sjbe (173966) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @10:52AM (#47457121)

              Only if you keep it a big secret why the people were fired.

              Explaining why someone was let go is a great way to get yourself sued if you aren't super careful. Particularly if the person terminated is a member of a protected group like a minority. Terminating employees is (almost) never good for morale but if you have to let a lot of them go then you want to do it all at once, explain in general terms the business reason why but no specifics about a particular person and explain why you will not have to let anyone else go after this. I've seen first hand what happens to companies that try the slow band-aid removal method and the results are not pretty.

              If they were fired for an actual business reason, that reason should not need to be kept a secret.

              The reasons usually aren't a secret (office gossip might be the only thing that travels faster than light) but unless it is something like "we are getting out of this line of business" you have to be VERY careful about what you say. Any competent HR pro will tell you that terminating employees can be something of a legal minefield if you don't do it right. This includes employees that were terminated For Cause. Some of this caution is unfortunately absurd but it is equally necessary.

        • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

          by afidel (530433) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @09:57AM (#47456591)

          Yeah well, what about something in between? Fire people in order of how badly they need to be fired,

          That's what Cisco does, they do regular bottom 5% cuts where those who are ranked in the bottom 5% on their performance reviews are let go. Groups that are performing well and are full of talented people are sometimes allowed to take their 5% from open positions, but only with the approval of an SVP or above. (at least this was the practice when I was there in the early 2000's)

      • It is called "The Dead Sea Effect"
      • I worked for a giant company that merged with another giant company. A merger of companies who could not compete in the market, so they merged thinking that this would be better. The division employing me was spun off into it's own mutlibillion dollar company. After consultation with the geniuses at Arthur Anderson (remember them from the Enron disaster?), they made some pretty shitty moves mostly to reduce work force, and not hire anyone else. Everyone in the work force saw this as the slow death of th

    • Because they are publicly traded, and that makes their HR policies extremely stupid.

      Layoffs raise the stock price. Most stock holders are short term, so buy low, sell high. Layoffs mean the company is at its low, and with less expenses it may shortly make more, so in the next year you can sell the stock and make money.

      Even though you loose a lot of talent, which will go their competitors.
      When the company grows again you will then need to hire and retrain new people back. Costing on the average 150% more

      • Layoffs raise the stock price.

        Sometimes, sometimes not. The effect of layoffs on stock price is not causal. You can easily find cases where the stock price drops when layoffs are announced when investors take it as a signal of deteriorating strategic position.

        Most stock holders are short term, so buy low, sell high.

        Depends on what you consider short term. Average length of share holding is somewhere between 6 months and a year [topforeignstocks.com] depending on the exchange and considerably less frequent for privately held companies. Bearing in mind that this is heavily skewed by high frequency traders you can

    • Pity that corporations like this always seem to want to lay everyone off at once, though. Why can't they do it gradually?

      Because doing it gradually is a Really Bad Idea (TM). If you have to let people go you need to be able to tell the staff that is left that their jobs are safe and mean it. Otherwise morale goes in the toilet with people constantly wondering if they are next on the chopping block. I can show you tons of case studies where companies did layoffs a few at a time and the result was a staff that never was sure they'd have a job tomorrow and performance suffered accordingly. People start brushing up their resu

  • of course (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @09:26AM (#47456261)

    They have to pay for microsoft licenses for each employee. Of course they are going bust.

    • Re:of course (Score:4, Interesting)

      by afidel (530433) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @10:15AM (#47456785)

      I know you were going for funny, but the reality is Microsoft licensing just isn't that expensive. We've got the full ecal suite plus service center for all servers, SQL, Exchange, etc and MS licensing is well under 3% of our annual IT budget. Salesforce, our document management system, our Oracle maintenance, our cellphone bill, our copier bill, and especially personnel are larger costs.

      • Re:of course (Score:5, Informative)

        by EXTomar (78739) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @11:58AM (#47457733)

        I don't doubt that if you are a large company the licensing fees are very reasonable but for a small scale company that has to make purchases ad-hoc, MS Licensing is a struggle and costs a lot. I have been at multiple smaller companies with an ops budget so tight, development could not afford to buy more cals of Windows Server let alone the multiple you need because of the (artificial) configuration requirements. This requires the annoying situation where you setup multiple machines but do not activate them that will ultimately lock up when time expires requiring a full wipe and install.

        This "small scale side" of the market been Microsoft's weakness for awhile and where Linux shines. Maybe there is a program or small scale license level that allows for these but they don't advertise it well enough for me to know let alone a scrounging CEO acting like a CTO.

  • ...when you are using linux.

    • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @09:28AM (#47456285) Homepage Journal

      Watch your mouth. Broken microsoft products account for massive amount of I.T. payrolls world wide!

  • Dropping the Xbox? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @09:27AM (#47456281)

    I know when Ballmer resigned as CEO, there were members of Microsoft's board calling for them to drop the Xbox division entirely because it wasn't profitable enough. The article mentions that people on the marketing teams for the Xbox are among those being cut, and I'm wondering if this isn't MS taking the first steps to selling off the Xbox division to someone else.

    • by lord_mike (567148) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @09:32AM (#47456335)

      So they get rid of their most successful consumer product.... the thing that puts the word "Microsoft" in people's houses? That makes sense--typical MBA driven, stupid, short sighted decision that would be so Microsoft. I'd love for Google to buy Xbox. They would do some pretty cool things with that. Microsoft would never sell to them. Samsung, maybe? They'd love to get a bigger piece of the living room, and they might do some cool things with it!

      • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @09:54AM (#47456573) Homepage

        So they get rid of their most successful consumer product....

        "Successful" in that it sold a lot of units. Maybe not so successful in terms of profits. I don't know what the current state of the balance sheet is, but as of a couple of years ago, the entire XBox line was still in the red. To begin with, they sell the hardware as a loss-leader. Plus they spent a bunch of extra money on the first generation to break into the market, so they were expecting the XBox360 to be successful enough to pay for those losses. Then the XBox360 was riddled with hardware failures, so Microsoft lost a ton of money on replacements. At one point, I remember it was estimated that almost 50% of all XBox360 units had manufacturing defects requiring the units be replaced.

        I don't remember exactly. Everything I've written above is pulled out of my fuzzy memory. The point is, the XBox was hardly the enormous success you might be imagining.

        • by lord_mike (567148) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @10:02AM (#47456643)

          They got the word Microsoft into millions of home and unlike with their home PC, made it into a positive experience. Any money that might have been lost was made up for by the marketing gains. When people think XBox, they think Microsoft and successful product--two words that don't usually go together. That's worth any price Microsoft may have paid for the experience. Considering how much Xbox charges you for everything and everything, it certainly takes an extraordinary level of incompetence to lose money on something like that.

          • by gorzek (647352)

            Unless MS can turn marketshare into money, it's worthless. So, MS has put Xboxes into millions of homes, and they have... oh, wait, no profit to show for it.

            The Xbox division isn't some new thing. MS has been at this for over a decade, and what they have to show for it are incredibly tepid returns. This, after sinking gobs of money into it.

            Might be a different story if MS hadn't completely bungled the Xbox One push, but they did, and it's unlikely to recover. Sony's got this gen locked up, so why should MS

          • They got the word Microsoft into millions of home and unlike with their home PC, made it into a positive experience. Any money that might have been lost was made up for by the marketing gains. When people think XBox, they think Microsoft and successful product--two words that don't usually go together. That's worth any price Microsoft may have paid for the experience. Considering how much Xbox charges you for everything and everything, it certainly takes an extraordinary level of incompetence to lose money on something like that.

            Marketing gains? Where? Windows and Office are already the de-facto standard. MS struggles in areas where they don't enjoy the benefits of being the standard; or as economist should say enjoy network externalities. The Xbox isn't going to make people decide to run out and buy a new copy of Windows or Office. "Gee. I really loved playing SuperMegaBlast. Maybe the new Windows will be as fun. Maybe I should get Office365 while I am at it." isn't a response to the Xbox. So unless it makes enough profit to justi

      • by kilodelta (843627)
        Ha - buy a Ford vehicle. That Sync - it's a Microsoft product too. Which explains a hell of a lot.
      • What would google want with XBox?

        • by lord_mike (567148)

          A lot. What better way to sell advertising than to totally integrate with the TV experience and sell some stuff, too. The Xbox's capabilities would dovetail nicely with Google's vision, and they'd make it a lot cheaper, too. Imagine advertising supported games, so you don't have to shell out $60 every time? Google owning Xbox would be a dream come true for them.

        • An Xbox is just one firmware update from being an Android TV box.

      • You don't need consumer products to be successful, relevant, or profitable. Nor does one need business products for those results. Just look at Apple, which has transformed itself from a "computer company" to a "consumer products company," with its emphasis on phones, tablets and residual income from providing the infrastructure for delivering music and applications *created by others*.

        Oracle continues to be quite profitable (and hated, I guess) while having nearly zero visible presence among consumers. Bu

        • by lord_mike (567148)

          Microsoft could become a business only company... that would put a dent in their "Surface" vision, of course. But, they have nothing to lose with Xbox keeping them relevant in the consumer space. Why throw it out? It would be such a waste!

          • by darylb (10898)

            I don't myself think Xbox should be tossed. However, if it doesn't align with the internal vision and direction, then it can be jettisoned. Microsoft is not Nintendo.

            Tablets have a tremendous business future. The offices of my family's doctors are full of them. The delivery drivers for a local Chinese restaurant use them. I can imagine these tablets being deployed all kinds of places, replacing these hacked up Palm things currently in use. That such tablets running Windows 8.1, especially on Intel hardware,

      • by SpzToid (869795)

        Lenovo, Asus, or Acer might pick it up if Samsung takes a pass. Think about all those Asian gamers and their hardware requirements. But I agree with you regarding Google, and then somehow it'll become more developer friendly too.

        Because if Google feels it worthwhile to publish a smartphone-api/cardboard-cutout-kit/virtual-reality-display [slashdot.org], they could probably manage XBox too.

  • Not Surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @09:31AM (#47456323)

    Not surprising at all. When a company buys another company, there's going to be a lot of jobs that are duplicated with the efforts of the buyer. Sure, there's an increased workload but nowhere near enough to justify continuing to pay people when you already have people able to do the job. And, when you have two people able to do one job, one of whom works for you and one of whom works for that other company that you just bought, the vast majority of time it's the outside who is let go. Sad reality of consolidation of companies but it isn't surprising at all.

    In other words, if your company is ever bought out, you need to ask yourself if there's already someone at the buyer who's able to do your job. If the answer is "yes", you need to start polishing off your resume and getting in touch with head hunters because there's a high likelihood of you being out of work soon.

    • by jsepeta (412566)

      Not surprising at all. When a company takes on a new CEO he looks to get some easy wins quickly, and cutting employees makes the company seem "lean and mean." In the case of Satya, we may not expect him to lay off the employees who stood in the way of his rise to power -- he doesn't seem tyrannical like Jobs or maniacal like his predecessor Ballmer. But if he ever wanted retribution, now is the time.

  • by iamacat (583406) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @09:38AM (#47456391)

    One has to be careful about demoralizing effect of these huge layoffs. Employees you most want to stay will perceive the company as a thinking ship and quit or start slacking off in disgust. A company like Microsoft has enough money in the bank to go through a slower and more transparent process. Offer everyone who is performing well a six month contract and a chance to find a permanent position in the meantime. Above all, explain to remaining employees exactly what is it that they gain for sticking around. Raises? Stock grants? New perks?

    • Re:Chain effect (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dpbsmith (263124) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @09:50AM (#47456529) Homepage

      Indeed. I worked in a Fortune 500 company--I arrived in the middle of a new CEO's "three-year turnaround plan," and shortly thereafter he was replaced by another CEO and shortly thereafter the company collapsed with stunning speed.

      One of the things that was interesting was seeing the effect of a layoff from inside. It isn't just morale, although since layoffs were done on the "night and fog" principle--they didn't post lists of those laid off--for about two days after each layoff, all worked stopped as everyone else in the company spent their time telephoning everyone they knew to see if they were OK.

      But there was also an immediate, precipitous problem with any kind of customer support or service. The air was full of overheard conversations. "Let me put you on hold. Uh, Marie, this customer wants to order a license for a vestibulator spracket. Who handles that?" "It used to be Bob, but he was laid off yesterday. Uh, Lewis, do you know?" "No idea, maybe his manager would know. Let me see, his manager was Kelly Sundstrom." "Oh, she's no longer with the company..."

      No joke. Customers wanted to buy stuff and couldn't. Customers with service contracts couldn't get gear fixed. The stock price went up because at that time Wall Street seemed to love layoffs, but there were, actually, reports in the IT press about customers being disgruntled at bad service, and Wall Street never seemed to connect THAT with the layoffs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        They still love big layoffs it happens all the time.

        It's a symptom of a seriously broken system.

        Business and the financial industry are now woven together in an incestuous mess and the net result is that the main business of business is not to make products or sell services, but to game and appease the financial services industry.

        Executive compensation is, effectively, not tied to making a better company. There is no incentive to do anything other than cheat.

        Massage some numbers, fire a few thousand workers

    • Oh, if we're going to joke about a typo... obviously iamacat worked at IBM. (Good age test). (Yes, they really truly actually had little signs that said simply "THINK.")

    • by gorzek (647352)

      I have seen precisely that happen, too. A company cuts the dead weight--and maybe some not-so-dead weight--and the people with marketable skills head for the hills because they don't want to be next. So the company may have meant to cut 10% but instead loses 15%, with much of that last 5% being their top performers. Pretty bad deal for the company, to be sure.

  • here. [slashdot.org]. Satya Nadella said that he would "reduce time it takes to get things done by having fewer people involved in each decision" and this poster translated it:

    "reduce time it takes to get things done by having fewer people involved in each decision = layoffs"

  • If mini microsft was one of the ones cut as he/she has been vocal about the need to cut "dead wood" as they see it
  • H1B (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Major Blud (789630) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @09:41AM (#47456433) Homepage

    How much you wanna bet that they continue to ask for H1B candidates after the next round of layoffs?

  • I wonder how this will affect Microsoft's stock price? If you cut a lot of heads you might lose some productivity and the quality of your product might drop. But it seems like everybody already hates what Microsoft is selling, but they have to buy it anyway. In that kind of situation, lowering their costs to expand their profit for no change in revenue doesn't seem like a bad idea. This is, of course, assuming those layoffs aren't coming out of key R&D departments (though the company is already seen as

    • by bobbied (2522392)

      I wonder how this will affect Microsoft's stock price?

      Like layoffs usually do. Short term the price will rise because profits will be up in the short term. Long term is anybodies guess.

      But, I'd be quick to point out that this "layoff" is NOT public information, as in it hasn't been announced by the company. Where it makes sense for them to do this, it could be somebody doing a pump and dump scheme with Microsoft stock. So, if you have some mad money in BitCoin that you wanted to take another chance with, feel free to buy Microsoft stock on this, just don

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @09:50AM (#47456535)

    it's about time that any one useing any h1b's must lay them off first.

  • Developers, developers, developers?

  • by hydrofix (1253498) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @10:08AM (#47456735)
    This is probably just about MS laying off all the useless middle management from ex-Nokia divisions. Nokia failed because they had practically unrestricrted growth of middle management at the expense of R&D. This diet is necessary. Under the original Finnish management Nokia had no balls to lay off anybody. Finland is unfortunately still largely a 1960s-style socialist market economy where layoffs mean labor union strikes and the emloyer being deemed socially irresponsible.
  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @10:11AM (#47456757)

    Isn't Microsoft a big proponent of the H1B program? This smells like them cleaning house of old expensive greybeards.

  • by CaptainDork (3678879) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @10:13AM (#47456777)

    ... stocks.

    They sell stocks. They cater to the shareholder and that's a money-grubbing bunch of folks.

    Look at Facebook. They are making decisions that are radical departures from their pre-IPO culture. It has to be.

    Facebook, too, sells stocks.

    Knowing that explains the business model and strategy of public corporations.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @10:17AM (#47456803)

    Once again the employees pay for managements mistakes. Everyone could see, clear as day, what Microsoft was doing wrong. Hell, it's still obvious, and anyone with an ounce of common sense could turn that company around. Instead they just keep firing off moonshot after moonshot hoping to rediscover the next product that will be as successful as Windows was. How many more billions are you going going to waste before you realize people aren't willing to pay for an OS anymore?!?! You still have a dominate position in the desktop OS market, use that to make "Reasonable" profits and be ok with that! If you continue with the belief that anything less than double digit growth is failure you'll be bankrupt before the end of the decade. Ever read that Tortoise and the hair story? Oh... nevermind.

  • Give Microsoft a break. How are they supposed to replace all those over-priced American employees with more H1Bs and recently amnestied illegals if they don't clear out the current liabilities first?
  • Windows 8 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xdor (1218206) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @10:36AM (#47456971)

    Blame Julie Larson-Green.

    She's responsible for this and the awful Office ribbon: perfect examples of graphic design stomping all over useability

    Why she's still around: I think this is a case of people being swayed by her personal "charisma" and not facing the fact that Windows 8 "metro" is a gimmicky circus act that literally gets in the way of using Windows. Just terrible!

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