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11.15.08

Microsoft Layoffs Actually Began Years Ago, More Likely to Come

Posted in Finance, Microsoft at 4:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Far from invincible

AN exceptional number of people have searched the Web for “Microsoft layoffs” and arrived here this month, so we decided to share more information, some of which is historical. It’s likely that Microsoft employees are concerned knowing that their company is nearing debt, so they google for answers (yes, Microsoft employees favour Google).

There is no lack of substance to these speculation and rumours. It was less than a month ago that this post, for instance, cropped up.

Major Layoffs Coming; Microsoft Layoffs?

There are rumors swirling around many cities that major layoffs are coming. A few friends in the Seattle area have told me that there are rampant rumors about an impending Microsoft layoff. Would not surprise me at all. While we do not have any verifiable facts on whether Microsoft is really going to layoff or not, it still gives us some information. It shows just how nervous the consumer aka the worker is about the economy and their job.

As some obligatory background, Microsoft does not necessarily lie, but it shrewdly avoids saying the truth. It’s being systematically selective. Looking at the Microsoft evangelism [PDF] leaked documents (court exhibits), you find on page 125:

“Channel of Information”
“On-line Forums”

[1] “Monitor the relevant Usenet groups at all times”
[2] “Write well”
[3] “Be exceedingly formal and polite”
[3a] “- It is very easy to give offense”
[3b] “- Always assume that you are wrong; ask others to explain it to you”
[3c] “- Developers are impressed by clear, precise, polite communication”
[4] “Don’t sound like a prig”

The slide on page 45 says:

“/Mopping up/. During the mopping-up phase, ensure that the
enemy technology is routed. Use the press, the Internet, etc. to
heighten the impression that the enemy is desperate, demoralized,
defeated, deceased.”

The text in page 55 reads:

“/11: Mopping up/”

“Mopping Up can be a lot of fun. In the Mopping Up phase,
Evangelism’s goal is to put the final nail into the competing
technology’s coffin, and bury it in the burning depths of the
earth. Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes
associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa
Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2.” Just keep rubbing it in, via
the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. make the complete
failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of
the computer industry. We want to place selection pressure on
the companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for
competitor’s technologies, to make the industry increasingly
resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time.”

Most importantly, the slide on page 43 talks about truths and lies:

“All is not Fair”

“o We are under close scrutiny”
” – Any unethical acts WILL BE uncovered”
“o Besides – we’re the good guys!”
“o Simple rule to live by: _Never Lie_”
” – Tell the truth, and nothing but the truth”
” – Be selective in which truths you emphasize”
” – Let the competition fill in the gaps”

“Let the competition fill in the gaps,” eh? Let’s do.

These are Microsoft’s inner tactics in a nutshell. There is a lot more in those documents, some of which we covered before [1, 2].

Meanwhile, for those who do not keep track of the market, Microsoft (MSFT) sank to just $20 last night, having fallen below $19 earlier in the week despite the massive buybacks.

As reported by the Seattle P-I, Microsoft fell to a 10-year low and it tried everything is could to avoid it.

Microsoft stock hit a 10-year low this morning after an analyst at Jefferies Group cut her forecasts for the company, citing “downward pressure on PC unit sales.”

Todd Bishop wrote about this too.

Microsoft has already cut its forecasts for the current fiscal year, warning that economic uncertainty could hurt demand for its products.

Returning to the principal rationale of this post, some time ago we wrote about layoffs. Microsoft’s layoffs did not begin in 2008. Back in 2006, Mary Jo Foley seems to be the one who broke the news and later had it confirmed.

Todd Bishop covered this too.

Microsoft hits delay, layoffs, loss all in one day

In a series of sudden twists, Microsoft Corp. on Thursday delayed the upcoming version of its widely used Office programs, lost a key product evangelist to Google and cut 148 jobs from its United States sales force.

[...]

In a separate development, Microsoft said Thursday that it’s cutting a net total of 148 positions from its U.S. sales operations, in one of the company’s larger job reductions on record.

A Microsoft employee, mini-microsoft, wrote about it this around the same time (he also wrote about this type of stuff in 2004: Microsoft Layoffs, Hiring, and Offshoring).

Additionally, confer “Redmond Heading to Red? Microsoft Announces Layoffs and Delays.”

Given the the company’s breathtaking 1998 loss, everything seems possible. They seem to be playing the sorts of schemes that make the global economies collapse at the moment.

There were also problems in 2003: “Microsoft forces layoffs on Xbox division in Japan.”

From 20002 also:

Microsoft Has Layoffs In Itv Unit”

Microsoft announced last week that it would lay off about 60 people in an attempt to jump-start its stalled ITV unit. Ed Graczyk, director of marketing at Microsoft TV, said the Redmond, Wash.-based colossus would now focus on delivering software for VOD services and for new “media center” devices, which offer a number of applications, including DVD playback and music storage.

In conclusion, Microsoft layoffs are not something new. The company is just being quite discreet about it. This post hopefully sheds some light on the truth. Case closed yet?

Closed

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7 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    November 15, 2008 at 5:08 am

    Gravatar

    Look up ‘permatemps’ and the mulititude of lawsuits around them. Part of the deal was that M$ executives wanted to get out of paying benefits to their microserfs. The other was that SEC requirements for reporting layoffs of temp workers is different than for permanent staff. It’s all about gaming the system.

    These people fleeing employment at M$ are toxic waste for the IT sector, twice. First is that the corporate culture there appears neither productive nor creative nor positive. Those acclimated to such a culture will bring that, and the scent of failure with desperation, to their new jobs. Second, they know jackshit about technology and will instead masquerade as being knowledgable all the while doing nothing but acting as embedded sales teams for their former employer in Redmond.

    Let ‘em do a few years at McDonalds or emptying bedpans. Then after they’ve cleared their debt to society and have a few years of positive contributions, then consider them for higher end jobs.

  2. Michele said,

    November 15, 2008 at 8:51 am

    Gravatar

    Sounds like a good time for some job sites -

    http://www.linkedin.com (professional networking)
    http://www.indeed.com (aggregated listings)
    http://www.realmatch.com (matches jobs based on your skills)

    Good look to those looking for work!

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 15, 2008 at 9:34 am

    Gravatar

    Someone from India told USENET that Microsoft is firing in the online division, but I see no press coverage which confirms this.

    A reader just told me by E-mail: “MSFT seems to have been using many methods to hide layoffs, including hiring permatemps. Also, perhaps these round of layoffs have to do with the squawking Bill was making lately about “saving” MS with outsourcing.”

  4. bigd8a said,

    November 17, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Gravatar

    I think it’s interesting that a thead about whether Microsoft is laying off people has so much content focused on Microsoft’s sales practices being unethical. Of course, as a reader I have to question the integrity of the source. I mean couldn’t you at least get the NASDAQ Symbol correct?
    “Meanwhile, for those who do not keep track of the market, Microsoft (MDFT) sank to just $20 last night.” It’s MSFT for those who want to research the stability of Microsoft’s stock over the past decade.

    Every one is being hit hard and people are concerned about their jobs. If you want to create a post that provides meaningful information, try sticking to the topic. I think the problem here is that there isn’t any evidence of layoffs at Microsoft and lack of material is back filled with garbage.

    Big D8a

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 18, 2008 at 3:58 am

    Gravatar

    bigd8a,

    That was just a typo. Corrected now.

  6. C-note said,

    November 26, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Gravatar

    Step 1: RIFs at the Microsoft Subsidiaries:

    http://www.techflash.com/microsoft/Microsofts_Razorfish_online_ad_agency_cuts_NY_staff33609649.html
    http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2008/11/25/microsoft-cuts-staff-at-fast-search-division/

    Step 2: purge the mother ship

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 26, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Gravatar

    Thank you for that second pointer.

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