Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft is Having Financial Problems

Debt and credit



THE TITLE may be a little deceiving because it does not refer directly to Microsoft's financial difficulties*, which are becoming more of a common knowledge. It's actually about indicators of Microsoft scrambling for cash that it may never receive or recover anyway because other people's coffers run dry(er).

In the following article from Gamasutra, Steve Ballmer is quoted as saying -- although not in these words -- that he is concerned about the impact of the meltdown. This follows some of the things he said last year about the company needing the bailout, which he personally lobbied for recently. They are in serious trouble and they are fully aware of it.

The company recently revealed declining profits in the fourth quarter of 2008, and announced a plan to cut 5,000 jobs as a result.


Another money-grabbing reflex from Microsoft is an attack against distributors whom it used to depend on (and maybe still does, especially now). Based on the news, those pursuits generally continue and they involve not only Microsoft software.

A 24-year-old Texas man has been sentenced to 41 months in prison for selling counterfeit software on about 40 Web sites, the U.S. Department of Justice said.


Overall, this works in favour of Free software.

Perhaps the best example of Microsoft's scramble for cash is this bunch of ludicrous moves:

Microsoft is trying to get severance money back from some employees it laid off last month.

In letters written to an unspecified number of laid off Microsoft workers, the company says that due to an administrative error the company paid them too much severance.

"... An inadvertent administrative error occurred that resulted in an overpayment in severance pay by Microsoft," the letter states. "We ask that you repay the overpayment and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience to you."


What was going through Microsoft's mind? Is it really expecting to see this cash? CNET calls it a "public relations blunder."

Microsoft says it made an accounting error when it laid off some employees last month and now feels the best way to correct the error is with what will likely add up to a public relations blunder.

The software giant, which recently laid off 1,400 employees, sent letters (see image below) this week to some of those former workers letting them know that their severance payouts were a bit too "generous" and respectfully requested that the former employees pay back that money, according to a report Saturday on TechCrunch.


This is also covered in:

  1. Microsoft wants severance pay back from some fired staff
  2. Oops: Microsoft Asks Some Laid Off Workers To Send Back Part Of Their Severance
  3. Microsoft Asks For a Refund From Laid-Off Workers


Interestingly, while Microsoft implements layoffs that are not sufficient in terms of their scale, the company continues to pursue cheaper labour.

Locally, Microsoft had more than 1,000 H-1B visas approved for 2008, the fifth-highest for any U.S. employer. Others, like the University of Washington, got approval for 104; Seattle Children's Home for one.

[...]

As unemployment spreads, immigration attorneys believe some big employers may be making fewer H-1B hires this year. Microsoft said last week that, in light of economic conditions, "we are constantly evaluating our appropriate staffing levels."


Bloomberg has a widely-cited report covering the issue as well.

As many as 5,000 employees are being shown the door at Microsoft, which uses more H1-B guest-worker visas than any other U.S. company. Some employees and politicians say Microsoft should get rid of foreigners first


This is a subject that we previously covered in:



Microsoft's wealth -- or lack thereof* -- set aside, people who run (or ran) the company have been stashing cash for quite some time and despite bankruptcies, their problems are few. Owing to the so-called 'stimulus', which is a euphemism for "public looting", people like Paul Allen will gain a lot more personal wealth so that their buying spree (things like huge boats) can carry on.

Billionaire Paul Allen is a Microsoft cofounder, the owner of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks and the owner of the NBA's Portland Trailblazers.

[...]

So what will Paul do with that money until 2014? Invest it in technology that reduces our dependence on foreign oil and creates new "green collar" jobs for America, per the goals of Obama's stimulus plan, of course.

Or Paul maybe can buy a new boat. He already owns two, here is one of them


This article contains a self-explanatory picture. There is a famous battle of egos there between Paul Allen of Larry Ellison (over who has the bigger yacht).

Personal wealth is never to be confused with commercial wealth of the companies owned by those people. A recommended multi-part show which comes to mind is titled "The Century of the Self" (video). It explores some issues that are close to the theme here in Boycott Novell. ____ * The company may already be in debt if not very near to it [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

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