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Massive Job Cuts Are Reportedly Coming For Microsoft Employees

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the hope-you-don't-work-at-nokia dept.

Microsoft 300

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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Who couldn't see this coming? (4, Interesting)

Virtucon (127420) | about 3 months ago | (#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.

Re:Who couldn't see this coming? (5, Insightful)

lord_mike (567148) | about 2 months ago | (#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.

Re:Who couldn't see this coming? (4, Insightful)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 months ago | (#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.

Re:Who couldn't see this coming? (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 months ago | (#47456461)

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.

Re:Who couldn't see this coming? (5, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 2 months ago | (#47456567)

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.

Re:Who couldn't see this coming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47457003)

Sadly, though, the top-tier guys make millions whilst everyone else gets the ****** end of the stick.

Re:Who couldn't see this coming? (5, Interesting)

rickb928 (945187) | about 2 months ago | (#47456889)

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.

Re:Who couldn't see this coming? (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | about 2 months ago | (#47456445)

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.

Re:Who couldn't see this coming? (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 months ago | (#47456659)

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.

Re:Who couldn't see this coming? (4, Informative)

Casualposter (572489) | about 2 months ago | (#47456939)

"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.

Re:Who couldn't see this coming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47456897)

And yet, they are still making gobs of money.

Yes, but in niches. It can be great for the company but they're specialized so they won't need to be working on as many things, hence fewer employees are needed. Nowdays I go for weeks at a time without ever seeing a Microsoft-Anything. The most common Microsoft presence I see, is usually Xboxes at some peoples' houses.

So while you still might find Windows at huge companies (and seriously, there is a lot of money there) small businesses are no longer using it. Or (since I already realized someone is going to call bullshit on my last sentence) small businesses rarely require it, so some of them are taking advantage by staying away from it. Remember: as long as you never get Windows, you will never need or even want Windows. (That's how it has always been but now fewer people are taking that first "free" hit that comes preloaded on their new computer.)

Microsoft is a legacy company, now catering primarily to companies they trapped in the 1990s. Think of IBM just a couple decades before them. If you talk to an IBMer in 1990, they might have plenty of very happy things to say about how much money they're making by keeping certain customers. Yet a new company in 1990 probably doesn't buy a fucking mainframe.

Re:Who couldn't see this coming? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47456725)

MS made profit hand over foot last year when they did a price hike on Windows Server products. They have the enterprise market completely owned, as there are just no other games in town that can scale. Need E-mail, Exchange is it. Well, unless you want to trust a cloud provider, which can break PCI-DSS3 or Sarbanes-Oxley regs if private... or FISMA if US government. So, it is Exchange or nada. Which brings in AD as a must.

So, MS can lose out in other sectors. It has such a large captive audience that it can have a price hike in the enterprise, then blow it on -all- other fronts... and still be profitable.

Remember, MS going into the phone market is not about profit. It is about -growth-. Stockholders don't care if you are making money. It is all about growth, even if it means hemorrhaging money every quarter. So, what pays for the forays into other markets are MS's business customers.

MS is doing quite well. There is just nothing out there that can scale anywhere near as well as Exchange or Sharepoint. Period.

For smaller businesses, there are more solutions available (Zimbra comes to mind, as well as RedHat's options.) However, once you have such a large amount of installed machines that you have to rely on GPOs, the game changes.

Of course, if I'm wrong, please correct me. I'm posting as AC because I may be completely off base here.

Overstating things.... (2)

darylb (10898) | about 2 months ago | (#47456801)

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 wasn't running Exchange. Exchange/Outlook make the world go 'round at these places. After 20+ years of effort, it mostly works. Why would companies get rid of it in favor of an inferior solution? Just imagine the hell of migrating all that old email, required for all sorts of compliance, to another solution.

Maybe you don't have Microsoft software running your phone or tablet, but it still powers employee desktops and servers all over the place. All of that is quite high margin. An Intel-based Windows tablet can run an awful lot of software that is STILL unavailable for the other mobile platforms.

And, frankly, while I don't use the Modern UI on my Win8.1 desktop (in favor of Classic Shell), I quite like Windows Phone 8. I like it a lot better than iOS, in fact. I didn't think I would, but a missing smartphone had me using a $70 Windows Phone for a week. (There is no Android phone selling for under $150 that's worth using.) I was hooked.

Good (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 months ago | (#47456257)

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?

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47456409)

Or at least sell off the group. Who knows maybe they could even make a little money and give them a fighting chance of survival. But I suppose salting the earth is better for everyone all around.

Re:Good (3, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 months ago | (#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.

Re:Good (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 months ago | (#47456431)

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 (4, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 months ago | (#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.

Re:Good (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 months ago | (#47456527)

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.

Re:Good (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 months ago | (#47456627)

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.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47456997)

We all have the Sword of Damocles hanging over us, kid. <\eastwood>

Re:Good (4, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | about 2 months ago | (#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)

Re:Good (1)

Squidlips (1206004) | about 2 months ago | (#47456465)

It is called "The Dead Sea Effect"

Re:Good (1)

Casualposter (572489) | about 2 months ago | (#47456979)

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 the company and prepared to leave. The shell of that company was purchased by a competitor a few years ago and they are in the process of winding that old business down - closing sites, etc.

Re:Good (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 months ago | (#47456515)

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 then if you just kept them employed.

What I hate more then just layoffs, is when they do blind layoffs, not really considering who is good and bad.

of course (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47456261)

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

Re:of course (3, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | about 2 months ago | (#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.

You don't need so many workers (1, Informative)

eclectro (227083) | about 2 months ago | (#47456273)

...when you are using linux.

Re:You don't need so many workers (4, Funny)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 months ago | (#47456285)

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

Re:You don't need so many workers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47456487)

Actually, many people don't want to work with Linux, given the abysmal choices of desktop environments, each with their own style of suck.

Re:You don't need so many workers (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 months ago | (#47456565)

I use a linux desktop for all my day-to-day stuff, both at home and at work. The desktop environments are either plane jane or way overdone, but they are adequate for doing work and that's a lot difference than 5 or 6 years ago. Excluding the braindead acceptance of Office file formats for a moment you *can* do your everyday business on linux. It's that Office lever that causes the most issue, and being an admin that isn't really an issue for me, of course.

Re:You don't need so many workers (5, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 months ago | (#47456647)

Actually, many people don't want to work with Linux, given the abysmal choices of desktop environments, each with their own style of suck.

I've one word for you. Metro.

Re:You don't need so many workers (1)

CQDX (2720013) | about 2 months ago | (#47456927)

Just run XFCE, MATE, and any other XP like desktop and be done with it. Don't waste time with Unity, Gnome 3, the latest KDE, etc.

Honestly, if you working on Linux and you are pissing around trying to get your desktop customized to your liking, then you really aren't working, are you?

Dropping the Xbox? (4, Interesting)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 2 months ago | (#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.

Re:Dropping the Xbox? (4, Insightful)

lord_mike (567148) | about 2 months ago | (#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!

Re:Dropping the Xbox? (4, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | about 2 months ago | (#47456573)

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.

Re:Dropping the Xbox? (3, Insightful)

lord_mike (567148) | about 2 months ago | (#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.

Re:Dropping the Xbox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47456813)

Any money that might have been lost was made up for by the marketing gains.

Typical non-MBA thinking. "The money doesn't matter."

Re:Dropping the Xbox? (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 months ago | (#47456925)

No, it is a economical thinking that there are external costs and profits.

Re:Dropping the Xbox? (2)

gorzek (647352) | about 2 months ago | (#47456913)

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 keep throwing money at a market loser?

Re:Dropping the Xbox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47456945)

Possibly because it's the only positive experience that anyone has ever had with MS?

That's got to be worth something beyond that one product's bottom line.

There's a point where using a loss on a product is too big to continue, but when everything else you've ever done has been a steaming piece of shit, perhaps a bit of positive experience actually translates to dollars somewhere else.

Ok, that's not entirely true. A few of their mice were decent, so long as you used them on a Macintosh.

Re:Dropping the Xbox? (1)

gorzek (647352) | about 2 months ago | (#47457001)

We're not talking about a product that needs time to find its feet, we're talking about what should be a mature product line that nevertheless struggles to turn a profit. We're not in year two of MS' Xbox experiment, but going on year 13 of a popular consumer brand. There is certainly something to be said for selling a product that loses money in order to stimulate ancillary revenues, but that's not what is happening here. The whole division is, at best, a wash for MS. How long should they keep this up before writing it off?

Re:Dropping the Xbox? (1)

kilodelta (843627) | about 2 months ago | (#47456575)

Ha - buy a Ford vehicle. That Sync - it's a Microsoft product too. Which explains a hell of a lot.

Re:Dropping the Xbox? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 months ago | (#47456589)

What would google want with XBox?

Re:Dropping the Xbox? (1)

lord_mike (567148) | about 2 months ago | (#47456763)

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.

Re:Dropping the Xbox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47456885)

Wouldn't Google be taking a huge risk, given that X-Box runs a modified version of Windows? Obviously MS would have to license it to them as part of the sale, and the license would be as legally watertight as possible, but MS would have a *huge* incentive to do down their deadly rival in the near future in relation to new versions, new features, fixes etc. for 'X-Box Windows'; and no matter how good the license contract is MS can always break it (while denying they have) and tie goggle up in the courts for enough years that the outcome is irrelevant. Also, X-Box is now very tied-in to a load of other MS infrastructure.
I would have thought it's more likely they would spin it off as separate, but initially wholly owned company for possible later sale.

Re:Dropping the Xbox? (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 2 months ago | (#47456807)

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

It's not as important as we think it is. (1)

darylb (10898) | about 2 months ago | (#47456707)

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. Business markets are worth a lot, and demand a different sort of expertise as compared to consumer markets.

Re:It's not as important as we think it is. (1)

lord_mike (567148) | about 2 months ago | (#47456771)

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!

Re:It's not as important as we think it is. (1)

darylb (10898) | about 2 months ago | (#47456851)

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, can run all kinds of EXISTING software, is a huge benefit. Add to that the ability to secure the devices to restrict allowed applications (preventing the FedEx driver from surfing pr0n on a lunch break) and communicate via encrypted channels, and it's a clear win for a general purpose solution.

Re:Dropping the Xbox? (1)

SpzToid (869795) | about 2 months ago | (#47456711)

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.

Re:Dropping the Xbox? (1)

Sam36 (1065410) | about 2 months ago | (#47456563)

Didn't even know he resigned. Shows how much I care. Hopefully MS will be able to do something cool now.

Re:Dropping the Xbox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47456755)

Wouldn't the cut to the chair budget massively help their bottom line, though?

H1Bs first? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47456287)

merica

Re:H1Bs first? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 months ago | (#47456617)

Normally I wouldnt respond to such an obvious troll, but youve piqued my interest: In what way is providing jobs to poorer folks from poorer countries conforming to the nationalistic "'Murica" meme?

Re:H1Bs first? (2)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 2 months ago | (#47456699)

He's suggesting that those are the first ones let go. Which won't happen as those are the most expensive to let go. Its designed that way to help prevent the companies from abusing foreign workers, causing them to move here, only to let them go.

Re:H1Bs first? (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 months ago | (#47456765)

So the asshole executives causing the problems are going to be let go? Celebration!

Re:H1Bs first? (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 months ago | (#47456947)

You mean the most expensive to let go because they cost less than a normal US citizen with those skills because they pay them below the market rate right?

Re:H1Bs first? (1)

itsenrique (846636) | about 2 months ago | (#47456767)

He's saying H1Bs should get the cut first, hence ''Merica'.

Embrace, Extend, Extinguish. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47456315)

RIP Nokia.

Re:Embrace, Extend, Extinguish. (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#47456661)

If you cannot beat them, buy them... It's the MBA way...

I've been on both ends of this equation a number of times, never good for morale, unless you are from the buyer side...

Not Surprising (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#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.

Not Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47456509)

Problem is they are that slow with dev for Windows Phone they could easily do with double the staff just to get something done in a timely fashion.

Not Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47456633)

Buuuuuttttt - it's also an excuse to clean house. There will be layoffs at Microsoft itself.

AND you will see some quiet hiring overseas in some Third World country.

MS is going to go all IBM, Oracle, HP - cheap Third World development; First World prices.

The big margins go into the CEO's pocket.

But hey! Any one of us can do that, riiiighhht?!

All we have to do is make the contacts to get those CEO jobs and we too can have a job that pays outrageously regardless of our performance!

Re:Not Surprising (2)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 months ago | (#47456953)

After the massive layoff of Balmer, which I was a part of, they immediatly went out and hired practially the same amount of people. It was just a trick to get investors thinking they were actually shrinking the employees.

Re:Not Surprising (1)

jsepeta (412566) | about 2 months ago | (#47456789)

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.

Chain effect (2)

iamacat (583406) | about 2 months ago | (#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?

Chain effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47456491)

Ship: "We are sinking! I repeat: We are thinking!"
Coast guard: "What are you thinking about?"

Re:Chain effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47456519)

thinking ship???? are you working for german coast [youtube.com] guard by any chance?

Re:Chain effect (5, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | about 2 months ago | (#47456529)

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.

Thinking (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | about 2 months ago | (#47456835)

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.")

"Anonymous Coward" in another thread nailed it (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | about 2 months ago | (#47456399)

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"

Re:"Anonymous Coward" in another thread nailed it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47456819)

The link in your sig is broken.

would be ironic (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 2 months ago | (#47456417)

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

They hire nothing by H-1Bs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47456429)

and now we see how incompetent scabs are destroying another company.

H1B (5, Insightful)

Major Blud (789630) | about 2 months ago | (#47456433)

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

Re:H1B (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47456739)

not needed. the ceo is from india.
they'll just outsource the rest of the high-paid lazy AMERICAN jobs to Calcutta

Re:H1B (1)

SpzToid (869795) | about 2 months ago | (#47456987)

This New York Times article states he arrived to work at Microsoft, from Hyderabad, India in 1992. It says nothing about any initial H1b status of his. Obviously he lives in America now.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02... [nytimes.com]

Lots of Smart people up for grabs (1)

goblinspy (2738809) | about 2 months ago | (#47456441)

I would look at this a boon for other companies trying to find good people. One company's waste is other company's gold.

Windoze sucks Micro$oft! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47456499)

BOOO Wind0ze Micro$oft

Linux is the best! and pythion!!

Was this a smart move? (1)

Kelbear (870538) | about 2 months ago | (#47456501)

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 primarily a dividend stock with limited growth prospects). They've got a ton of cash and steady profits, this certainly isn't a move forced by necessity.

The article suggests that the cuts are primarily hitting ex-Nokia employees that serve redundant functions with the pre-existing MS departments, as well as marketing and engineering. Should they have been kept on? He did mention his future focus would be in mobile. Anyway, I hope these people land on their feet, maybe in a better job and in a better work environment. A lot of people's lives get upended when big layoffs hit, more than just the employees laid off.

Re:Was this a smart move? (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#47456759)

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't do it with money you need to live on as it could be a planted story to manipulate the stock price.

Re:Was this a smart move? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47456839)

We already know how layoffs affect stock price, short term it always goes up.

Long term? Depends on how bloated the company was. If it's critical people gone (and it usually is) then MS is continuing their long, slow slide into the toilet.

I suspect Windows 7 was not only the best OS they've released to date, but their best ever. The mess that is 8 showcases exactly how incompetent their software engineers and UI designers really are. Taking a concept from something you're absolutely terrible at (mobile devices) and shoehorning it onto something you're only bad at (desktop UI design) is a losing strategy.

For the future, their only hope is to pick a UNIX to base their OS on, develop a reasonable UI desktop concept and go from there. The Registry is a nasty hack that's stuck around for far too long, and basing the underlying OS on VMS like they did was a horrible decision when they made it and is haunting them today. Trying to force everyone to fullscreen apps was unbelievably stupid, fullscreen is great for games, and somewhat functional for people who spend all day in one app, but almost everyone works in multiple apps these days, and fullscreen destroys drag-and-drop, which is still the easiest and most sane way to get data easily from one app to another.

Apple knew when it was time to give up on their internal efforts and move to UNIX. MS has yet to do so, and if they don't figure it out soon enough it WILL eventually be fatal for them.

If MS continues down their current path, their only hope is that everyone else will keep fucking up badly too. (I'm looking at you, Canonical. You too, Gnome. And don't get smug, Apple, your latest UI is butt-ugly, and has some serious usability issues.)

GOOD (0)

Sam36 (1065410) | about 2 months ago | (#47456503)

I am happy.

and they want to increase the number of H1B's (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 months ago | (#47456535)

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

Re:and they want to increase the number of H1B's (3, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 months ago | (#47456683)

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

What's the betting that the layoffs will be followed by lobbying for more h1bs because of the shortage of skilled staff.

Re:and they want to increase the number of H1B's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47456909)

You're funny.

Let me guess who they are letting go... (1)

HnT (306652) | about 2 months ago | (#47456603)

Developers, developers, developers?

I expect this! (1)

Grindalf (1089511) | about 2 months ago | (#47456621)

This is a normal cyclical occurrence in companies such as Microsoft, they'll have skimmed off the kids who can actually write C++ compiled binary and assembler software well, and thrown the rest out. I know from years of experience, you'll think you are in a room full of programmers but in reality there will approximately two brainy kids amongst 200. This is the nature of human intelligence, it's a rare commodity and MOST people are “wannabes.”

Re:I expect this! (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 months ago | (#47456675)

I know from years of experience, you'll think you are in a room full of programmers but in reality there will approximately two brainy kids amongst 200. This is the nature of human intelligence, it's a rare commodity and MOST people are âoewannabes.â

So only 1% of people are in the 99th percentile. Amazing. Any other insights?

Re:I expect this! (3, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 months ago | (#47456701)

This is a normal cyclical occurrence in companies such as Microsoft, they'll have skimmed off the kids who can actually write C++ compiled binary and assembler software well, and thrown the rest out. I know from years of experience, you'll think you are in a room full of programmers but in reality there will approximately two brainy kids amongst 200. This is the nature of human intelligence, it's a rare commodity and MOST people are “wannabes.”

Then there's the people who can do it but spend all day on Slahsd... oh shit I'd better get some work done!

Re:I expect this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47456963)

I think you're right about how few highly skilled programmers there are but I fear you may have overestimated the sense and intelligence of the managers that choose who gets chucked out. You'll think you are in a room full of middle managers but in reality there will be approximately one useful manager amongst 100. This is the nature of management; it's a rare commodity and MOST people are "wannabes".

hilarious (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 months ago | (#47456709)

"said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public"
Well, I guess who know who is getting fired.

Right move (2)

hydrofix (1253498) | about 2 months ago | (#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.

Re:Right move (2)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 months ago | (#47456989)

I could have swore they failed because they did an exclusivity agreement with Microsoft.

H1B (2)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 2 months ago | (#47456757)

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

Microsoft's only commodity is ... (4, Interesting)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about 2 months ago | (#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.

sadly.. (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#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.

Come on, guys. (1)

GT66 (2574287) | about 2 months ago | (#47456957)

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 (4, Insightful)

xdor (1218206) | about 2 months ago | (#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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