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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

May 5, 2009 at 7:22 AM

More layoffs at Microsoft today, says company e-mail from Steve Ballmer

Update 10:37 a.m.: Today’s layoffs at Microsoft will affect about 1,200 positions in Washington state, according to the state’s Employment Security department.

Communications director Sheryl Hutchison said the Microsoft has not yet filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification with the department but has indicated that it will. In January, Microsoft filed a WARN notice for 872 positions, and recently filed a notice in April saying it was eliminating two positions. Microsoft declined to say how many employees would be affected locally, saying only that half would be in the U.S. and half would be international. (Update 11:44 a.m.: Microsoft, through a spokeswoman, later confirmed the 1,200 number.)

Depending on the size of the layoffs, federal law requires companies to notify workers 60 days prior to closures and job cuts.

Update 9:35 a.m.: Here is the official company statement on the layoffs. It says little more than Ballmer’s e-mail.

“As part of the plan we announced in January to reduce costs and increase efficiencies, today we are eliminating additional positions across several areas of the company. While job eliminations are always difficult, we are taking these necessary actions in response to the global economic downturn.”

The company declined to say whether specific departments have been cut. There are some comments at the anonymous employee blog Mini Microsoft that indicate cuts are coming from the sales marketing and services group, advertising and MSIT, but these are unconfirmed.

7:22 a.m.: Microsoft will be making its second round of job cuts today as part of the 5,000 layoffs the software company announced in January, according to a Microsoft spokesperson. In January, the company eliminated 1,400 out of the 5,000 cuts planned. It was the first major layoff in the company’s history.

This new round of cuts appears likely to involve the other 3,600 jobs that the company intended to eliminate, although a spokesperson declined to comment on an exact number. Half of the cuts will be made in the U.S., half will be made internationally. The spokesperson also declined to comment on how many cuts would be made locally.

A spokesperson said the company remains committed to creating 2,000 to 3,000 jobs between now and July 2010.

Below is an e-mail provided by a company source that Chief Executive Steve Ballmer sent to all employees this morning.

In January, in response to the global economic downturn, I announced our plan to adjust the company’s cost structure through spending reductions and job eliminations. Today, we are implementing the second phase of this plan.

This is difficult news to share. Because our success at Microsoft has always been the direct result of the talent, hard work, and commitment of our people, eliminating positions is hard.

Today’s action includes positions in the United States and in a number of countries around the world. In the U.S., affected employees will be notified directly by their managers today. In other countries, local leadership teams will provide more specific information about the impact to their organizations.

With this announcement, we are mostly but not all done with the planned 5,000 job eliminations by June 2010. We are moving quickly to reach this target in response to consistent feedback from our people and business groups that it’s important to make decisions and reduce uncertainty for employees as quickly as possible, and so that organizations can concentrate their efforts and resources on strategic objectives.

As we move forward, we will continue to closely monitor the impact of the economic downturn on the company and if necessary, take further actions on our cost structure including additional job eliminations.

For those of you directly affected by today’s announcement, I want to thank you for your contribution to Microsoft and assure you that we will continue to provide support as we did during the previous job eliminations.

And for everyone across the company, I want to reemphasize how much I appreciate the way you have pulled together to help the company respond to this difficult economic environment. There’s no doubt that these are very challenging times. But together, we are making the right choices to ensure that we will continue to deliver great products and position ourselves for strong future growth and profitability.

Thank you for your continued hard work, commitment, and focus.


If you want to share any information about what’s happening in Redmond today, e-mail me at or call me at 206-464-2958.

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