Posted May 6, 2009 10:59 am by with 2 comments

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In January Microsoft announced that about 5,000 workers would be laid off over the next 18 months. The first wave was 1,400 and most ofmicrosoft those were in the US operations of the company. cnet reports that notices went out yesterday to another 3,000 Microsoft employees that their jobs would be going away.

While the numbers certainly are in line with the announcement of the 5,000 total layoffs over time it is the speed that the total number was nearly reached that has some concerned. Generally, if a company says something of this nature will occur over 18 months it is presenting a scenario of a ‘slow roll’ of layoffs. Apparently, Microsoft was playing an odd game of ‘under promis and over deliver’ with these job cuts.
cnet got access to a memo from Steve Ballmer that included the statement:

“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,” Ballmer said in the memo, which was seen by CNET News.

The entire memo can be read here.

The public announcement said the following

“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,” Microsoft said in a public statement confirming the cuts. “While job eliminations are always difficult, we are taking these necessary actions in response to the global economic downturn.”

The job cuts are split between US and international operations. The types of jobs that were cut were across the board which would indicate a ‘reduction in force’ mentality. In other words a cost cutting measure that can be couched in the ‘it’s the economy’ argument that many are using these days to look OK while taking these actions. It’s the fall back position of “This isn’t our desire or our fault but we have no choice because of the economy” that big companies use to full advantage when the climate is right for it. No better time than the present to clean house I suppose.

If you are looking for an online services type job, though, Microsoft is hiring to the tune of up to 3,000 people to grow areas of the company that are leading to growth. The best place to be in a company, especially during a downturn like this one, is where you viewed as a revenue generator and not an expense. Where are you?