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April 15, 2009 6:31 PM

Microsoft changes mind, Spitfire bar coming to campus

Posted by Brier Dudley

Breaking news: Apparently in response to employee outrage, Microsoft has changed its mind and will allow its former employee, Jonathan Sposato, to open a branch of his Belltown watering hole on the new west campus commons.

Microsoft decided last week, at the last minute, to cancel plans for the pub, forcing Sposato to lay off 22 employees.

Outraged Microsoft employees formed a Facebook group to protest the change. It now has 850 members.

Sposato said tonight that he and Microsoft have since had good discussions, and reached an agreement in principal to proceed as planned with the on-campus Spitfire.

"It was clear to me they wanted this to work out after all,'' Sposato said over a pint at the Belltown Spitfire, where he loaned me his MacBook Air to write this entry.

Sposato said he's reaching out to the 22 employees and plans to have the pub by the end of the month.

Details of how the pub will operate under the new agreement were outlined in an entry Sposato posted on the Facebook group's page:

thx for everyone's support! OK there's GOOD NEWS today; the spitfire has reached an agreement in principal with msft to open on the west commons campus later this month : ) over the last few days, both parties re-engaged and worked creatively to find a way to deliver on a great spitfire experience on campus. we've reached an agreement in principal whereby;

-we'll be back on campus and open for business the end of this month

-we'll attempt to call back the 22 employees we had originally hired for this effort

-we'll be resuming our original lunch business from 11am to 3pm daily

-we'll be providing alcohol service in addition to food after lunch from 3pm-11pm for all varieties of scheduled events, catered events, or other employee functions

-these functions can be booked easily by employees in the same way that catered events in various rooms are currently done.

the spitfire team is excited to be 'back in action' and to have the opportunity to serve you again! more to come soon..

The pub overlooks soccer fields on the new "Commons" area in the campus west of Highway 520.

"We're bringing a piece of Belltown to Redmond,'' said Sposato, who also runs Seattle online photo editing startup Picnik. .

Microsoft had long planned for a pub on its expanded campus but canceled last week, as first reported by TechFlash. The incident recalls Microsoft's ill-fated attempt to cut costs a few years ago by cutting perks such as towels.

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