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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 reporter Sharon Chan.

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December 29, 2008 10:25 AM

Catching up: Microsoft layoff rumors

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Mini-Microsoft has drawn an ominous red circle on his calendar around Jan. 15. That day, the anonymous, unsanctioned company blogger suspects, could bring news of a substantial round of layoffs at Microsoft. While his post of last week (just after I stepped out for vacation) is clearly labeled as rumor, even the thought of cuts at one of the region's biggest (and heretofore most stable) employers can only send shivers down the spine of Seattle's cold and wet economy.

Mini rounds up comments to his blog and elsewhere, starting with this one:

"Just heard on the finance grapevine. MSFT layoffs are coming on January 15th.

"They are substantial."

To no one's surprise, Microsoft is not commenting on Mini's post, a spokeswoman informed me.

Mini puts stock in the Jan. 15 date, noting that it's a week before the company reports fiscal second quarter earnings "and it's better to share as much news, good and bad, before the results are released vs. surprising Wall Street (something I think we've learned). ... Come 22 Jan 2009 Microsoft will be asked by the analysts what it is doing to contain costs. And I believe Microsoft will have an answer. I think this is one solution that you don't want to be a part of."

He offers this warning to those within the company: "[Y]ou have to realize that the upcoming 2009 Mid Year Career Discussion review process is one of the most important career inflection-points for you that we've had in a long, long time." Ahead of upcoming ranking meetings, "be very aggressive about enumerating your accomplishments this past year with your manager and asking your boss where they believe you rank within the team."

Mini, who launched the blog in 2004 to encourage Microsoft to "slim down," has no shortage of criticism for company management that oversaw 60 percent head-count growth from 2004 to 2008. Currently, Microsoft employs upwards of 95,000 people globally.

"How did we go on a drunken hiring binge and continue it even though a year ago most of us realized we were dropping into a recession? It's irresponsible leadership. It's especially irresponsible to the people we've hired and to the people incoming with recent offers," Mini writes.

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