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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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January 27, 2009 11:49 AM

Microsoft layoffs have minimal impact in China; no immediate cuts in India

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Roughly 40 percent of Microsoft's 96,000 employees work outside the United States. The company has subsidiaries in countries from Albania to Zimbabwe. How are the layoffs announced last week impacting Microsoft's employees around the globe?

It's hard to say exactly. The company is "not sharing specific figures that break out US vs. outside of the US," a spokeswoman said via e-mail. But she did confirm earlier reports that Microsoft's India operations had no layoffs during the initial round of cuts that came down Thursday. China, another important research and development hub for the company, was "minimally impacted." The company declined to provide employment numbers for its India and China operations.

Microsoft laid off 872 full-time employees at its Redmond headquarters out of 1,400 job cuts announced Thursday, Microsoft's first companywide layoff. That's about 62 percent of the total. Up to 3,600 additional positions are targeted for cuts in the next 18 months, but Microsoft also intends to hire 2,000 to 3,000 people in strategic areas, making the planned net reduction between 2,000 and 3,000 jobs.

The Economic Times, part of Indiatimes, quoted a Microsoft spokesperson in New Delhi last week saying of the layoff, "It's not going to impact us. No job cuts in India."

The layoff "will have little effect on its China region business and employees," wrote JL McGregor & Co., a China-focused independent research firm, paraphrasing a report in the Beijing Evening News that quoted a Microsoft China insider. The same JL McGregor report noted that Google's Kai-Fu Li told another Chinese news source that his company "will definitely not lay off employees" in China.

The Microsoft spokeswoman noted via e-mail that "last week's decisions were driven by a business strategy, not a geographic strategy."

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