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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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March 23, 2009 4:52 PM

Microsoft's January layoffs took effect today

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Today, March 23, marks the last day on the payroll for Microsoft employees notified in January that their jobs were being cut. "They will receive their severance payout, additional pay for healthcare costs, and will continue to be eligible to use outplacement services for a defined period of time," a company spokeswoman said via e-mail.

The company cut 1,400 full-time jobs, including 872 locally, in its first broad layoffs, announced Jan. 22. The cuts are part of a broader cost-savings plan that could result in 5,000 job cuts over an 18-month period, leaving up to 3,600 additional positions still to be cut to reach that total.

Some individuals have reported being laid off since the initial announcement. It's not clear whether the company will let people go in dribs and drabs or make another large layoff announcement. Microsoft wouldn't comment on this today.

"As we said in January, we will continue to assess the market and economic situation over the next 18 months and make adjustments as needed," the spoksewoman said. "Beyond that, we have no other details to share."

The uncertainty created by the looming additional job cuts bothered some Microsoft employees when the plan was first announced. At the time, they said they wished the company had done all the cuts at once to get it over with.

Even as it cuts jobs, Microsoft is also hiring in strategically important areas such as Internet search, and plans to add up to 2,000 to 3,000 jobs even as it makes cuts, for a net loss of 2,000 to 3,000 jobs.

As of January 31, Microsoft had 95,943 employees globally, 41,555 of whom were employed in the Puget Sound area.

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