Peter Kafka

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Microsoft Starts the Layoff Machine Again With Thousands of Cuts: Steve Ballmer’s Memo to the Troops

ballmerHere comes the second round of layoffs at Microsoft, following a first round that started in January. Today’s cuts will likely end up costing about 3,000 workers their jobs. Microsoft had previously warned that it would cut up to 5,000 jobs by 2010. The good news, says CEO Steve Ballmer: The newest round means “we are mostly but not all done” with layoffs.

As Todd Bishop at TechFlash notes, Microsoft (MSFT) previously cut 1,400 jobs, and hadn’t actually committed to the 5,000 number.

But the company just posted a miserable quarterly-earnings report, and company executives spent most of the ensuing conference call warning investors that things look dire.

Here’s Ballmer’s memo to the troops:

From: Steve Ballmer
Sent: Tuesday, May 05, 2009 5:43 AM
To: Microsoft – All Employees (QBDG)
Subject: Update: Realigning Resources and Reducing Costs

In January, in response to the global economic downturn, I announced our plan to adjust the company’s cost structure through spending reductions and job eliminations. Today, we are implementing the second phase of this plan.

This is difficult news to share. Because our success at Microsoft has always been the direct result of the talent, hard work, and commitment of our people, eliminating positions is hard.

Today’s action includes positions in the United States and in a number of countries around the world. In the U.S., affected employees will be notified directly by their managers today. In other countries, local leadership teams will provide more specific information about the impact to their organizations.

With this announcement, we are mostly but not all done with the planned 5,000 job eliminations by June 2010. We are moving quickly to reach this target in response to consistent feedback from our people and business groups that it’s important to make decisions and reduce uncertainty for employees as quickly as possible, and so that organizations can concentrate their efforts and resources on strategic objectives.

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.

For those of you directly affected by today’s announcement, I want to thank you for your contribution to Microsoft and assure you that we will continue to provide support as we did during the previous job eliminations.

And for everyone across the company, I want to reemphasize how much I appreciate the way you have pulled together to help the company respond to this difficult economic environment. There’s no doubt that these are very challenging times. But together, we are making the right choices to ensure that we will continue to deliver great products and position ourselves for strong future growth and profitability.

Thank you for your continued hard work, commitment, and focus.