Microsoft Layoffs 2009: Read Steve Ballmer’s Memo

Microsoft has begun its next round of layoffs in the ongoing cutbacks announced earlier this year. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer describes this week’s cuts as the “second phase” of the plan initiated in January.

Microsoft Layoffs 2009: Phase Two

The Microsoft layoffs plan involves the elimination of 5,000 jobs by June of 2010. The first cuts, in January, involved about 1,400 workers. Ballmer has not specified how many people are losing their jobs in this week’s wave. He does say, however, that affected employees will be notified today. He also indicates the company is “mostly but not all done” with its planned 5,000 job eliminations. Some sources suggest this round will hit both Microsoft’s U.S. and international offices.

The cuts, Microsoft said in January, will span across several departments, including research and development, marketing, sales, finance, legal, human resources, and IT.

Steve Ballmer’s Memo

The following is Steve Ballmer’s internal memo regarding the second phase of Microsoft layoffs on May 5, 2009.

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.


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