Beleaguered Microsoft’s strategy: Fire thousands of employees and then what?

“This is not a very good time to be working at Microsoft. Typical of companies in trouble, Microsoft has announced plans to give some 18,000 employees pink slips over the next few months,” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl. “Most of the lost jobs, some 12,500, will consist of professional and factory employees connected with the $7.2 billion purchase of Nokia… The rest of the 5,500 firings will come from other departments in Microsoft. With 127,000 total employees as of last month, this means that Microsoft is shedding some 14% of its global workforce.”

“It’s not certain where [CEO Satya Nadella] will go. It’s not that he seems to have a clear vision that will fix what’s wrong. Maybe it is no longer devices and services, but mobile, services and productivity, but how does that translate to making Microsoft relevant in the twilight of the PC era? How does that convince people to buy Surface tablets, and Windows Phones?” Steinberg writes. “Indeed, does the acquisition of Nokia’s handset division really accomplish anything but put thousands of people on the unemployment lines? Indeed, the media is so immersed in numbers of abstracts, that the actual human tragedy of this maneuver is being given short shrift. When you think of employment rolls dropping by 18,000, it means that 18,000 people will no longer have paychecks to feed their families and pay the mortgage.”

Captain Satya Nadella
Captain Satya Nadella
“Microsoft has made a move that may seem perfectly logical to the bean counters who look at dollars and cents and efficiencies,” Steinberg writes. “It may well be that it was truly necessarily to cut 18,000 people from the payroll to get the company moving forward again. But if this decision is to make sense, it would have to be followed by a clear and cogent plan to set things right.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: According to CEO Nadella, Microsoft, with “bold ambition” is going to “maximize the value of technology while also preserving the values that are timeless” because “Microsoft has a unique ability to harmonize the world’s devices, apps, docs, data and social networks in digital work and life experiences so that people are at the center and are empowered to do more.”

“Microsoft will light up digital work and life experiences in the most personal, intelligent, open and empowering ways” because “they have clarity in purpose to empower every individual and organization to do more and achieve more.” And empower them. Empoweringly. With empowerment.

Sheesh, isn’t is obvious where Microsoft wants to go today?

All the way down the shitter. 🙂

Related articles:
Beleaguered Microsoft employees ‘shell shocked’ at size of layoffs – July 18, 2014
Beleaguered Microsoft’s 18,000 layoffs the beginning of a painful attempt to clean up Ballmer’s mess, says Street – July 17, 2014
Beleaguered Microsoft to axe up to 18,000 employees over the next year – July 17, 2014
Beleaguered Microsoft CEO lays groundwork for mass layoffs, yet another rearrangement of the deck chairs – July 11, 2014
Beleaguered Microsoft’s Windows Phone: Dead as a doornail – July 9, 2014
Apple is well on its way to devastating Microsoft – July 7, 2014


    1. You’re joking about Obama having something to do with Microsoft’s problems, I hope. The alternative interpretation isn’t very flattering to you.

      Not all of these jobs are in the USA. Finland will be hurt, for sure.

      Even if all 18,000 lost jobs were in the US, it would only at 0.002% to the unemployment rate.

      It’s a real tragedy for those who are losing their jobs. I hope every one of them finds this as the start of a path towards a better life than they could ever find working for Microsoft. But it’s hardly a “bloodbath” for the economy.

    2. What is it with you loons that apparently want to blame Obama for everything that goes on? And it is loony, by the way because Obama has literally NOTHING at all to do with a private company and whether or not they decide to lay a person (or a whole bunch of persons) off?

      You don’t like Obama. Now how about blaming him for something he actually has something to do with?

      1. Are you joking?

        O has nothing to do with private business, eh?

        Ever hear of the Affordable Care Act, the IRS, and the myriad number of government agencies that regulate business? Hmmm???

        Go back to watching cartoons and eating Oreos, you don’t understand the onerous regulations the mighty O has placed on business … amateur political neophyte.

        1. Yeah, all those damn people with health care! Which, I might add, only helps business (both insurance companies as well as private corporations) who what are you whining about?

          The IRS is an agency. What does that have to do with anything, or are you still ranting?

          Yeah, if there were more tighter regulation of business maybe they wouldn’t have sunk the economy.

          Doesn’t have anything in particular to do with Obama, but if you feel the need to continue your bizarre rant, than feel free.

          1. You want tighter regulations on business? Because they are wrecking the economy. WTF?!?

            Hey brainless, did you ever hear of excessive taxation and onerous regulation harming the business climate and why the U.S. is known for ranking at the bottom.

            You must have graduated with a doctorate from the O course in economics. Before you spout off sonny, take a look at the business statistics and unemployment figures before you rant some pie in the sky liberal arts course that has zero roots in reality.

            1. And you like healthcare, what healthcare?

              Ever hear of the healthcare BUSINESS has to provide employees that got delayed until after the 2014 elections to lessen the Democrat bloodbath?

              Yeah, great policy FIX IS IN from the O messiah.

            2. Of course I have heard of excessive taxation, but do you have any evidence that that’s actually happening?

              Of course you don’t, but I see that doesn’t stop you from repeating a lot of tired nonsense.

              Even your defense makes no sense” “The business climate and why the U.S. is known for ranking at the bottom?”

              To who? The businesses? Yeah that makes sense. I’ll ask the business what the role of government should be. Sort of like having the wolf guard the sheep, don’t you think?

              You’re almost delusional. The last time I checked, unemployment figures were actually down, which sort of defeats your ridiculous argument.

              And give some credit for Obama’s policies (as well as the ‘Hail Mary’ his administration worked that prevented our economy from falling deep into recession), but we can’t do anything to support the meme that government can actually do good, can we?

            3. Government can actually DO GOOD???

              That is the best belly laugh I have had this year.

              1% efficiency rating, while spending ten times more is not exactly a paragon of success.

              Unemployment down slightly, yes. Ever hear of the metric how many people have given up looking for work? Ever hear the total number of Americans not working?

              The full picture is what we all need to look at to form a critical opinion.

            4. You’re talking nonsense, and the thing is, I think you know it’s nonsense. I could easily look at companies like Enron, Citibank, BP and any others that in some way helped to undermine or tank the economy as examples that, by extension, all corporations suck.

              On top of that, I could add all the others that are little more than tax evaders.

              But I don’t do that. Do you know why? Because it’s simplistic, and lumps corporations that are actually doing things worthwhile with those that aren’t.

              It’s the same thing with government. People that say government can’t do good, by which I mean run anything efficiently or well are either being deliberately obtuse, or lying.

              Just as one can easily point to some government programs as badly run, you can just as easily point to others that aren’t.

              For instance, the DOT’s granting of money for infrastructure repair–when such efforts are undermined–typically goes very well.

              The idea of a corporate-based army–which essentially Blackwater is–is an odious one and it can be argued that such an idea of an army for use for the highest bidder is a remarkably anti-democratic idea.

              Which is why having the government control matters of defense is such a good idea, and as far as I can see, they’re doing it particularly well, even in situations that they perhaps shouldn’t be.

              Essentially, there are plenty of things that government does well, though it’s always been easy to treat it incompetent.

            5. You are talking total nonsense.

              You ignore statistics out the wazoo that show the U.S. decline in almost every category the last six years.

              So tell me again, how GOOD the government is. Because common sense dictates if the government was actually capable of solving problems, they would go away, correct?

              Would the agencies that solved the problem, employees, resources, etc. — also go away and save taxpayer dollars? Fat chance.

              Now for the trillion dollar question: what problem the last six years has been solved by bloated, over funded, over regulated, over unionized BIG GOVERNMENT?

              Zip, zero, zilch, nada.

              And if you are going to tout healthcare law that was shot down today by the courts, good luck with that one surviving the next round.

              Also add the DELAYED employer mandate was a cold calculating political move by the current desperate administration — not to help people in IMMEDIATE MEDICAL NEED — but cynically designed to save Democrat butts in the Senate sitting on their brains in the 2014 midterms.

              Yeah, tell me again how GOOD GOVERNMENT works.

              It’s broken.

    1. Indeed, did Satya Nadella write his mass-sacking email himself or get an intern to go on a business-speak course?

      It’s ludicrous for him to talk about empowerment as anybody who struggled with Windows or its programs over the decades will know.

  1. After 3 decades of peddling snake oil, the M$ quackery seems to have come up against the dictum that ‘you can’t fool all the peope all the time.’

    It’s hard luck on the unfortunates facing the sack, but long-overdue good luck for those of us who’ve had the misfortune to suffer M$’s crappy products (on our employers’ PCs!) for so many years.

    1. Microsoft has a truly massive amount of inertia. That’s what let them glide past Vista and what’s letting them glide past 8. Most companies of which I’m aware are either just rolling out Win 7 or are already running 7 and have high hopes for 9. 8 just isn’t an option.

      Unfortunately, even with their inertia, their user base is eroding. Corporate users detest Win 8. Most laboratories tend to see computers as cheap peripherals used to control equipment vastly more expensive than the computers. If 9 isn’t a massive improvement over 8, labs will be switching to Mac or Linux.

      The touch screen may be a cool way to blend tablets and laptops/desktops for consumers, but it misses the whole point of using tablets instead of laptops or desktops. Tablets do things differently, often more conveniently and efficiently. This has been utterly lost on Microsoft and is the main reason the vast majority of experienced users are still running 7 and the reason the Surface Pro has had so little impact. Win 8 phone and Win RT, having no mutual software compatibility like iOS devices enjoy is a reason for their failure to gain marketshare and another indicator of Microsoft’s utter cluelessness regarding the mobile market.

      Microsoft has the inertia to glide past these problems and remain viable, but they’re alienating a lot of users in the process. Vista and 8 sent a lot of customers Apple’s way. Win 9 better be great and undo most of the damage done by their misbegotten attempt to force the same UI on phones, tablets, laptops and desktops.

      When a company enjoys such a huge marketshare, even massive blunders are survivable, but too many massive blunders will do major damage. On a small scale, look at RIM, Palm and Nokia.

      1. Excellent and, I think, accurate overview. Because of the ossified, Windows-on-the-brain thinking, Microsoft have wilfully ‘missed the point’ as you put it. Even former supporters have identified this as a colossal blunder, yet Redmond seems to have switched off the receiver and is not accepting any contrary messages. You and I, and everyone else, is just waiting for Windows 9 hoping for something decent. None of us is holding his or her breath, not any more.

        1. My most recent employer hung on to XP until I retired 2 years ago. They are now on 7, after 24 months of extreme headaches and difficulties due to the “upgrade”. The impending switch is one reason I retired. Our main field data acquisition software ran on Windows servers and was accessed with Windows client software. This specialized, proprietary software had many issues with Windows 7, had not been written for Windows 7, and had not been tested for Windows 7. Since this software was used in a federally regulated industry it had to be tested thoroughly before every upgrade and certified to federal and state regulators as fully functional and error free. This testing procedure took months of slogging through test cases with test data that covered every possible scenario. This is the most boring and yet mentally painful work I ever did. Further, under Windows 7 management tools, we as mere users were not permitted to install software, nor change our user profiles on our own desktops. Our work, especially the testing work, required that we change our user profiles to test different levels of security within the application, and we used many non-standard applications as tools for testing purposes and for general operations. Going through the approval process with corporate security for the installation of non-company standard applications took months. In order to preserve my sanity I retired a year early to avoid being involved in the switch to Windows 7. The sooner that Windows and Microsoft shrivel and die, the sooner the world will be a better place.

          1. I once likened this process to taking the space shuttle to the local service station for repairs and approval of modifications. The corporate IT doofuses knew squat about our application, our server and client software, and our processes. It was like teaching a 3 year old to tie his shoelaces.

  2. They can turn over and wait for death. They is just the beginning. Wait til Apple with IBM’s help make their foray into the enterprise sector that will slip from their fingers.

    1. Microsoft could start running daily mock funerals for all their competitors products as a continuous demonstration of their superiority in all such matters. This should then also help ease analists concerns and stop the anals from freaking out in public and triggering a MSFT stock sell-out stampede.

    1. Honestly, I can’t see where the sympathy comes from. None of those soon to be unemployed were ever forced to “work” at MS. Nobody held a gun to their heads while they cranked out mountains of crap and spread all over the world. And no one tied them to the tracks while this slow-motion train wreck began years ago. It’s like feeling sorry for acne.

      1. The guys working for Nokia didn’t choose to work for M$. Did you except them to quit as soon as they learned they were being bought by the “software giant”?

    2. Doc, are you implying that the lousy user experience of Windows is due to upper management only and none of the underlings who are being fired? It’s a tough time to be out of work, and I feel for those being pink-slipped. It’s also tough to go looking for a new job even when you haven’t been pink-slipped, but Microsoft flatlined years ago. There’s been ample warning.

      1. “There’s been ample warning?”

        That’s not how people work, especially those working for a company as huge as Microsoft. Things were probably humming along fine, till they suddenly weren’t.

        It’s a familiar narrative, and happens to way too many people for those that it hasn’t to to be so unsympathetic.

          1. I see what you’re saying, but that’s now people work. If you’ve got a job that enables you to pay your bills you might not care (or even hate) what it is that the company you work for actually does.

            But it pays the bills, and that’s the most important thing.

        1. I once worked for a corporation that began to close operations that were deemed unprofitable. As one department after another was lopped off to improve the bottom line, I began looking for another job and moved on before being laid off. The vast majority of my co-workers arrived at the parking lot gates one morning several years later to find them locked and the plant dark. Only then did it occur to them to look for something else. Should we feel sorry for them?

          1. You don’t have to be sorry for anyone, but a little sympathy would be nice.

            Let’s say you’re supporting a family, paying a mortgage as well as a car note. You may not be in a position to quit a job.

            As sucky as Microsoft may be, laying off thousands of jobs isn’t good for anyone.

            If there was any sort of justice Microsoft would lay off a few executives, which would probably amount to less ‘regular’ employees.

  3. “Light up” is the new Microsoft catch phrase for this round of delusion. It replaces “All In” and a long string of meaningless corporate catch phrases that began with Billy Gates’ “super-excited”.

    1. “Light up” is a brilliant new catchphrase for Microsoft. It is the same phrase arsonists use and just like arsonists, the end result for MS will be a smoldering heap of ashes.

  4. It’s so easy to see this bloodletting as another inexorable link in the parting chain yet the comments on some of the financial sites are so dismissive.

    “Layoffs are an everyday, normal business practice.”

    Is there that much difference in human intelligence?

  5. What Microsoft needs to be doing (and should have done 10 years ago) is ditching Windows and its DOS foundations, and moving to a new Linux/Unix based OS. instead they’ve been applying patch upon patch upon patch, trying to preserve the status quo. This is more of the same. Microsoft has a death wish, and that’s OK with me. I suffered years of abuse at their hands as a systems admin in a large corporation. 95% of the issues we encountered were with our Windows servers and applications. Our Unix/Linux problems were few and rare, and usually the result of their open source roots and documentation.

    1. Microsoft ditched DOS when the stopped supporting Windows 98 and ME.

      The NT kernel is not DOS based. It does not even run on top of DOS. The NT command interpreter understands some DOS commands and there is still a DOS virtual machine but the Windows OS itself does not require DOS to function.

      The Win32 userspace on top of the kernel, yeah there is a lot of legacy code hanging out in that area.

      1. You and Chuck might benefit from a little in depth research. MS may have officially ditched DOS as a foundation for its OS, but traces of it are still there. I don’t know how else to describe the mess that is Windows other than to call it an extension of DOS.

          1. Here’s the deal from a person who has been in this field since 1967. The dream was always for a consumer to have a real computer at home. The first real, advanced computers ran Unix. The first personal computers were incapable of running Unix, so other operating systems that would run on limited RAM, limited (if any) disk/tape storage, and limited CPUs were invented. DOS became the dominant limited, personal computer OS. As personal computers became more and more powerful, a tipping point was reached where they could now run Unix/Linux based operating systems, and fulfill the original dream. Apple recognized this in 2001 and ditched the classic Mac OS for BSD Unix as a base engine, with a graphical user interface layered on top of it. Microsoft was fearful of making that leap, so it layered a GUI on top of DOS.

            At that point Microsoft’s ultimate fate was decided. For the last 14 years it has tried to make an inherently limited OS, originally designed for a stand alone personal computer with limited resources compete with a robust, industrial strength OS designed from the ground up for networking and the necessary security that that involves. It’s like trying to make a horse and buggy compete with Formula 1 race cars by adding more horses and more buggy whips. Eventually, the whole model collapses. We are now at that point.

          2. That’s the beauty of Apple and IBM working together. No operating systems will be involved. IBM will be manipulating data because that’s what they’re good at while Apple (and possibly others) will be writing apps because that’s what they’re good at, to take that data and present it in a more palatable form to the end user. At worst, a few APIs may be involved but iOS will remain unscathed.

  6. I think the new CEO is going to try and shore up the enterprise with the next release of windows which is already rumored to be ditching the metro interface on the desktop release.

    Up in Redmond they have to be worried that they ignored their core customers while going on the Windows 8 tangent.

    1. Ridding the desktop of Metro is the most intelligent thing they could possibly do, but are they intelligent and strong enough to do it? It would be admitting defeat, that their revolutionary new idea sucked.

  7. Its like HR-speak gone berserk.

    “Yes, employee #93,524, we are empowering you with this severance package — good bye and good luck — you will now follow these security guards, who are empowered to escort you out of the building.”

  8. One of the all-time classic MDN Takes. Thanks for reminding me why I still stick around after all these years.

    I think Nadella makes as good an Underpants Gnome as he does Titanic Captain.

    Phase 1 : Fire 18,000 employees
    Phase 2 : ???
    Phase 3 : Regain industry dominance!!


  9. Unemployment, Unemployment, Unemployment, Unemployment, Unemployment, Unemployment, Unemployment, Unemployment. I Loathe This Company’s Employees, YAAAAAAAH!

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