Microsoft to cut staff next month?

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RUMOUR MILL : Microsoft is rumoured to start making some of its staff redundant on January 15, after MiniMicrosoft is reporting on snippets of reports discussing of internal reorganisations amid budget cuts at the company.

The blog, run by an anonymous employee of Microsoft, are saying that staff are being called into “meetings and interrogations about the work they are doing”, setting impossible tasks and asked to account for their work by the hour. As well, it is reporting that one 120-person group in the server and tools business has been broken up because of a lack of budget, and 70 people in the online services division and SQL Server business (part of server and tools) have been given six weeks to find alternative employment at the Redmond-based company, or they will be fired.

According to the blog, Microsoft’s online conference service Live Meeting “is one of the worst places to be right now” and that it is in “death throes”.

Live Meeting is one of the worst places to be right now – and it has gotten downright hostile and strange in recent times. People are pulled into meetings with management where they get interrogated about what they are working on ("We want to hear what you think you know about XYZ, this is not a knowledge-sharing session…"), people are given impossible tasks like coding things not yet designed, automating things not get coded, documenting unfinished ideas (all subject to being cut next week too). On top of that they must account for their time by the hour. Live Meeting is in its death throes.

If this is true, this is thought to be the first in 30 years by Microsoft, and this would follow a hiring freeze after years of massive expansion thanks to the success of the Windows OS, Office products and its Xbox 360. According to The Register, the company has grown 28 percent to 91,000 employees in just two years after several acquisitions. The company’s payroll has also increased by 49 percent since 2005, after its increase spending in support, marketing, sales and research and development.

However, Microsoft’s Online Services Division have not been successful after being beaten by Yahoo and Google. Even though they have split its “services” from MSN and rebranded it as Windows Live; its services have not gain a strong foothold in the market – except for Windows Live Hotmail. But this does not mean it still hold some importance in regional markets; and as far as I know, Windows Live Messenger is very popular in Australia with teenagers.