Ballmer's layoff mail to the troops fails to rule out more cuts

Summary:Here's the full text of the e-mail that CEO Steve Ballmer sent to Microsoft employees notifying them of the second wave of job cuts happening at the company, starting May 5. Ballmer's e-mail does not rule out additional layoffs beyond the 5,000 already announced.

On May 5, Microsoft began the second round of job cuts it announced it would make back in January.

Here's the full text of the e-mail that CEO Steve Ballmer sent to Microsoft employees notifying them of today's actions. Ballmer's e-mail does not rule out additional layoffs beyond the 5,000 already announced. His e-mail also does not mention whether Microsoft is still planning to hire back 1,000 to 2,000 individuals, primarily into the company's Online Systems Division (something Microsoft was planning on doing back in January). Update: Microsoft officials are saying the company is still committed to hiring 2,000 to 3,000 folks between now and mid-2010.

During Microsoft's third-quarter fiscal 2009 earnings call at the end of April, Wall Street analysts were laser-focused on Microsoft's cost-cutting plans. No one asked during the call whether the company was planning cuts beyond the 5,000 announced, however.

From: Steve Ballmer Sent: Tuesday, May 05, 2009

To: Microsoft - All Employees 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.


Topics: Collaboration, CXO, Microsoft, Tech & Work


Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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