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

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, IT Employment


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • What a guy!

    I'm glad I never worked for Ol' Monkey Boy. But I do have friends working for MS in Redmond...hope they come through this OK.
    • Pssst! Redhat is hiring...

      Hope your friends realize MS isn't the ONLY game around:
      • Winner

        I think redhat will be the winner for the os in the future. I hear so many people are feed up wth MS.
        • RedHat and others, Novell, etc.

          The facts are out there, closed source software development is no longer economically viable, any company that does not have an Open Source strategy will be doomed to obscurity. If Microsoft wants to survive the next 30 years as a relevant player they need to acknowledge this and embrace Open Sourcing.
  • I think layoffs are only justified if you're losing money

    ...or in danger of it. But that's been rank heresy since the 1980s. In the case of MS (since they are profitable overall), it might be a better idea to retrain employees from money losing divisions to do work in divisions that are either profitable, or potentially so.

    Loyalty up never ever exceeds loyalty down.
    John L. Ries
  • Is this any surprise?

    [i]Ballmer's layoff mail to the troops fails to rule out more cuts[/i]

    I doubt you'll find any executive making a statement to that effect in good times or bad.
    • Hmmm, Redhat CEO Jim Whitehurst ...

      ... ISN'T saying that. Oh, and, BTW, Redhat is HIRING!
      • Oh, I should apply!

        Since its a fairly short commute to their office.
        Loverock Davidson
        • <snicker> Uh, they release ...

          ... the shills over there at MS before everybody else, Rockhead?

          See, I don't think they have any need for Trolls over at Redhat.
          • You're probably right

            RedHat has enough trolls already, as evidenced by the zdnet talkbacks.
            Loverock Davidson
          • Careful there, Lovey ...

            ... don't wanna anger yer masters there in Redmond by gettin' too Off Topic.

            And, without Microsoft payin' your way, how you gonna afford to keep yer Internet connection when yer severance runs out?
          • Luckily for me

            I'm still employed and have been through these challenging economic times. Having the skills that I possess, it would not be in any employer's interest to get rid of me.
            Loverock Davidson
          • Lovey has compromising pictures of his boss

            He certainly doesn't have any technical skills (as shown via the content of his posts).
        • They have their own pizza delivery boy.

          You're out of luck.
          InAction Man
      • Reference please. (nt)

  • Is this real or another unfounded rumor?

    Could this be a mistake like the Apple Store's 1600 layoffs?

    No. Probably not. M$ is all about greed. They would lay people off when it's not needed.

    This is just another reminder that M$ is still the evil empire that I grew to hate in the 90's.
    • This is not a rumor

      Hi. This is not a rumor. Microsoft is confirming it. They are "ahead of schedule" in cutting the 5,000 jobs they said back in January that they planned to eliminate by mid-2010. Looks like they are going to eliminate all of them a lot sooner than mid-next-year.

      As I noted, they also are leaving the door open for additional job cuts beyond the 5,000, but aren't saying if and when those might occur. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
    • Well..

      Seriously now, MS are a company, companies are out to make money, surely as you've grown up and are now in the real world you've realised this?
      Explain how MS are so malicious... please... and don't just use the band wagon answers.

      I would rather work for MS than RH.
  • The free ride is ending..

    damm soo many SF flouzies are being tossed off the boat.

    i cant say i feel bad though.
  • Both Apple and Microsoft have billions in cash...

    Both Apple and Microsoft have billions in cash, why are they
    laying people off?

    Let me guess, it's local workers and not the H1B visas.