WASHINGTON'S LEADING BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Digging into Microsoft’s Layoffs

Microsoft, ever a cornerstone of Pacific Northwest employers, has suffered through the down economy in a similar fashion to other companies. What is interesting about Microsoft’s layoffs is not necessarily who they laid off or how much, but in whether or not they will be able to recover.

It’s no secret that Microsoft is a target for companies looking to make a name for themselves. From patent lawsuits taking little chunks out of Microsoft’s pockets to big-time competitors looking to hone in on Microsoft’s turf (think Google Docs), the big guys in Redmond are probably getting pretty dizzy trying to figure out which threat to combat first. I didn’t even mention the pressure that Apple is putting on. Oops, now I did.

Michael Cheery, an analyst for Directions on Microsoft, doesn’t see these numbers as an indication for anything larger, other than a bit of restructuring internally. “Periodically they adjust the number of employees,” he says. “This falls within the normal changes that occur within the economic conditions. Microsoft is always looked for talented people, and they have lots of big projects underway and are active in lots of areas.”

Looking at the numbers, it would appear that while Microsoft may make regular adjustments to their workforce, they don’t usually adjust the number down as drastically as they did over the past year. For a company that has posted so much growth in the past, and who always seems to post growth in their filings, this may be a good indicator that Microsoft is losing a bit of speed as it looks to compete with the expanding number of competitors. The SEC filing states that Microsoft’s success “is highly dependent on our ability to attract and retain qualified employees.” We will have to see if they make the turnaround trend and get back to attracting employees.

Jump for a list of Microsoft’s 10-k filings for the last few years

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