Microsoft Announces Q2 Results, 5,000 Layoffs

Microsoft announced its fiscal second quarter results today, as well as 5,000 layoffs over the course of the next 18 months with 1,400 immediately. The rumors were true, though the numbers are less than anticipated. From the press release: As part of this plan, Microsoft will eliminate up to 5,000 jobs in R&D, marketing, sales, finance, legal, HR, and IT over the next 18 months, including 1,400 jobs today. These initiatives will reduce the company’s annual operating expense run rate by approximately $1.5 billion and reduce fiscal year 2009 capital expenditures by $700 million. Other hi [...]

Layoffs At Microsoft Widely Expected To Be Announced This Week

A year ago this would have seemed impossible: layoffs at Microsoft. Until relatively recently Redmond was saying that it would be able to weather the recession without significant disruption. However cost cutting is now the order of the day and no one appears immune. The layoff rumors first appeared in December and have steadily resurfaced. One of the early rumors was that as many as 15,000 jobs at Microsoft would be eliminated. However Reuters quotes financial analysts who assert the number will probably half or less than half that figure: Microsoft Corp is expected to post a quarterly pr [...]

Microsoft Job Cuts May Come Next Week

In Rare Move, Microsoft Is Exploring Job Cuts from the Wall Street Journal reports the rumored Microsoft job cuts may come as early as next week. It is uncertain if the job cuts will actually happen, the Wall Street Journal said Microsoft is looking for alternatives to cutting jobs. Those numbers are likely going to be "far less than the 15,000 positions" first thought, sources tell the paper. Microsoft, like Google, rarely has job cuts. Microsoft has over 91,000 employees, and has grown the employee base by 15%, from 2007 to 2008. It would be interesting to see if Microsoft does cut jo [...]

Report: Microsoft To Lay Off 15,000 Workers

There are reports that Microsoft is getting ready to lay off 17% of their workforce on this new year. The layoffs are expected to happen on or around January 15th. So it looks like the rumors are right and this recession is going to hit one of the most successful technology companies of all time. The rumors include that most of the layoffs will be seen in the MSN group, with other layoffs in Microsoft EMEA divisions. This is not the type of news Microsoft employees like to hear on New Years. There is a lot of coverage on the news at Techmeme. [...]

Tough Love For Microsoft Search

Back in June, I spoke at Microsoft as part of a regular series for those involved with its webmaster tools group and anyone generally interested in search. My talk was called "Tough Love For Microsoft Search," and I covered various reasons why I felt the company has generally failed to make headway in the space. The core premise is that Microsoft as a company isn't succeeding at search because it views search as a task it has to do, rather than one it really wants to do. The article below is an adaptation of that presentation. There's even a movie. Let me say from the outset that ther [...]

Dr. Qi Lu Named To Run Microsoft’s Online Services Group; McAndrews Departs

The rumor becomes reality. Microsoft has named Dr. Qi Lu, formerly of Yahoo, to run its Online Services Group. And Brian McAndrews, as AllThingsD highlights, is leaving Microsoft. More details in the release below: Microsoft Appoints Dr. Qi Lu to Run Online Services Group Yahoo! veteran to oversee Internet offerings for consumers, advertisers and publishers. REDMOND, Wash. - Dec. 4, 2008 - Microsoft Corp. today announced that Dr. Qi Lu will join the company as president of the Online Services Group. Dr. Lu will lead Microsoft's efforts in search and online advertising and all t [...]

Yahoo’s Sean Suchter Switches Sides, To Head Microsoft Search Efforts In Silicon Valley

News came out yesterday on Valleywag about Yahoo vice president Sean Suchter leaving the company and heading to Microsoft. To do what? Sean had told me privately on Tuesday, and I'd been waiting to get an official heads-up to say more. But AllThingsD now has the formal news: to be general manager of Microsoft's Silicon Valley Search Technology Center. Sean's a huge search vet, coming to Yahoo itself via the Inktomi acquisition. Old timers remember Inktomi as one of the earliest search engines out there. His departure has apparently hurt Yahoo morale -- the internal email about that [...]

Microsoft & Yahoo Shuffle Business Internally

While Microsoft and Yahoo move further apart from creating Microhoo, they both continue to make changes internally with the intention of building out a better search company. reports Microsoft is restructuring their Search Business Group. Microsoft is adding a new group focused on commercial search. Leading the commercial search unit is Jeff Kelisky, the CEO of Multimap, who will be the general manager of this unit. That unit will be responsible for Live Search cashback, MSN Shopping, local, consumer mapping, Virtual Earth, and mobile. Jeff's boss is Brad Goldberg, the GM [...]

Yahoo Acquisition Architect Johnson Departs Microsoft

Kevin Johnson, who was arguably the primary architect of the now apparently failed Yahoo acquisition, is leaving Microsoft to run Juniper Networks. Simultaneously, the company is reorganizing the division that Johnson ran ("Platform Services") into two: Windows and Windows Live + Online Services. Here's the official Microsoft announcement from yesterday. The company announced no immediate replacement for Johnson. Instead, the existing group heads under Johnson will now report directly to CEO Steve Ballmer. Online Services Business (the group that includes search) breaks down into consumer f [...]

Microsoft’s Kevin Johnson Profiled By Fortune As “The Man Who Would Run Yahoo”

Microsoft's Kevin Johnson is perhaps the main strategist in the company's battle for online advertising dollars and in some sense driving the future of Microsoft as an entity. Fortune magazine interviews and profiles Johnson. Johnson runs the group that controls the Windows OS and online services, including Live Search. Toward the end of the article the discussion shifts to Johnson's desire to "disrupt" Google in search. The new Live Search Cashback program (the CPA ad model in particular) is an effort to do that. The Fortune piece suggests there will be other such "disruptive" moves coming. [...]

Microsoft’s Johnson: “Once Yahoo And Microsoft Agree On A Transaction”

This afternoon, Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft Platforms & Services Division, issued an email to Microsoft employees (that was released via its PR firm). The letter has a tone of confidence that assumes a deal with Yahoo will ultimately take place. It reiterates what Microsoft believes to be the benefits of that deal and looks beyond regulatory approval to integration issues. It downplays Yahoo resistance, potential culture conflicts between the companies, and potential layoffs, and focuses on an upbeat message about the future. Below is the full text of the email: I want to provide [...]

Gates On Yahoo Acquisition: It’s The Engineers We Want

CNET reports on Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates' speech at Stanford University yesterday in which he said that it wasn't the advertisers, the brand, or the traffic so much as the engineers that Microsoft wanted in the Yahoo acquisition. Of course, others in the company, including perhaps CEO Steve Ballmer, would say that the brand, advertiser relationships, and traffic are critical parts of the deal. But Gates stressed the engineering worker bees. That sure seems like an excessive amount of money for a bunch of engineering hires, but the message and speech may have been somewhat slanted, given [...]

Official: Microsoft Management Reorg Announced; Dueling Ad Groups?

We expected a management shuffle from Microsoft today, and now they've delivered it. The company has announced seven new senior vice presidents and seven new corporate vice presidents. I'll focus on the search and advertising front, where we now have two different senior vice presidents overseeing advertising. Best I can tell, one's looking after search ads, and the other will pick up everything else. From the release: Satya Nadella, senior vice president, Search, Portals & Advertising Group. Previously corporate vice president, Nadella will continue to lead Microsoft’s engineering [...]

Microsoft Executive Shuffle Goes “Live”

The anticipated Microsoft reorganization is now happening. We wrote about it previously with respect to the ouster of Steve Berkowitz. Some are speculating that these changes anticipate a future integration of Yahoo into the company. But Mary Jo Foley says they were in motion well before the announced bid. (NOTE: See Official: Microsoft Management Reorg Announced; Dueling Ad Groups? for the latest news on changes). CNET provides a good summary of who's in and who's out: The move will see three top executives--including two prominent outside hires--leaving the company. Exiting Microsoft are: [...]

Microsoft Live Search Core Relevance Program Management Director Eytan Seidman Moves On

Eytan Seidman, Program Management Director over core relevance for Microsoft Live Search, is leaving Microsoft (and Seattle) after six and a half years and heading to New York to work on a start up with his brother. I talked to him about life at Microsoft, the birth of Live Search, and singing karaoke in New Orleans. And don't miss the video tribute to Eytan at the end of the article! The core relevance team that Eytan managed includes crawling, indexing, and ranking for Live Search. And while he acknowledges that Live Search still has work to do in relevance, he's happy with the amount of [...]

Berkowitz Had Hoped To Turn Around Microsoft, But May Find Himself In “Turnaound”

According to CNET, Microsoft isn't waiting for the Yahoo acquisition to happen before it reorganizes. Several internal groups are slated for leadership change, and Steve Berkowitz, former CEO and current SVP of Online Services for Microsoft, is apparently part of the changes. After a successful run and rebranding at Ask, Berkowitz left in April 2006 to join Microsoft. He was interviewed by the San Jose Mercury News about his decision: I loved what I was doing at Ask but there was just a fundamental limitation to what I would be able to accomplish there in terms of my ability to infl [...]

Yahoo! Addresses The Troops (And So Does Microsoft)

With all the furor about Microsoft's potential acquisition of Yahoo!, how do the Yahoo! employees feel about the possibility? Top Yahoo! execs addressed employees on Friday and followed it up with a company-wide email. The email emphasizes that the bid was unsolicited, that no decisions have been made, and that Microsoft's proposal is one of many options the board is considering. Jerry Yang and Roy Bostock (the new non-executive chairman, after Terry Semel's departure last week) encourage employees to keep focusing on their core business and executing current strategy. The email reads [...]

Google Best Place To Work, According To Fortune Magazine

Fortune Magazine rated Google the best place to work in 2008. Google secured the top spot for a second year in a row because, as Fortune explains, "Google continued to mint millionaires as the stock cracked $700. The company gives stock options to 99% of employees." Microsoft made the list at number 86, and Yahoo made the list at number 87. [...]

Microsoft Business Division Head Raikes Retiring

President of the Microsoft Business Division, Jeff Raikes, is retiring and will be succeeded in that same role at the end of the month by Juniper Networks' COO Stephen Elop. The Business Division controls Microsoft Office, Unified Communications, and Microsoft Business Solutions. The announcement comes a day after news of Microsoft M&A chief Bruce Jaffe's departure. At one point, Raikes was considered by some to be a potential successor to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The Business Division is home to one of Microsoft's biggest revenue drivers: Microsoft Office. The role is a critical one for [...]

A Search Product CEO – Necessary To Win The Search Engine Game?

With Jim Lanzone being replaced as's CEO, I thought it time to do a piece that's been banging about in my head. Do successful search companies have to have CEOs or top execs who "grew up" from the search product side? The jury is probably still out, but it's interesting to look back at each of the major players and understand where those in charge have come from. Google No question -- both Google co-presidents Larry Page and Sergey Brin are search product folks. They literally built the first version of Google and were very involved with how the search engine developed in G [...]

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