Today, Microsoft announced that it had delivered layoff notices to 3,000 employees across several divisions (1,200 in Washington state). This comes just months after an initial round of 1,400 who were let go when Microsft announced second quarter earnings. At that time, Microsoft said it planned to eliminate 5,000 jobs this year, and Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer said that today’s news was phase two of that plan (with the remainder planned for sometime before June 2010 and “as quickly as possible”).
However, Steve Ballmer didn’t rule out additional layoffs. In an internal memo, he said:
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.
No word on what departments were hit, although an anonymous comment to the Mini-Microsoft blog claimed that no layoffs happened in Live Search and in fact, they have been given extra headcount while Windows was heavily affected. Another anonymous commenter claimed that entire groups in MSN were eliminated. Others reported that several groups within Microsoft Advertising were impacted.
If MSN was indeed hit, that move seems a bit shortsighted as a large portion of Microsoft’s search traffic still seems to come through MSN rather than Live Search. Seems that Microsoft should focus on making an attractive property even more attractive if since it accounts for so much of its valuable search traffic.
So far, little concrete has been announced about how these cuts impact Microsoft’s product plans, but you can follow the disccussion on Techmeme.