Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Non-News From Microsoft: More Layoffs–If the Economy Tanks Again

ballmerFile this one under “hard to say it’s news”: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says the company would consider more layoffs–if the economy falls off another cliff.

From The Wall Street Journal:

“Microsoft Corp. may re-evaluate its plans for job cuts, its chief executive said Tuesday, suggesting more reductions could be in store if the U.S. economic downturn worsens.

‘In case the situation gets dramatically worse in the U.S., we will have to rework’ our plan, Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said at a news conference without elaborating.”

Here’s one reason why Ballmer didn’t feel the need to elaborate: He said the exact same thing last week.

Here’s the quote, from a companywide memo distributed when Microsoft (MSFT) announced its second phase of mass layoffs:

“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.”

To reiterate: Ballmer, whose company has remained dour about the economy even as investors and other forecasters (like Rupert Murdoch) have shown more optimism, refuses to say he’s done firing people for the year. But he’s not saying he will fire more people. My hunch: If you ask him next week, he’ll say the same thing.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik