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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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work