Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Microsoft Layoffs, Hiring, and Offshoring

There have been a lot of interesting comments posted over the past week
or two. Additionally, my RSS searches have picked up a few interesting posts
out there:

There's a bit of perspective in "href="http://romsteady.blogspot.com/2004/09/microsoft-layoffs-and-location.h
tml">Microsoft, Layoffs, and Location" regarding what seems to be a
layoff game at Microsoft that favors the Redmond groups that are cut. I
don't want any favoring, cost-saving or no. I just want the cuts. (There
have been even more mambsy-pamsby cuts this past week I learned about over
lunch. After they are announced I'll rant some more about more ill-conceived
money saving.)

This part represents some of the poor thinking
going on as we are being penny-wise:

If Microsoft won't
spend $20 to restock the office supply room with pencils, what makes you
think that Microsoft will spend $600 to fly an employee up to Redmond to
interview them? The only way that you're going to get moved is if you are
extremely better than the people competing in Redmond AND better than any
potential recruits from outside. I've actually been in interview loops where
someone was selected...not because they were the best, but because they
would have to spend a massive amount of money to relocate the best.

Because it's so easy to hire Microsoft-quality
developers, right?

The Scoble post "href="http://radio.weblogs.com/0001011/2004/09/23.html#a8291">Zef says
Microsoft can't hire great programmers" (href="http://www.zefhemel.com/archives/2004/09/22/hiring-great-programmers">
Zef's link) brings up one truth I've seen since the internet bubble:
Microsoft has a really hard time hiring quality people. We go hunting for
them in the wilds of East Europe. Why don't people want to come to work for

My take: because we're big, boring, and too entangled in
each other's business. We are now IBM. We spackle in process to make up for
the gaps in intellectual progress. Perhaps I have a snazzy new web app idea.
There's no way I could incubate that into something that would ever see the
light of phosphor as a Microsoft-brand. I'd have to hook Passport up to it,
and then glom some sort of MSN story on-top of it. No, we might say how we
need to be quick and agile and deft, but then we end up spending 1000% of
our time trying to justify it.

So, if you can't hire Microsoft
developers for Redmond, send the work to India, right? See "href="http://reindeer.radioleft.com/blog/_archives/2004/7/29/114258.html">Mi
crosoft's India workforce doubles, Americans lose 2,000 jobs." I
know about code being moved to India. Can't talk about because I'm sure it
would get me in big trouble. Basically, existing applications and code are
being moved to India for maintenance and improvement. And yes, those Redmond
groups are then looking for new positions. Fine by me, though India is not
infinite in the capacity they can take. But there is an active
de-Redmond-ization of Microsoft in progress. The global Company Meeting was
part of that mind-shift.

Finally, in href="http://dotnetjunkies.com/WebLog/paul/archive/2004/09/20/26169.aspx">Ho
w would you run Microsoft?
we get the suggestion:

would fire 90% of Microsoft's Marketing staff because they really have no
understanding of Marketing or Technology. Marketing is all about creating
NEW products that will sell, so if you want to do Marketing for Microsoft
you should be knowledgeable about software development. The Patterns and
Practice Group and the Developer Evangelists are the best thing Microsoft
has done to "turn the company around", Marketing should also go through this
regenerative process.


followed up by:

With all the savings from firing the
Marketing crowd I would hire 10,000 Developers and get to work on Win-FS
because it's needed and I love a challenge.

I would establish a
second Microsoft Campus in North West New Jersey, the first Technology State
because it's at the center of the North East corridor: MA to VA. Microsoft
needs a presence in the North East, their small little satellite offices
just haven't had an impact.

Hire 10,000? Who? Where?
Jersey? What are we, IBM?

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