Laid-off Microsoft employee explains how layoffs were announced

Last week, Microsoft announced that it would be laying off 18,000 employees. If you are wondering how the layoffs occurred, you can watch the video above to gain a better perspective on the process. As with any layoff, the process is never easy, and the video adds a human aspect to the cuts that Microsoft made last week..

The layoff portion of the video occurs in the first couple of minutes and goes exactly how you might expect it to occur at a mega-corporation like Microsoft. On the morning of July 17th, the company held a meeting with roughly 150 people in Redmond and announced the layoffs. The former employee in the video said that he had no idea that the layoffs were coming, although there were plenty of signs that the head count reduction was occurring based on rumors and Nadella's letter to the employees.

Upper management announced the layoffs, and as you would expect, it's never an easy process to let someone go. It is said that even the folks announcing the layoffs were upset about the process -- and understandably so -- but receiving the news is harder than giving it. 

The former employee in the video was laid off after 15 years at the company, so it wasn't only new heads that were cut for the acquisition of Nokia

Source: YouTube

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Verizon gives its FiOS customers a big (and free!) speed boost

Next Story

Apple unveils iTunes 12 beta, brings much needed improvements

66 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Hmmmmm this is no difference to how every company treats their staff. Ignore his son's story - businesses won't keep you on because of that.

Where I work, we often find out about layoffs on the news before work - yes, they let the media know before the staff. Rumours go around, the business denies it - then whammo it is all true.

Although I truly and honestly feel for this guy. It pretty much boils down to business, and nothing personal. It's hard to listen to a story like his and not let the personal feels take over.

I also feel that they may have laid this guy off via algorithm and probably lost a great asset. I try to tell people that I care about all the time, to always try and have a fall back plan of at least 3 months savings for situations just like this one.

Barnacles, I sincerely hope you land on your feet.

Good luck.

He needs to work on getting his subscriber count up. He's got several 500K-view videos, which are good for about $500 in revenue each, but many of his videos have less than 50K views.

I'm sure the layoff of veteran MS developers have a lot to do with something he mentioned-- his age. Developers at this age, if good, have really great skills by this point in their career, but they are also super expensive compared to readily available resources now overseas. The trend now in "big" software companies is to shed all these expensive older developers and replace them with either H1B visa workers here in the US, or replace them with an army of developers outsourced in India. The model is you have some "architects" here that basically tell the cheap labor step-by-step what to do. Developers in India cost less than 10% of what they cost here. It's about leveraging your assets to the max and getting the maximum return on the stock TODAY. Life is lived quarter-by-quarter. Long-term planning is near impossible with this mindset because long-term planning and execution runs opposite the mentality behind the scorched earth mentality held by the business majors running these companies. The guys running these companies are all mostly numbers men, bean counters, not visionaries. That is why these guys have been jumping all over the place in a convoluted, confused manner.

H1B workers by law have to be paid the same rate as an American. When you consider the fact that MS pays for the visa and relocates these people, it is actually more expensive to hire them.

nice video. however a 15 year tenure gives you an amazing severance package and comparing this guy to the people who lost their jobs in the great recession isn't really appropriate. He is by all standards given a silver parachute. Most workers with the same or worse needs get far less, if anything at all.

15 yrs at the company will have bought him a very decent severance package. If he is any good he should not have trouble finding a new job and I'm pretty sure he can sit on his *ss for months and still not notice the loss financially.

Never fun to have to go but when you do so with a healthy bank account picky yourself up and go find yourself a new job.. Or you risk justifying the reasons why you were the one let go.

Oh grow UP! I don't see any YouTube video of Steve Ballmer complaining about being canned by the board or disapproving of Nadella's new direction.

If the former CEO isn't whining, then you should not either. It is called "pro-fess-ional-ism."

Nas said,
Oh grow UP! I don't see any YouTube video of Steve Ballmer complaining about being canned by the board or disapproving of Nadella's new direction.

If the former CEO isn't whining, then you should not either. It is called "pro-fess-ional-ism."

lol so you think being a billionare who is STILL on the board of MSFT and the biggest single shareholder = 15 year engineer in test with a special needs kid.

Nas said,
Oh grow UP! I don't see any YouTube video of Steve Ballmer complaining about being canned by the board or disapproving of Nadella's new direction.

If the former CEO isn't whining, then you should not either. It is called "pro-fess-ional-ism."


I feel like it's April Fool's Day... These comments are on the verge of being unbelievable.

Maybe I've set my expectations too high...

neonspark said,

lol so you think being a billionare who is STILL on the board of MSFT and the biggest single shareholder = 15 year engineer in test with a special needs kid.

Your words, not mine.

However, I'm not a fan of whining by anybody regarding anything at all. Whining is an instant turn-off and folks who whine should get a swift kick in the butt... on principle.

Thank you Nadella for cleaning up the mess that is MS! This human worked on 3 Windows disasters, ME, Vista, 8, it's no wonder why he's getting shown the door. This human's MS job is SDET (bug testing) which shouldn't be needed if the other humans working at MS are writing good code. Apple and Google dont have SDET so why does MS? It's clear MS grown too big and Nadella is cleaning up Ballmer mess which starts with getting rid of SDET's and middle managment. Maybe this human could leak some info on Win9 now that he's layed off.

WinMetro said,
Thank you Nadella for cleaning up the mess that is MS! This human worked on 3 Windows disasters, ME, Vista, 8, it's no wonder why he's getting shown the door. This human's MS job is SDET (bug testing) which shouldn't be needed if the other humans working at MS are writing good code. Apple and Google dont have SDET so why does MS? It's clear MS grown too big and Nadella is cleaning up Ballmer mess which starts with getting rid of SDET's and middle managment. Maybe this human could leak some info on Win9 now that he's layed off.

If you honestly think Apple and Google don't have people internally doing the job of an SDET, you really aren't that smart.

I hate windows 8 just because of the direction microsoft is going. I understand that they trying to streamline everything. but it still hurts to see people lose there jobs.

how can I enjoy a product knowing people where layed off?


feeling emotional about this. want do something about it. but cant.

how can I enjoy a product knowing people where layed off?

So you live in a shack that you built wearing clothes that you made yourself?

Every company has laid off employees at some point of time and it's even more common when companies merge.

-Razorfold said,

So you live in a shack that you built wearing clothes that you made yourself?

Every company has laid off employees at some point of time and it's even more common when companies merge.

maybe I do live in a shack with self made cloths

dsbig said,
I hate windows 8 just because of the direction microsoft is going. I understand that they trying to streamline everything. but it still hurts to see people lose there jobs.

how can I enjoy a product knowing people where layed off?


feeling emotional about this. want do something about it. but cant.


The UI/Shell is only a minute portion of the OS. You speak as though the rest of the improvements of Windows 8 over Windows 7 mean nothing. You're total lack of understanding of anything to do with operating systems is showing.

dsbig said,
how can I enjoy a product knowing people where layed off?

I agree 100%. Perhaps you'll join me in boycotting food in protest against all those migrant farmers who get laid off in California every year? Or maybe not.

Major_Plonquer said,

I agree 100%. Perhaps you'll join me in boycotting food in protest against all those migrant farmers who get laid off in California every year? Or maybe not.

or just boycott food from california....

Major_Plonquer said,

The UI/Shell is only a minute portion of the OS. You speak as though the rest of the improvements of Windows 8 over Windows 7 mean nothing. You're total lack of understanding of anything to do with operating systems is showing.

lol. actually I totally understand the system.... I just talk too much trash

dsbig said,

feeling emotional about this. want do something about it. but cant.

Do what many of us that have been let down by Microsoft do, speak with your wallet and boycott their products

"They were passionate. If I see that come back to the company and I don't just see fear and I don't see Yes men. I will return to Microsoft. I have an itch that needs to be scratched to see Windows returned to its former glory in the eye of the consumers like you guys. Arguably, Windows 7 was the greatest Windows we have ever shipped and I'll stand behind that. And Windows 8? The customers absolutely hated it because of the UI experience, but to be honest the underlying components of the operating system were amazingly better than Windows 7."

Barnacules... making the IMPORTANT statements.

Oh blah blah blah, he's not the person to be laid off from a company and he won't be the last regardless if that company is Microsoft, he just need to get over the self loathing and move on.

Anyone else feel that he rambled on a bit, that 19 min video could be done in 5 mins.

But I do agree partly what he said about Microsoft, I guess time will tell.

This guy has leaked some of things that have been under development in a way or another, I really feel sad for his son and family, but he should have been fired earlier!

He clearly stated that he's not with the new direction of Microsoft too! Remember Tony Bates CEO of Skype kicked out for the same reason.

I don't think it was randomly layoff just for the sake of decreasing number, but to get only the right people for the new direction.

Ostronyx said,
He clearly stated that he's not with the new direction of Microsoft too!

lol and he is surprised of why he was let go? if he's airing this stuff on youtube, makes you wonder if he was airing this stuff at the office as well.

Ostronyx said,
This guy has leaked some of things that have been under development in a way or another, I really feel sad for his son and family, but he should have been fired earlier!

He clearly stated that he's not with the new direction of Microsoft too! Remember Tony Bates CEO of Skype kicked out for the same reason.

I don't think it was randomly layoff just for the sake of decreasing number, but to get only the right people for the new direction.


If Microsoft cared about what he was doing, he would have been fired a long time ago. Please don't assume Microsoft takes issue with the same things you do.

Also, you don't always have to be in favor of a company's direction. Work is work, companies are companies; this isn't some blind faith religion here...

Ostronyx said,
Remember Tony Bates CEO of Skype kicked out for the same reason.

Bates was not "kicked out"; he was in the running for CEO and when it didn't happen he bolted, plain and simple.

How sad.

I am a former Android user now using Windows Phone. I spoke with a lady at work today with a Galaxy 4, It dies within 6 hours of use??! It is slow, battery sucking, insecure, yet everyone uses it because everyone uses it.

In other words it is the MS of old ala Windows 3.x/DOS. Now windows phone is like OS/2 better but unknown with little apps. I do not like folks leaving the Windows platform.

sinetheo said,
I spoke with a lady at work today with a Galaxy 4, It dies within 6 hours of use??! It is slow, battery sucking, insecure, yet everyone uses it because everyone uses it.
Hope you didn't play dumb (as a fanboy would have have in this case). I would have at least attempted to restart her phone, shown her how to disable wireless communications (when not required), and also demonstrated how to close background apps. Yes, there are poorly written apps out there. Is it Google's fault? No. I even do online banking on my Android occasionally, and have never run into any issues (over the two years I have owned it).

The S4 is a good phone (I know many users who have also NEVER had any issues), but I'm not a Samsung fan.

Enjoy your high-contrast themed Window Phone.

68k said,
Hope you didn't play dumb (as a fanboy would have have in this case). I would have at least attempted to restart her phone, shown her how to disable wireless communications (when not required), and also demonstrated how to close background apps. Yes, there are poorly written apps out there. Is it Google's fault? No. I even do online banking on my Android occasionally, and have never run into any issues (over the two years I have owned it).

The S4 is a good phone (I know many users who have also NEVER had any issues), but I'm not a Samsung fan.

Enjoy your high-contrast themed Window Phone.

I will enjoy it. Windows Phone doesn't have this problem because the apis are better

Enron said,
He's going to develop stuff for Android and iOS now instead of Windows Phones.

he didn't said instead. please stop making this up. he said he will ALSO be able to develop for that if he wants to.

6 hours? That's debatable, depends on the users habits. what she or he has running. I get easily 12 hours with light use. not rooted or using a custom recovery. Many users complain about battery life but do not realize the simple ways of conserving battery life.

Enron said,
He's going to develop stuff for Android and iOS now instead of Windows Phones.

So... basically focusing on what Microsoft already focuses on? :p

Also, @68k, the whole thing about Android and battery life really depends on your phone, usage, and other variables. Doesn't take a tool to figure that one out though, but whatever helps keep your weak biased arguments afloat... :rolleyes:

Not surprised. And to be honest, some may find him funny, but I felt it was odd that he was talking about private company stuff publically on YouTube... that's like asking to be canned (and possibly sued depending on his agreement). I don't really know the value he brought to the table and I don't know him personally and he might be good at his job, but I'm glad they're cutting out the excess so the company can move faster. I'm sure this guy can get a new job quickly too.

none of what he said was private. everything was announced. The only part he said something we didn't know was that they put 150 people in a room and let them go. Yet that is not really sensitive information.

These layoff's are not always performance based. They may be trimming or eliminating a part of business and you happen to be unluckily part of that group. But nonetheless, you are given a chance to seek employment within other groups in the company which are growing despite the layoff's. So it's not like all 18000 would be leaving Microsoft.

As with any layoff, the process is never easy [...] as you would expect, it's never an easy process to let someone go [...] but receiving the news is harder than giving it. 

What's with the string of empty platitudes?

Mr. Dee said,
Least he could do was clean out his nose before putting his face on YouTube

Well, you found the reason why he was fired.

I watched the whole vid and this is really out of order. 15 years of good work and they fire him. You always fall upwards at MS though - do poor work and you'll get a promotion.

If MS are firing all these guys that have "saved the Windows project" then i'm worried about the future of Windows.

Error1 said,
I watched the whole vid and this is really out of order. 15 years of good work and they fire him.

"Fire" usually refers to letting someone go with cause. This is a layoff, or "reduction in force". Basically they're restructuring the way engineering is done at the company (mainly to be more like competitors). As a result, certain disciplines don't need to be staffed as heavily as they were. It's really unfortunate for those affected, but on the bright side, it's a good time to be in the tech industry, and finding a new job won't be difficult for most of them.

You always fall upwards at MS though - do poor work and you'll get a promotion.

That really is not true. There may be exceptional cases but in general (at least the divisions I was in), most promotions were well earned.

On the bright side, our manager told us that he normally receives 2 applications per week. Between Thursday and Sunday, he received 20. There are plenty of other opportunities in the company and as Brandon said, this is all about restructuring and removing departments that had a way higher head count than was needed in the new order.

Brandon Live said,
"Fire" usually refers to letting someone go with cause. This is a layoff, or "reduction in force". Basically they're restructuring the way engineering is done at the company (mainly to be more like competitors). As a result, certain disciplines don't need to be staffed as heavily as they were. It's really unfortunate for those affected, but on the bright side, it's a good time to be in the tech industry, and finding a new job won't be difficult for most of them.

That really is not true. There may be exceptional cases but in general (at least the divisions I was in), most promotions were well earned.

True but with that being said I just had a look at the video and at least where I stand the announcement of the layoff and how quickly it took place was pretty abrupt - announcement in the week then suddenly in the same week people are let go. Don't get me wrong, I think that Microsoft has a lot of bloat but they could have done it in such a way that it allows people time to reapply for a job outside of Microsoft and move on rather than a sudden "you're no longer needed, pack your bags and bugger off" which seems to be what was said.

Btw, I feel sorry for his son - what he talked about is the best example of why healthcare should be a public good that is funded by taxes rather than something linked to ones employment.

Edited by Mr Nom Nom's, Jul 22 2014, 6:38am :

Error1 said,
I watched the whole vid and this is really out of order. 15 years of good work and they fire him. You always fall upwards at MS though - do poor work and you'll get a promotion.

If MS are firing all these guys that have "saved the Windows project" then i'm worried about the future of Windows.


I think it's more likely they're shedding the guys who took the world's most successful mobile phone company and bankrupted it.

Major_Plonquer said,

I think it's more likely they're shedding the guys who took the world's most successful mobile phone company and bankrupted it.

Please don't blame the engineers for the f******* management made and I include past and present management for f****** up what was a world leading company.

Major_Plonquer said,

I think it's more likely they're shedding the guys who took the world's most successful mobile phone company and bankrupted it.

Maybe try watching the video before making a stupid comment. 150 people on the Windows division lost their jobs. They had nothing to do with Nokia.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

True but with that being said I just had a look at the video and at least where I stand the announcement of the layoff and how quickly it took place was pretty abrupt - announcement in the week then suddenly in the same week people are let go. Don't get me wrong, I think that Microsoft has a lot of bloat but they could have done it in such a way that it allows people time to reapply for a job outside of Microsoft and move on rather than a sudden "you're no longer needed, pack your bags and bugger off" which seems to be what was said.

This is the correct and best way to do layoff.

When layoffs are announced, everyone is scared and the employees are disturbed and distressed. This needs to be resolved immediately and not dragged on for weeks. For both people being let go and the people who stay.

The people who are let go from big corps like this get a package, usually one week of salary per year (in some places it's the law). So if you get let go today with 15 years of experience, you leave work that day but then you're still employed for the lengh of your remaining vacations, which may be from 1 to 4 weeks at MFST, plus accumulated weeks if have any. Then you get salary for 15 weeks! So you may end up with 6 month of pay. Plus the placement agency are called by the company, on site that day, and will contact you towards the end of you package period.

There is no good way to get layed off, but I can tell you by my corporate experience that telling someone he's going to lose his job but asking him to continue to work for a few weeks rarely works well. Most people are too ashamed to show up to work, or angry to work at all. Immediate termination is tough but better so the mourning can start as soon as possible (and in some case, not happen in public) I've had colleagues who gave up their packages because they wanted to leave immediately.
Getting layed off is, along with death, the most dramatic event in someone's life and it takes a year at least to get over.

Edited by ulric, Jul 22 2014, 12:43pm :

Major_Plonquer said,

I think it's more likely they're shedding the guys who took the world's most successful mobile phone company and bankrupted it.

you mean Nokia took years to react to iOS and Android with crappy old symbian and you blame this on MSFT?

neonspark said,

you mean Nokia took years to react to iOS and Android with crappy old symbian and you blame this on MSFT?


Do you mean MSFT? The company that dethrone Palm and then ended up making the same exact mistakes and let WM stagnate, even killing Photon, and then had to go in the emergency mode and throw away the baby, WM, with the dirty water in the attempt to regain the wasted time?

Mr Nom Nom's said,

True but with that being said I just had a look at the video and at least where I stand the announcement of the layoff and how quickly it took place was pretty abrupt - announcement in the week then suddenly in the same week people are let go. Don't get me wrong, I think that Microsoft has a lot of bloat but they could have done it in such a way that it allows people time to reapply for a job outside of Microsoft and move on rather than a sudden "you're no longer needed, pack your bags and bugger off" which seems to be what was said.

Btw, I feel sorry for his son - what he talked about is the best example of why healthcare should be a public good that is funded by taxes rather than something linked to ones employment.

Any laid-off MS employee gets one month of full pay, and health benefits for all dependents, for each year of service. The first four weeks of which they are all allowed to stay at work and look for another job at MS. And even after they must leave, they can still avail themselves of the same access to internal job postings and openings. Despite the lay offs, MS perpetually has over 10K in open positions at any one time.

My husband worked for Windows for 11 years and was also laid off last week. It wasn't just one meeting with 150 people that were let go. It was multiple meetings and over 1300 people were let go.

Edited by natalie918, Jul 22 2014, 10:27pm :

natalie918 said,
My husband worked for Windows for 11 years and was also laid off last week. It wasn't just one meeting with 150 people that were let go. It was multiple meetings and over 1300 people were let go.

Sorry to hear that. I had no idea it was that many, i've not seen anywhere report that yet.

Software developer for Windows gets the boot? I can't say any Windows product released recently has persuaded me to open my wallet and buy it. Writing was on the wall I'd say.