Microsoft reportedly plans to lay off hundreds of employees

Microsoft may be looking to make some changes in its marketing division which unfortunately may include layoffs for hundreds of its employees. Bloomberg reports, via unnamed sources, that the final plans have not yet been set in stone and may still change. The first actions as a result of these plans could happen in the next 30 days, according to the report.

Microsoft is reportedly making these changes to its marketing division to eliminate some job overlap and also to better respond to its competitors such as Apple. The report claims that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer doesn't feel that the company is currently getting the best return for the money it spends on marketing. In the company's last fiscal year Microsoft spent $13.9 billion on sales and marketing.

If Microsoft does end up laying off workers as a result of the marketing division restructuring, it would only be the second time in the company's history that Microsoft said good bye to a large number of its team members at once. In 2009, at the height of the economic crisis, Microsoft laid off a total of 5,000 employees.

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It's not the product or the marketing... it's the messed past created by Bill Gates. Poor quality softwares and arrogance created a bad feeling about MS work. Now it's not easy to get out from this situation.

Normally I'd feel bad about people losing their jobs, but since marketing is really the one thing holding MS back...well...they won't be missed.

More to the point, MS' bigger issue is that they're not the "cool" company. This is mainly because you can't rule this industry for as long as they did and still be "cool". Having a 20 year run at the top kinda makes you the "establishment". No one likes the "establishment".

I agree with most of the posts here. It's always sad to see people loose their jobs, but MS should go further and just sack the whole lot at marketing.

MS has loads of great products, but they have never managed to market them properly.
If you compare there marketing to Apple it's just sad.

I always feel sad after seeing a MS commercial on tv and i actually like their stuff

Please, yes, bring some fresh meat into this obsolete marketing department and strategists.
I just can't believe it took so long to finaly understand how so "passé" these people are.

MS has huge problems and it is not just marketing, I expect that marketing will help with Windows Phone but Marketing won't help where MS is way late to the game re mobile Post PC in general.

MS dropped the ball on their phone OS and were hammered by RIM and Apple. MS have no consumer tablet OS and before they do the iPad 3 will most likely be released. In the last 10 years the only real innovation from MS has been the XBox.

MS needs to just gut their marketing department and restart it... it was just full of people that figured they had a job no mater what and seemed to give little effort in actual marketing... Apple's marketing stands out, MS's marketing kinda fades into the background while some OEM takes all the front light... they need to start promoting theirself not letting OEM's do it as a commercial in a commercial type of marketing ad

neufuse said,
MS needs to just gut their marketing department and restart it... it was just full of people that figured they had a job no mater what and seemed to give little effort in actual marketing... Apple's marketing stands out, MS's marketing kinda fades into the background while some OEM takes all the front light... they need to start promoting theirself not letting OEM's do it as a commercial in a commercial type of marketing ad

No what MSFT needs is to fire the buffoon at the top. That's the first step, clean house of Ballmer and his cronies. The second step is decouple the Microsoft divisions and make them sink or swim on their own merits. Third, it won't matter anyway it's too late. We live in an Apple world.

KingCrimson said,

No what MSFT needs is to fire the buffoon at the top. That's the first step, clean house of Ballmer and his cronies. The second step is decouple the Microsoft divisions and make them sink or swim on their own merits. Third, it won't matter anyway it's too late. We live in an Apple world.

I agree that the company needs someone with a vision to lead the company and also that the idea of let divisions inside the company to compete against one another is good.......... as long as it is supervised by a smart and efficient top management; in this case was not and "competing" attitude turned in to a "Predatory" one.

I do not agree about your last statement though: There are people, me included, who do not live in an Apple World and do not want to do it. Now if MS could help...........

I always said the worst thing about Microsoft was their abysmal marketing. Maybe they'll finally fix it.

looking at their recent efforts at everything but Windows 7, its pretty clear that someone failed. Since I've seen next to no Zune/Windows mobile advertising in my "circles", and since neither have done well in sales, I think its pretty safe to place the blame in large part on them.

I thought MS always outsourced their marketing campaigns, at least I always seem to see a different company's name attached in MS products' marketing campaigns.

I hate for anyone to lose their job, but if this will create better marketing for Microsoft, I say go for it. Currently, the marketing isn't very good. They have to do what they have to do in order to compete. That's the nature of the beast. Now, if they hire new people and marketing still is subpar, I don't know what's going on over there.

Shame to see jobs lost but hopefully this will allow them to focus better. With less cooks in the kitchen (as they say) perhaps they can come up with some really great (and consistent) marketing. One of the things I've loved about Apple's marketing is they tend to stick with a style for several years (at least). Microsoft is all over the map.

They should probably just let go their entire marketing department and just buy some high rated marketing company to take their place.

I have two huge complaints of Microsoft...

1) Steve Ballmer is a bad CEO that focuses on profit rather than letting projects create a solid foundation. (Luckily Gates has been yanked back in a bit by the board to ensure some of the stupid crap Ballmer has done is stopping.)

2) Microsoft Marketing is horrible, and beyond sad... They have no real PR and no sense of consumer marketing. I don't expect them to use mind manipulation techniques like Apple does, but they should at least know their own products.


So I'm not sad to see this get a revamp, and hopefully they will get a good group that understands the technology they are selling and maybe Microsoft will take credit for some of the unseen technologies they have brought to the world as well.

It is really sad to see a Microsoft Marketing produced 'Tip' or Commercial that doesn't have a clue about the technology itself. There are right now Marketing produced 'help' videos on Microsoft's Site that show users the most complex way to do things. For example they will take the user 'out' of what they are doing, and lead them to the Start - Control Panel - etc with a long list of crap when they could just say 'hey just right click on it and select this'...

Several years ago when Microsoft brought in a pool of new engineers that were better about explaining detailed technology like Mark Russinovich, it was evident then how fragmented Microsoft's own development divisions were and even more insane how out of touch the Marketing and Sales levels were with the technologies.

Microsoft literally brought in Mark Russinovich and his writing partner to 'teach' the upper level developers how and why NT worked and what was brilliant about it, and how to work with the NT OS instead of 'recreating' stuff that was already happening and only an object call away.

It was during this time the 'disconnect' was scary, because NT is complicated, but the sales team and marketing were horribly ignorant about features of Windows Vista, at a time when they had input on 'breaking' apart the various editions.

It was sad, as they ripped out 'previous versions' in the Home Premium edition of Vista, and it took them to when Windows 7 was released to 'realize' that 'previous versions' was like Apple's Time Machine, except, it did far more than just backup level versioning, as it also did shadow copy on volume versioning.

If they hadn't of ripped it out of the Home Premium version of Vista, Microsoft could have responded with Ads, like, "Oh ya, Vista has been doing this for almost a year now, and we also do it better" when Apple released Time Machine that gained a lot of press. (Even when Windows 7 was released, the marketing team didn't touch feature or tout it to consumers, nor will you find it explained or compared to Time Machine, which it should.)


There are also the tons of technical and engineering contributions to the world, that Microsoft never has talked about. How many people here realize that Microsoft beat both Intel and AMD to the first high level CPU/GPU integrated SoC design? Which Intel and AMD both have borrowed technology from Microsoft to incorporate in their products? (Its in the newer XBox 360s, and a lot of people have one in their house, and in the hardware engineer world, the people that know, consider Microsoft hardware engineers to be amazing because of work like this.) How many people know that Microsoft changed how GPUs work, and designed the core GPU model that all chips from Intel, AMD, and NVidia still use?

I don't think Microsoft needs to break their policy about bloviating too much about some of their work, but it wouldn't hurt to do a series of BASF commericials, showing an iPad, an Android, a PC, a Mac, a TV, and Medical equipment, and going, we didn't make these, but we made the technolgies that make these possible.

thenetavenger said,
I have two huge complaints of Microsoft...

1) Steve Ballmer is a bad CEO that focuses on profit rather than letting projects create a solid foundation. (Luckily Gates has been yanked back in a bit by the board to ensure some of the stupid crap Ballmer has done is stopping.)

2) Microsoft Marketing is horrible, and beyond sad... They have no real PR and no sense of consumer marketing. I don't expect them to use mind manipulation techniques like Apple does, but they should at least know their own products.


So I'm not sad to see this get a revamp, and hopefully they will get a good group that understands the technology they are selling and maybe Microsoft will take credit for some of the unseen technologies they have brought to the world as well.

It is really sad to see a Microsoft Marketing produced 'Tip' or Commercial that doesn't have a clue about the technology itself. There are right now Marketing produced 'help' videos on Microsoft's Site that show users the most complex way to do things. For example they will take the user 'out' of what they are doing, and lead them to the Start - Control Panel - etc with a long list of crap when they could just say 'hey just right click on it and select this'.

I have to agree with you on both counts here:

Mr. Ballmer is a bean counter, nothing wrong with this attitude but simply put a bean counter cannot be the CEO of a company; in order to lead a company you need a vision, he does not have one.......

I still remember when MS ditched "Small Business Accounting", a financial software aimed at small companies and to competing with QuickBooks. The software was never properly advertised or promoted, MS never tried to push it into the hands of CPAs and after just few years they dropped it leaving such a huge market to Intuit.

This episode perfectly portrait both the problems you mentioned:

Lack of vision
A not functioning Marketing Division

Said that I would also add that there are some issues also in the way the company communicate among its divisions:
If you are a software engineer you are both aware of what both your OS and the one assembled by the competition can do; what you should do is to highlight to the marketing guys what both your strong points and your weak ones are so that they can prepare a campaign to maximize the formers and contain the latters.
Of course this, as well as the points you mentioned before, should be something grabbing the attention of the CEO who should quickly fix the situation.

Unfortunately "The fish always start to stink from the head"..................

"The report claims that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer doesn't feel that the company is currently getting the best return for the money it spends on marketing."
---
So Steve finally realized what so many outside of MS have known for years. Better late then never.

knighthawk said,
So Steve finally realized what so many outside of MS have known for years. Better late then never.

They should get big inflatable Steve Ballmers and put them at every computer store in America, kind of like the inflatable gorillas they put at car dealerships.

Well they have managed to fix all of their products in the last 5 years, it's time to fix the one with the worst problem now. Fire all of them and start over like you did with the phone. And while your at it, put some edge on that stuff.

greenwizard88 said,
This doesn't surprise me. Their marketing department is so bad, laying off hundreds of people may as well as be a PR stunt

LOL!

Great, that's just what we need, more layoffs....they spent 13.9 billion in a year for marketing and sales but they can't afford a couple million for a few hundred people.

shiny_red_cobra said,
Great, that's just what we need, more layoffs....they spent 13.9 billion in a year for marketing and sales but they can't afford a couple million for a few hundred people.

Did you read the article? How does this (below) not address what you just said?

Microsoft is reportedly making these changes to its marketing division to eliminate some job overlap and also to better respond to its competitors such as Apple.

shiny_red_cobra said,
Great, that's just what we need, more layoffs....they spent 13.9 billion in a year for marketing and sales but they can't afford a couple million for a few hundred people.

The one problem with microsoft is no one knows about their products until they have been out for atleast a year or 2.. They have been huge marketing failures.. KIN, Windows Phone 7, Windows 7, Zune HD, Xbox..

I say things like windows 7 because average people do actively get it.. they just get it when they get a new laptop cause there old ones break.. I bet more people know about the iPad 3 then they do about windows 8..

I show my windows phone/ zune hd / windows 7 laptop.. and people say things like "there is a new version of windows?".. "Is a zune hd like an ipod?".. "I have never heard of windows phone.."

I feel like a walking billboard for microsoft products.. Even my GF wants an android phone just because they have ones that are white, and thinks the software is the same..

Lachlan said,

The one problem with microsoft is no one knows about their products until they have been out for atleast a year or 2.. They have been huge marketing failures.. KIN, Windows Phone 7, Windows 7, Zune HD, Xbox..

I say things like windows 7 because average people do actively get it.. they just get it when they get a new laptop cause there old ones break.. I bet more people know about the iPad 3 then they do about windows 8..

I show my windows phone/ zune hd / windows 7 laptop.. and people say things like "there is a new version of windows?".. "Is a zune hd like an ipod?".. "I have never heard of windows phone.."

I feel like a walking billboard for microsoft products.. Even my GF wants an android phone just because they have ones that are white, and thinks the software is the same..


O yeah the worst one was I had my Zune HD next to my phone and a friend asked why I had 2 phones. I talked to someone in the enterprise side of MS and he said the problem is MS and their marketing take the stance that their product will sell itself. Which it pretty much does, all those new computers in the fall will have 8 and not 7. And others will slowly make the change. For the OS that can work though, for WP7 if they don't step up their game it will go the way of the Zune.