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Microsoft Hiring Freeze: Is an Anonymous Blogger Driving Strategy in Redmond?

December 2nd, 2008 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

The elusive blogger known as Mini Microsoft has advocated the following for years:

Let’s slim down Microsoft into a lean, mean, efficient customer pleasing profit making machine! Mini-Microsoft, Mini-Microsoft, lean-and-mean!

I’ve always felt that many of the writings of this anonymous MS employee seem to echo the notion that nine women can’t produce a baby in one month. In other words, headcount doesn’t correlate very well to innovation and performance.

Meanwhile Microsoft took the approach that the more soldiers you have, the better your army. A seemingly perpetual hiring binge was the result.

This has led to a critical response. Employees commenting at the site say a metastasizing headcount means products designed by committees. This results in respectable offerings (but commercial flops) like the Zune and LiveSearch. One hilarious video captures this thinking.

It appears that Microsoft may be rethinking the strategy of unbridled growth, and may be moving toward what Mini advocates. This from the Post Intelligencer today:

“…Q2 is likely to be a transition quarter and we do not expect any incremental hiring in the back half of (fiscal year 2009). In absence of fresh hiring, any natural attrition within the employee base could result in headcount declining” in the second half of the year, Holt wrote.

The company has said it will cut as much as $500 million from its budget, in part by reducing growth in the ranks of its employees.

Shareholders and consumers are not the only people likely to benefit from a successful “Mini” strategy. Current denizens of Redmond will likely welcome a respite from the ongoing degradation of driving conditions (notably on Avondale) and other concerns related to the local infrastructure being overwhelmed by unbridled development. Construction firms may feel the pain though. The desired conversion of downtown Redmond into what some refer to as an “ant farm” will no doubt be delayed by this move.


1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Jason Preston // Dec 5, 2008 at 11:08 am

    Sounds to me like an expand-and-contract strategy might work for Microsoft.

    From 20,000 feet it might look like MSFT conquered the desktop, realized that it wasn’t an endless business, and went nuts while they had cash trying to find something new to focus on.

    Now they’re going to start narrowing down on the things that have potential to work. Zune and Xbox comes to mind.

    Looked at from that perspective, MSFT might not be as dumb as people give it credit for.

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