Layoffs Aren't the Right Route for Redmond

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Redmond, you've got too much to do so don't be listening to Wall Street's calls to start laying off people. No disrespect to the analysts, but a big round of layoffs is that last thing Microsoft needs distracting it from the work at hand. Plus, telling 10% of your workforce sayonara so Wall Streeters can make $0.10 more per share will do more damage to your employee base and the new Ray Ozzie-driven momentum you built up than a short term bump of ten cents per share. Wall Streeters need to get real and clean out their own house anyway.

In 2009 Microsoft needs to deliver on sooo many things, which if you do, sets up Microsoft for many more years of success. Here's just a small preview of what you need to get done in 2009.

Windows Azure: Fully launch it and make it a big success. Show us this is more than just a late second entry into the cloud market and really smash this one out of the park. We know it's one of Ozzie's top projects and Microsoft has been dropping some serious $ change to build data centers. Windows 7: The build 7000 beta is already hitting the BitTorrent airwaves and the PDC pre-beta has impressed almost everyone. Great start to getting a good release of "less is more" Windows OS to us.Online Web Office apps: What you showed at PDC 2008 was more than just webified Office apps, you took it to a new level of collaboration. That was impressive. Windows Live Services, SkyDrive, Office Live and all those other online services: Lets see them really come to fruition this year.

Microsoft "Dublin": .Microsoft does a nice job of bringing it all together and .NET 4.0 needs to keep making that happen along with Visual Studio 2010. Geneva Server: Yes, we like the team you're building and what you're doing with claims-based Shared Token Servers and OpenID, so keep the momentum happening so we don't have to ship user/password files around between online and application services. Office Communications Server: We may finally have reached that tipping point where IP PBX's are threatened by OCS, and yes, we want another option like OCS and the intergration it brings.

And last but not least, what about Windows Mobile 7? Are you going let Apple keep handing you your hat in the SmartPhone market? My Windows Mobile 7 prediction back in early 2008 is looking sillier by the day. And there's more of course, I've just mentioned some of the key initiatives at Microsoft I'm most interested in.

So, does Microsoft have the time to mess around with the 9-12 months of inaction a layoff will cause? If they're that bloated with staff then maybe it's inevitable but I believe there's too much important work in Redmond to do that would be harmed by dragging the company through the molasses of a corporate layoff.

Put the analysts' reports down and let's get busy Microsoft. It will make that 10 cent bump look like chump change.

This story, "Layoffs Aren't the Right Route for Redmond" was originally published by Network World.

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