Confusion arises over Microsoft's hiring plans. The company issued a memo that hinted at a freeze, one employee said, but a spokesperson denies a freeze. The optimist would conclude that Microsoft is acting quickly to reduce costs -- bracing itself for reduced revenue as IT budgets are slashed. The pessimist would say that Microsoft could be using the faulty economy to move more of its headcount from expensive countries, like the U.S., to less expensive countries -- as it warned it would do when it lobbied congress for more H-1B visas. In any case ... when bellwether Microsoft has to restrict new hires even as it announces increased expansion in R&D in Europe, the IT industry is in for a rough time of it. Typically, Microsoft, with its deep pockets and huge cash store can capitalize on weaknesses in the economy.
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