Microsoft institutes hiring freeze, report says (Microsoft denies it)

UPDATED: Microsoft is denying a hiring freeze, a second report from IDG News Service states.

"It is not true that we have instituted a hiring freeze," said Lou Gellos, a Microsoft spokesman. "What is true is that we are evaluating hiring as we always do and we might make projections that are different than perhaps we had at the beginning of the year." 

Hiring freeze ... or re-evalution ... so much for the so-called IT worker shortage that Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and others testified about last spring when asking Congress for more H-1B visas. The report of a hiring freeze at Microsoft is based on a note Microsoft began circulating to employees on Friday informing them of the decision, according to an employee who saw the letter but asked not to be named, the IDG News Service originally reported today.

The hiring re-evaluation is seemingly in response to the economic woes which is making credit increasingly hard to come by, which in turn is causing companies to trim IT budgets. That, of course, means that IT vendors and analysts are downcasting earnings expectations, which in turn will send stocks down making it even more difficult for companies to raise cash for needed IT infrastructure. Such is the way of a recession ... or have we officially hit a depression at this point?

The article notes that analysts have already this week downgraded expectations from a slew of IT vendors including Apple, Salesforce.com, Intel and AT&T. Microsoft isn't among that list. With more than 91,000 employees worldwide, including more than 54,000 in the U.S., the software giant has not needed to revert to a layoff to keep its costs in control. A hiring freeze would bring it dangerously close to layoff territory, but it looks as if Microsoft insists it is not facing that danger.

Meanwhile, Microsoft also announced that it plans on making hefty R&D investments in Norway and other European locations. It is not clear what kind of hiring will be involved in these efforts, which would presumably need more engineers and others.

Visit the Microsoft Subnet home page for more news, blogs, podcasts.Will Google be the death of Microsoft? Hard to imagine17 job-hunting resources for Windows prosTop 5 strategies for surviving a recessionUnder the hood of Hyper-V (master list of links). all Microsoft Subnet bloggers.bi-weekly Microsoft newsletter. (Click on News/Microsoft News Alert.)

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