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Microsoft Hiring Freeze 'Not True'

Rumors that Microsoft initiated a hiring freeze are not true, according to Microsoft spokesperson Lou Gellos, who denied it in accounts published on Friday.

Rumors that Microsoft initiated a hiring freeze are not true, according to Microsoft spokesperson Lou Gellos, who denied it in accounts published on Friday here and here. Internal Microsoft memos reportedly sparked the idea.

Microsoft wasn't the only company to fend off such notions. A Yahoo spokesperson denied that the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based online advertising company was planning job cuts, calling it "just rumor and speculation."

The rumors come amidst record stock market drops. Major financial institutions, such as Washington Mutual Inc. and Wachovia, failed late last month and their assets were quickly acquired by other financial institutions.

Today, President Bush signed a $700 billion Wall Street bailout bill aimed at easing bankers' jitters on loaning money to each other. The new law reportedly also includes $110 billion in tax cuts for special interest groups that come on top of the $700 billion amount.

For its part, Microsoft had encouraged Congress to sign the bailout bill. Its passage was affirmed by Microsoft's Senior Vice President and Counsel Brad Smith in a statement.

"Congressional passage of the financial recovery package is a critically important step to bringing back economic stability in the U.S. and around the globe," Smith stated.

"I particularly appreciate the support of the Members of the Washington State delegation who cast their vote today to help preserve jobs in all sectors of the economy of Washington state and across the U.S.," Smith added.

Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer told attendees of CIGREF, a Paris-based information systems industry group, that financial-sector problems could adversely affect business and technology industries.

"I suspect that all of this credit crisis will have some impact on business, and some impact on the technology business. Since technology represents about 50 percent of capital spending in Western Europe and the United States," Ballmer stated in a transcript published by Microsoft. He added that with appropriate bank action, "we'll see this as a small dip as opposed to something more severe."

Ballmer noted that CIOs are generally feeling the pressures of "doing more with less" on a daily basis.

The credit shortage could lead to future budget cutbacks by CIOs, according to a former Microsoft product manager, as quoted in a SeattlePI.com article.

"You're going to see a lot of CIOs cutting out budgets, and going to Microsoft and going to Oracle and going to SAP and telling them, 'Look, we're not going to do the upgrade as fast as we planned.'," said Jay Bhatti, cofounder of Spock.com.

The computer and software industries actually show up as some of the more positive long-term trends in employment stats published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). To hear the BLS tell it, software publishing jobs are predicted to increase 32 percent, from 243,000 jobs to 321,000 jobs from 2006 to 2016. In that same ten-year span, jobs associated with computer systems design will increase 38 percent, from 1.3 million to 1.8 million, the BLS predicts.

An analysis (PDF) published in early September by the National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses cited a "record high" of 3,936,300 jobs in the IT sector in August. The Alexandria, Va.-based national trade association added that the August IT jobs figure represented a "gain of 17,000 from the previous month."

Overall, however, the United States lost 159,000 jobs in September, according to the BLS.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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