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Doug's Mailbag: Microsoft Layoffs a Low Blow, More

Doug asked readers what they thought about the recent round of layoffs at Microsoft:


Sure, it's the "American Way," but it's a sleazy way, too.

As a victim of a layoff earlier this year I may be more than a little jaundiced in my view of the subject. In my opinion, staff reductions are typically a knee-jerk reaction by semi-competent management who didn't foresee the situation requiring the immediate attempt at cost savings. It makes some economic sense because payroll is usually the largest line-item business cost, but management rarely counts the actual cost to the company (how much is it going to cost to replace that lost knowledge?). Staff reductions seldom seem to be opportunities to get rid of dead weight but merely numeric adjustments. Senior staff tend to make more money so the immediate savings are greater. It's often an excuse for some political payback, too.

I think it's generally a lousy way to treat people especially when one considers the fact that the people who made the decisions that put the company in jeopardy in the first place seldom get the axe. It's normally the worker bees. American management, as a group, are pretty clueless, which is why the Chinese are going to eat our lunch for the next century or so.

Layoffs to keep profits up are not right. Here in Philadelphia (the home of Comcast) we are seeing the same thing. You have a company whose profits are up 22 percent and they are laying off -- while RAISING our cable rates. How long is this going to go on before things change?

Mike Domingo, covering for Doug, last week wondered if he was too trusting of Microsoft Security Essentials. Here are some of your thoughts:

I absolutely love MSE and am moving some of my customers to a UTM device on the edge for e-mail and firewall, but MSE on the desktop in case they bring something in. Personally, MSE has saved my bacon on Facebook a couple of times. I've also used it to clean up a couple of consumer machines. It's not obtrusive, not a big load. I hope it remains free.

I've been using MSE since the beta, and I'm also testing the paid, business-oriented version, Forefront Client Security. They seem very similar in features and functionality, and I have had no problems with either one. I like the negligible impact on system performance, and there are no upgrade prompts, nagware, etc. I'm comfortable with the protection provided, and I don't have to worry about losing it due to a forgotten renewal date. If Microsoft changes their stated position that MSE will remain free, I'll be happy to pay for it due to its simplicity and low system impact. My only complaint is that it doesn't wake the computer from sleep to run a scheduled scan.

Microsoft seems to take most of the heat for malware, including vulnerabilities in other software brands or from social engineering. They have a vested interest in providing a reliable AV product with wide acceptance, so I believe that they will continue to maintain the quality of MSE, and to offer it at no cost.

More letters coming on Wednesday, including even more Windows 7 migration thoughts. Meanwhile, send in your own comments to Doug at [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on 11/09/2009 at 1:17 PM


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