January 20, 2005

Microsoft Lays Off 62 Testers

According to this article in the Seattle Times, Microsoft has laid off 62 testers from the Windows Core OS division.

I can look at this one of a few ways.

1) The way that Microsoft wants us to look at it. Vast advancements have been made in the way that Windows testing is automated, and so these heads are no longer required.

2) The way things probably worked. The automation tests need to be written, but the test scripts can be written for pennies on the dollar by someone in either their India or China offices.

3) The cynical way. Automated testing requires stable API's, and the API's for Longhorn and the like seem to be changing on a regular basis. Without the stable API's, these guys were just spinning their wheels, and the cost-benefit analysis led Microsoft to believe it was cheaper to lay them off than it was to keep them around until they would be needed.

4) The sympathetic way. Over sixty of my fellow testers just got shafted.

5) The questioning way. Microsoft announces test layoffs from their core Windows group, but doesn't announce layoffs from other divisions in the company. Why?

Regardless of which was is the correct way to view it, 62 testers are job hunting right now. My heart goes out to you.

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