Microsoft to cut 167 localisation jobs

14 Jan 2003

Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, has announced that it is to cut 167 localisation jobs at its European headquarters in Dublin as part of a restructuring of its Windows International Team.

In a statement, the company said that changes were happening to “allow Microsoft’s localisation efforts to be more tightly integrated to the product build process in Redmond. In particular, this alignment will facilitate the architectural changes that will be part of the next release of Windows.”

Although a small number of localisation positions will remain in Ireland and other key markets around Europe, the restructuring signals a decision to centralise Microsoft’s localisation operations in its home (US) market.

The statement added that many of those affected would have the opportunity to transfer with their job to the US, while others will be encouraged to apply for a number of open positions in Ireland, either in a newly created software section called the EMEA Windows Engineering Team or in the existing Sustained Engineering Test Team that will be expanded as a result of this reorganisation. The transition period is expected to be concluded within the next six months.

At the same time, Microsoft is creating 54 software engineering jobs with the establishment of the EMEA Windows Engineering Team, which will focus on developing market-specific code for the EMEA region.

The net loss of jobs to Microsoft’s operations in Ireland, therefore, is 113.

Speaking to, Joe Macri, country manager for Microsoft Ireland, emphasised that the decision to shed localisation jobs was a one-off and did not herald the beginning of a period of retrenchment for Microsoft Ireland.

“We’ve absolutely no plans to make any new announcements of this sort or scale going forward. It’s very specific to the Windows team,” he says.

Macri describes the setting up of the new software team as a very positive development and one that augurs well for Microsoft’s Irish operations in the long term.

“The market is shifting to higher value work and that definitely is something we’re trying to do in Ireland, so that the sort of work we do becomes even more strategic to the role of Ireland within Microsoft Corporation,” Macri adds.

He continues: “We’re absolutely committed to what we’re doing in Ireland. We’ve been here for 17 years and throughout that time we’ve experienced a very positive win-win relationship between Ireland and Microsoft … and we will do everything within our power to sustain it and build on it.”

He adds: “If you look at the last couple of years, we’ve invested over US$165m in building up our infrastructure here in Ireland. We wouldn’t be doing that if we didn’t have a very long-term view of what we’re doing here in Ireland.”

Macri would not say how long the review has been in planning, but he said that the company continually undertook global reviews of its business.

The redundancies are not the first the company has made in Ireland. Last September, the company, which employs approximately 1,700 people in Ireland, announced that it was trimming its localisation team by 15 people.

By Brian Skelly