Well, someone stepped in something unpleasant this morning.
Our friends at "The Squish" (as my friends and I have called Microsoft for years) were supposed to report earnings this afternoon after the close. Apparently someone leaked something, so they did a surprise announcement before the market opening today.
To say the numbers weren't good would be an understatement. Earnings per share were $0.47 versus expectations for $0.49 and last year's $0.50. Sales were only up 1.6% for the quarter. Personal computers just aren't selling well (unless it's an Apple)... and I hear the beta version of Windows 7 is already more popular than Vista ever has been, so people are waiting for the formal release before they buy.
There have been rather vigorous rumors floating around the Seattle area for weeks now about a large and looming layoff at Microsoft. This is a big deal since they have never laid anyone off, even when the tech bubble burst in 2000. This morning they confirmed that there will be layoffs of up to 5,000 people over the next 18 months. Since I'd personally heard 15,000 I suppose only 5,000 is a bit of a victory. Either way, it will certainly change the landscape in Seattle. Let's see, we've lost Washington Mutual, the Seattle P-I newspaper (probably all gone, goodbye), and now folks from Microsoft.
Looks like this economic malaise might actually be getting serious or something.