Microsoft Reducing Freelancers, Contract Workers At MSN

Microsoft Corporation

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is reducing workforce, primarily contract and freelance writers, on MSN news and entertainment as the software giant looks to reestablish itself as devices and Services Company primarily. One of the spokespersons of Microsoft said that the news is right about the job cuts, but did not talk about the number or anything further. Citing a source, a report from Reuter’s claim the layoffs could affect around 100 people.

Layoffs not to affect full time employees

Microsoft has started laying off writers, who contribute end edit columns, blogs and features at MSN, only just two months after CEO Steve Ballmer announced that the organization will go through turnaround, which seems to like have started.

The layoffs will, however, not affect the full time workers at MSN, and even the company is planning to increase the number of full time workers at MSN. Around 120 million users visit MSN every month, and both full time and part time employees work on various section of MSN.

Brian MacDonald, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Apps, Media and Publishing group, told Seattle Times that the company is increasing the full time staffing and permanent spend by converting some vendors dollars.

“Total dollars spent in the Puget Sound area is increasing on MSN and the Bing apps,” he said. “This is a line item budget shift but absolutely not a spend reduction for cost savings.”

Online service segment never profitable

Microsoft’s online service segment including Bing search engine and MSN portal, have never reported a profit. The company lost around $3 billion over the last two years, and some investors even have suggested sale of the unit. Earlier in July, MSN was merged with Bing Apps that publish news, weather along with other content under head Brian MacDonald.

Over the past year monthly unique visitor, for MSN, in the United States remained flat at around 116 million compared to Yahoo and AOL portals, which are leaping forward, according to a data gathered by Industry research firm Comscore.

Microsoft enhanced MSN news section, only a year ago, to support the launch of Windows 8.. Laying off a large number of freelancer writers indicates that MSN will be more dependent on external sources like NBC, Associated Press and Thomson Reuters.