Microsoft is (justifiably) taking flak for hosting a private Sting concert for top execs the night before announcing layoffs for thousands of employees.
Microsoft announced layoffs Wednesday, impacting some 10,000 employees. That number puts Microsoft only behind Amazon, Meta, and Alphabet for the number of tech workers laid off at one time over the last year. At the time the layoffs were announced, the company blamed “macroeconomic conditions and changing customer priorities.”
Evidently, those “macroeconomic conditions” and ‘changing priorities’ did not include rethinking a private Sting concert in Davos, one that Microsoft hosted and saw some of the company’s top execs in attendance, according to The Wall Street Journal. Needless to say, the revelation is not going over well with those inside and outside the company.
Is the concert to blame for the layoffs? No. Would canceling or rescheduling the concert have saved jobs? Of course not. Are the optics unconscionably bad? Absolutely!
The fact that Microsoft’s execs did not see an issue with holding and enjoying the concert just hours before upending the lives of 10,000 of their employees speaks to a level of obtuseness — perhaps even callousness — that is hard to fathom.
While many companies have had to resort to layoffs amid the current economic situation, Microsoft just set the bar for how not to do it.