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Old June 25th, 2003, 01:32 AM   #1
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Xbox Problems in japan

Microsoft cuts 17 percent of the workforce at the Japan branch.

According to a new report in Nikkei BizTech, Microsoft has laid off 34 employees in the Xbox division of its Japanese offices. The layoffs apparently caused a commotion among the workers because of differences in business practices between Japan and the United States.

According to the article, the Xbox division staff in Japan, which consists of approximately 200 employees, was called to a meeting at the company's Tokyo office on March 20. The staff was then told by its new division head, Par Singh, that the sales of the Xbox in Japan had been extremely disappointing, and that the company will be forcing early retirement on a number of its workers.

The employees were then told to check their e-mail inboxes, in which 34 of the workers received a notice to pack their belongings and go to the conference room. The passageway to the conference room had security guards protecting all the elevators and emergency exits. The terminated employees could use the restroom only if they were accompanied by one of the retained employees. According to one of the employees who was cut, it felt as though they were treated like criminals.
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Old June 25th, 2003, 04:50 AM   #2
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I can see how that would ruffle some feathers over here. I hope the security guards were bowing at least.
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Old June 25th, 2003, 06:48 AM   #3
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This is a fairly usual way to manage lay-offs in big companies over here, in Israel. As a courtesy, a pre-paid taxi to home is usually offered to the layed-off, as not everybody is able to drive calmly by himself in such circumstances.
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Old June 25th, 2003, 08:30 AM   #4
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But to do this in Japan is about the worst type of public relations job any company can do. Welcome to the Microsoft world. Hopefully the Playstation 3 platform will one day replace PC, and the operating system standard will become Linux 2 with a code name "Good Bye Bill", or "BillKill"

I can see Sony hiring some of these newly made Microsoft haters to work on PS3. I'm sure they have good ties to the rest of the employees there and all the confidential data will go straight to Sony.

I wonder what criteria Microsoft used to select who was to get fired? Was it performance evaluation, or Microsoft loyalty determined on the No. of times the employees clicked an Sony's web site?

While Sony is making excellent profits on the Playstation hardware and software, Microsoft has been losing money on anything it does with the Xbox. PS3 will be the real Xbox killer; it will be using high power cell processors with nanotechnology. So far everything indicates that Xbox2 will be more or less PC-based, which will make it expensive and inefficient compared to PS3. Wake up Bill! Go back to your nerd herd and concentrate on cleaning windows. I got tired of mine freezing up.
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Old June 25th, 2003, 09:53 AM   #5
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Joseph,

Sony actually lose money on PS2 hardware. They lose 5000 per console, which is about US$25.00.

As for Microsoft, that's a totally Western method of sacking people. One of the reasons many large companies here in Japan are in financial trouble, Sony included, is that they very rarely lay people off. Many Japanese companies have extremely top heavy management structures as when someone has been doing a job for a while they promote them. If there is no position to promote them to them a position is often created.
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Old June 25th, 2003, 10:04 AM   #6
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No surprise. The Xbox is a monstrosity that for the longest time had only one game worth playing: Halo. The team that designed the Xbox were like those American car makers who didn't know why the Japanese weren't buying their huge, ugly sedans. Ugly box design. Controllers too big for small hands.

That said, the Xbox in my apartment has been modded by my roomie so that it is networked to our PCs. Now we can play downloaded anime and project it on our wall.
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Old June 25th, 2003, 10:07 AM   #7
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Joseph, somehow I believe they are generously compensated, getting 1-2 month salary upon termination.
As for criteria for lay-offs, there might be quite a few.
First, it might be on per-project basis. If some project is closed, most of its participants are let go.
Second, on the perforamce basis. Large corporations usualy have a very organized scoring and review system, where every employee is ranked according to many criteria. By the way, loyality to the company is one of these criteria. Then when the time comes everything is basically ready. Those who ranked worst are layed off first.
If the second criterion was chosen by Microsoft this time, I doubt Sony can extract huge benefit hiring the layed-off.
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Old June 25th, 2003, 11:25 AM   #8
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Mind you, if they had completed their projects, there would be little reason for treating them like criminals. Guards in the corridors blocking the exits? Come on!
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Old June 25th, 2003, 11:57 AM   #9
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Actually........

As a former manager in a large corporation, I actually support how this was handled.

Some people have proven that when being laid off or fired they can go ballistic or as we call it here in the USA the go "postal". Some people grab anything proprietary that they can get their hands on at that final moment, or even worse sabotage something.

It does happen everyday, just pick up the news paper in the USA, or watch CNN.

As for the Xbox.....Bill has a vision, and will "pull" the market in the direction their business strategy supports. Right, wrong, or indifferent, that's how big corporations work.

Give the whole thing 5 years, and the Xbox you can buy now, will not look, feel, or work like the one available today. The current model does not do much more than play games or DVD's. Tomorrow that will all change, and you will have more of an entertainment center with much more diversity, even though currently the Xbox's hardware and OS is by far superior to anything in it's competitive range.
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Old June 25th, 2003, 12:29 PM   #10
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I just don't like Microsoft and their business practices and the computer geek Bill Gates on top of it. He should get life and stop screwing everyone. Once he copied the Windows interface concept from Apple, the MS Office Suite was good enough to be used for 99.9% office tasks. Why do we need to pay the nerd for his close to annual Windows updates. It is a bad unhuman monopoly, adt he's unable to come out with a decent product that is does not have tons of problems.

Xbox came out a year after PS2 and it improved on it. I doubt that Xbox2 will be better than PS3, or that it would become some kind of universal platform, unless the geek spends half on his fortune on it, which he won't because he likes his money more than anything else.

I don't think that there is another company I would dislike, maybe Monsanto, the pesticide, agent orange, PCB, Nutrasweet, and genetically altered food company, whatever they are called now.
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Old June 25th, 2003, 12:52 PM   #11
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Opinions on Bill Gates have become like butts; everyone seems to have one.

But regarding Microsoft copying Apple's interface, recall where Apple got it to begin with; Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).
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Old June 25th, 2003, 12:54 PM   #12
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The problem you have with Bill is his business practices, not the fact that he is a 'geek'. There are a ton of corporations out there where the people in charge have no technical knowledge whatsoever and are only in business to make money off stocks without caring about their product. You can't say this about Bill Gates. From all reports, he drives his products in the same way that Steve Jobs drives Apple.
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Old June 25th, 2003, 06:05 PM   #13
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Dan,

You have to consider the culture, though. What MS did here would be the equivalent of having armed guards do a similar layoff in the U.S., but instead throwing each person to the ground and dragging them out. From a western perspective, we think "Ah, well...harsh, but not over the top." From a Japanese perspective, it's unbelievably harsh.

Main thing is...it COULD have been handled in a much more culturally-sensitive fashion. "Public humiliation" is the big no-no here. The suicide rate proves that any humiliation is taken much more seriously here than in the West, but making it rather "public" just augments it. They should've contacted them at home at least.
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Old June 25th, 2003, 09:08 PM   #14
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"But regarding Microsoft copying Apple's interface, recall where Apple got it to begin with; Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)."

Not exactly true. I can't find the link at the moment, but Jef Raskin was already working on a GUI when Apple visited PARC. They WERE influenced by PARC (mouse) but didn't steal the idea, and unlike Microsoft, Apple went way beyond PARC even in their first implementation - One menu bar, overlapping windows, other stuff.
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Old June 25th, 2003, 10:45 PM   #15
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I stand corrected by Michael.

This may be the link you were looking for. Many thanks, Michael.
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