Tone deaf? Microsoft must have booked Sting for Davos because he's a good singer
But the next day it laid off 10,000 staff
Comment As Microsoft employees went to sleep on Tuesday not knowing that the next day their jobs would be on the line, company execs hobnobbing in Davos hosted a private performance by a geriatric popster.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, better known as Sting, was paid by Microsoft to entertain an "intimate gathering of 50 or so people, including the company's top executives" at the Swiss resort during the annual World Economic Forum. Attendees must have been Walking On The Moon.
Artists with the clout of 71-year-old Sting, who once led '80s rock band the Police, can fetch a fee of six to seven figures for an evening's work, and yet the next morning Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sent an SOS to the world saying that the company couldn't afford to pay 10,000 of its employees anymore.
Some might say the decision to go ahead with the gig was tone deaf, but The Register understands Sting is widely considered to be a talented musician and singer.
Ironically, the theme of the WEF this year is sustainability – something much of big tech isn't very good at in any sense of the word. Microsoft, like its peers, made hay while the Invisible Sun was shining as clients threw it money to keep their businesses running through the pandemic.
- Google to lay off 12,000 employees after project and function review
- We blew too much money hiring like crazy so we gave you the boot – Amazon
- Microsoft axes 10,000, already breaking bad news to staff
- Enterprise IT giant layoffs happened because 'some CEOs got ahead of their skis'
Now the "good times" are over, companies that overextended in the pursuit of greenbacks have been caught with their pants down. That includes Amazon, Google, Meta, and many more companies people care even less about.
"First, as we saw customers accelerate their digital spend during the pandemic, we're now seeing them optimize their digital spend to do more with less," sighed Nadella's Message In A Bottle. "We're also seeing organizations in every industry and geography exercise caution as some parts of the world are in a recession and other parts are anticipating one."
That's life, mate. It's Fragile.