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Microsoft reportedly lays off 60 HoloLens team members in Israel

HoloLens and Microsoft Windows logo
HoloLens and Microsoft Windows logo (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft is apparently cutting more of its team members, as a new report says that it has laid off 60 workers in Israel that helped to develop it's HoloLens augmented reality technology. 30 of the team members were contracted workers and were laid off immediately while the other 30 permanent workers have been given a month to find other jobs inside Microsoft.

The Israel-based site Ynet.co.il claims one of the team members that was affected by this decision says that Microsoft will continue to work on HoloLens "through a different technology, produced in the United States", although the report doesn't make clear exactly what this means.

In an official statement, a Microsoft spokesperson says the company performs ongoing assessments of its operations and "recently made decisions that affect the number of jobs in one of our groups". It did not confirm the number of people that were affected by this move, saying only that there is a "shift of jobs across the organization and sometimes eliminating jobs."

Thanks to "NotCassim" for the tip!

Source: Ynet.co.li; Via: Frawin

133 Comments
  • :|
  • Microsoft has 100,000 employees. There's always reorganizing, hiring, and laying off occurring.
  • And as sad as it is for those that got fired, lets be honest: In a company with 125,000 employees and almost 100,000 contracted workers, 60 is almost nothing.
  • Yes. Almost nothing unless if you are one of those 60. HoloLens may go the way of the Kinect anyway. Microsoft can never really focus long enough on anything seemingly promising. :/
  • I wouldn't take laying off less than 60 people as a sign that HoloLens is having any less focus placed on it; they seem to have changed an engineering or manufacturing decision around a component is all.
  • Soon they will shut this program and then apple will invent it again
  • Wat
  • Apple only reinvents ideas that has been released. ;)
  • Don't flatter yourself. W10M is a copy of Android and iOS. Maybe of your W10M is greater than 1% market share, you can blabber away.
  • That is a very silly thing to say.  Especially considering that Windows 10 Mobile is the same OS as on the desktop.  It existing long before there were smartphones.  Windows just last month had its 30th year anniversary.
  • Is something wrong with your eyes?  W10M looks vastly different than the other two mobile OS.
  • Only difference is the tiles. Open your eyes.
  • If that's the case then if I give my Lumia to a Android user then he should be able to use it without any hindrance. But that doesn't happen.
  • wow... youre really dumb. Im actually kind of impressed by your ignorance.
  • More like Android copied Windows Phone with Material.
  • And then they ditched beautiful metro UI and introduced Metro UI 2. :/
  • On the surface (no pun intended) it looks bad to loose experienced development team members; however, it may mean that they are taking Hololens more seriously and are now moving development to a more mainstream community in the States.  I'm crossing my fingers for the latter.
  • Reading the source on YNet, the whole 60 layed-off staff members were reportedly hardware engineers, not software developers, so this "different route" in the development process of Hololens is most probably hardware related. I wonder what it is.
  • Pfft. Hopefully someone found a way to increase the field of view and Microsoft jumped at the opportunity.
  • At least they're giving the full-time employees a chance to find employment within Microsoft.  If I were one of them I would apply to work in the new US branch. It wouldn't be a tough interview for them.
  • If they can get H1B Visa status..
  • Where is Visa Declined when you need him?
  • Microsoft, Facebook and other tech giants are in need of more foreign engineers because of the shortage in the US but congress has so far refused to increase the limit allowed so far. If the annual quota is reached no more can visas can be issued.
  • New screen technology :)
  • yup, a full month... Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I don't know what it is like at Microsoft but at many companies transferring to another position as an internal candidate is pretty quick and painless. Often the biggest holdup is with needing to wrap up existing work, which wouldn't be an issue in this case. Best of luck to the affected employees.
  • This.
  • Uh...what? Less employees means they will stop or slower the development
  • You might have missed the part where they are moving the development to the US.  So less employees in Israel, but quite possibly as many or more on the US Hololens dev team.
  • Maybe it's moving from the development to the production phase? That would mean a shift in focus wouldn't it? (one can hope)
  • ms shoudn't be so antisemitic
  • Not everyone is Israel is Jewish. Please keep your ignorance to yourself, no need to prove it to the world.
  • True that, alot of Arabs and Christians are Isreali citizens, serve in the military and government.
  • oh are you saying they are anti-christian or anti-muslim instead? damn that hindu-Nadella! ;-P Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • This is going to go off the tracks real quick ...
  • His comment is ridicules, but for everyone's information: NOT all Semitics are Jewish. Semitism has nothing to do with religion. Muslims, Christians and even atheists can be Semitic too.
  • Or maybe they wanted to produce more jobs in the USA to help the economy lol
  • I'm sure that was their rationale /s
  • Microsoft is xenophobic, everything is US-first, US-only, the rest of the world is a poor afterthought so they buy companies in other countries to disassemble them in hope to bring the good stuff to the USofA. It usually fails miserably.
  • Xenophobic doesn't mean what you seem to think it means
  • I mean exactly this: xen·o·pho·bic zenəˈfōbik,ˌzēnəˈfōbik/ adjective adjective: xenophobic having or showing a dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.
  • I don't think you should use words like xenophobic since you do not know what it means. You could say they are isolationist (they're not, but that is what you mean), but they are not afraid of the outside world and other cultures. But I get it, we need drama!
  • Exactly! Everyone knows it's a fear of the warrior princess.
  • yeah, and hydrophobic coating gives clothes fear of water... /sarcasm
  • That's a way of thinking about it.  Most people tend to avoid their phobias.  Hydrophobic coating causes objects to "avoid" water.
  • I know what xenophobic means: xen·o·pho·bic zenəˈfōbik,ˌzēnəˈfōbik/ adjective adjective: xenophobic having or showing a dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries. "the xenophobic undertones of this argument" synonyms:
    ultranationalistic, ultranationalist, nationalistic, nationalist, isolationist, jingoistic; parochial, insular; ethnocentric, ethnocentrist, racist, racialist; prejudiced, bigoted, intolerant "unemployment and lack of exposure to foreigners has fueled xenophobic sentiment"  
  • And that's exactly what Rubino is saying, you don't know what is. I don't know if it's your race, heritage or your family dna or just your brain, but you really need to study a little more and stop using words like you knew what they meant, giving them your own meaning only because you want. maybe you should find what "dislike" "prejudice" is before actually trying to give your own meaning to xenophobic especially knowing that current Microsoft CEO is not from US but India.
  • It's not all or nothing, I'm not saying Microsoft is the bad guy here, but for sure it is way less international then Google, for example, that actively search for talented people all over the world to work with. Again, Google is far from being the good guy, there is no such clear line to cross.
    And on the consumer side, MS is very unfriendly to people from outside US, compared to pretty much all other major players.
    My point of view is limited by the country I live in, obviously, so your mileage may vary.
  • "it is way less international then Google, for example, that actively search for talented people all over the world to work with" Total and complete made up bull shit. I live a few miles from the Microsoft main campus. My neighbors and friends are people hired from around the world - Israelis, Indians, Chineese, Canadians, Russians, Uganda, Brittish, French. Peoples of diverse color, background, religion, and geographic location. And those are people that I personally know that have been hired into Microsoft and moved to the US from their homeland just within the past 5 years or so. If you want to create "facts" then you need to try much, much harder.
  • A little bit more - the guy that they recently hired to run the whole company, Satya Nadella, was born in India. I know, it must be a conspiracy - Microsoft hates Indian people so they are going to hire one to lead the company to throw people off the track so they will not think they hate Indians. Or maybe it was a huge hoax, Ballmer leaving, and it is really Ballmer wearing a mask to look Indian to trick people into thinking Microsoft is really a nice company while working behind the scenes to fuel their "xenophobic sentiment." But you saw through the trick. You are one smart guy. The entire world was tricked, but you saw through it. This is along the lines of some guy that was on another web site similar to this one (the one the author of this article used to work for). He was claiming that BillG is really a eugenicist and is trying to kill black children by forcing them to take vaccinations and a small portion of those vaccines contain toxins meant to kill. By only killing a few children at a time, it hides BillG's real agenda to eradicate the undesireables. What you are saying here is no different.
  • 2for2
  • I'm not in the US (Brit here) but I have no problem with Microsoft selling to their home market... because it's where they are and where they started. With regards to things like Cortana, why shouldn't they test it out first in their own front yard before taking it down to the park? I would always think of MS just as I would a small shop in a town. A small shop can sell what they want, when they want, to whoever they want if that is their desire and their plan. Barring business failure, they call the shots, not the people that walk in through the doors, because it's their business. That should be no different to how Microsoft works (although, admittedly, Microsoft is gargantuan in comparison to a small store).
  • Favoring your home contry does not mean xenophobia. International business is complicated and expensive.  ​Calling it xenophobia requies that you know the motive behind things that are done and you know that the motive is some kind of racial or national dislike or malice. That is a senseless and baseless claim.
  • Microsoft has a ton of products compared to Apple and Google.  It's not that difficult for Google or Apple to add additional language support for all 5 of their products.  It's a lot harder to apply that to hundreds of different products (many of which are enterprise products that you probably don't know exist) along with supply chains, support channels, marketing, and legal.  That doesn't make MS xenophobic and moving a project back to their headquarters isn't xenophobic either.  Perhaps your country could create it's own successful companies and invent it's own products instead of crying because a US company doesn't cater to your every whim.
  • I guess noone's ever allowed to lay off people in Israel now because that means they are antisemitic. /s
  • Yeah, the hi-tech company with one of the most prominent presence here in Israel is anti-semitic SMH... Go troll somewhere else.
  • Why do Microsoft seem intent on cutting as many staff as they can, at a time when they're developing so many exciting new products and services. These cuts are hurting, just look at the delays everywhere, the mess w10m is in (the OS is a shambles in comparison to wp8 and 7 and technically the 950 and 550 are running beta software hence the bugs). Sure, it will look good for Nadella in the 2016-17 financial year, but the long-term he is killing the company and watching the talent move to it's rivals. He is the new "Fred the Shred", the longer he stays in power, the more insecure Microsoft's future will become...
  • I mean, did you read the article? They had two competing technologies for HoloLens and chose the one based in the US. They're not cutting back they are simply choosing a path forward based on plans for HoloLens. HoloLens is not done. They are still figuring out who best to target it for and which technologies to use within it. You need to get off of this "OMG the cuts!". Microsoft is a business, this normal. They're not a charity. "He's killing the company". Holy hyperbole.
  • Being a business or not does not change a thing in my opinion, MS laid off contracted workers which is normal, when your contract is up or close to being up that's when it's time you should get ready to ship out, even people that work in hollywood movie business knows this, gaming knows this, even animators know this. Tho it seems they decided to try and keep those that were worth holding on to it still sucks because those that got laid off have to go job hunting again and may find another contracted job. People need to really stop with the "OMG cuts" as you said.
     
  • seems like you're the one who's insecure...there's more than meets your eye here, they know what they're doing, whether it makes sense to you or not. =[
  • Sorry to disagree...but wm10 in its beta form.. is far superior to that of wm7 or wm8.... but everything else you said... hmmmm.. lol Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Yes, being unable to reliably install apps, apps crashing frequently, constantly having to reset, text backup restoring texts randomly is far superior to the WP8 & 7 experience.....
  • Hey Hiii Sorry to disturb you though... I have been one of the few early installers of the W10 Insiders. I used to get randome freezes, app crashings, SD card not working and many more,  but seeing u rant here about W10M against W7 and W8 makes no sense at all. The W10 Build currently being used is almost perfectand way better than W8 ever was. No app Crashes, no delays. Its not meant for the hardware you might be using and thats should be clear to you. Have you ever seen a Lumia 950 and 950XL user saying app crashes and anything related to W10M. Go and find time to do something better than ranting here. Pathetic !!!
  • I keep reading these kind of comments and wonder what is informing these kind of opinions. Can you offer anything of substance to your analysis? I'm loving my W10M and I have no insider knowledge of Microsoft's inner workings. Do you?
  • W10m in shambles? Have you tried out a 950? Mine hasn't crashed once and I use it HEAVILY.
  • By different technology they probably mean they are already working on hololens 2.0 with increased field of view, similar to what microsoft did with kinect 2.0. However, Microsoft needs to stop the layoffs, no one will want to work for a company that is constantly downsizing when the competition keeps growing.
  • I think it's weird when people give business advice to a company even though they haven't seen their books and fnancials, don't you?
  • This site is full of armchair CEOs somehow, it's funny.
  • The hubris blows my mind. We live in an age where no one recognizes their own limitations. It's just opinions forever.
  • Opinions = facts on the internets
  • Your website mostly give opinions by the way. Do you even know that guy? What if he runs a bigger business tomorrow? You don't have to talk for Microsoft
  • I find it funny you take the time out to reply to trolls. Not all the users on this site are well informed, mature people. Plenty of clueless kids are about too.
  • You're right....sometimes you jst wanna laugh it off like its nothing and then....BOOM! Asses whooped -_-
  • Normally I agree with you, but not today. These engineers I speak of don't pour through the books and financials either, they look at the same pulbic market data we do and make the decision that best suits their family. When choosing between Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft one would have to consider not only the size of recent layoffs but the jobs that are being cut. If someone had identical job offers from the above companies they won't just blindly take the job with their favorite product lineup. I understand these jobs weren't significant as half were contract workers that would take any job they can get, but when added to the pile of layoffs, retirements, extended vacations and upper level defections recently it hurts their image as a trustworthy and stable employer.
  • Come on! They just let go the contractors which is absolutely NORMAL. The rest can find other jobs WITHIN Microsoft. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Agree with this statement, even if internal to MSFT and you were not affected by any of the layoffs over the last quarter and for example you worked for Azure but wanted to work on Hololens you may think twice about transferring over concerns with stability. While not immune to layoffs at FB, Apple or Google the outside perception is there is more stability so when making a decision of one employer over the other and ability to move between business groups would be percieved to be more concerning. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • It's gonna be #hollow inside the company with all the layoffs for the upcoming project....
  • These layoffs represent 0.025% of the company. #doomed
  • Lol Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • #doomed microsoft cant get anything right!, Looks at my lumia 1020 still running like the day i got it well better in fact, 950 here i come
  • So like how they had 3 cloud storage solutions and multiple map solutions.. They are ask over the place lol
  • Pls read the article carefully, 30 temporqry employees are laid off , others have been shifted. Its business, not some charity. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Interesting, I wonder what the differences were to warrant this move.
  • This is flipping hilarious.  Microsoft just can't finish ANYTHING they start.  They get a head of steam going and then do a reboot.  Hololens hasn't even fully deployed and they're rebooting it.  The board just needs to fire Nadella and all the upper mgmt.
  • *sighs* They made a decision over what technology to go with, and went that way. They didn't need the other way, so they stopped it in a common-sense move. Why spend money on something you don't need? How does moving forward with a project constitute a complete reboot?  
  • Nevermind ScubaDog, he's the classic 'has already formed an opinion, now will find evidence to support it' kinda guy around here. Of course, I should say "evidence" since he doesn't work at Microsoft so knows jack-all about how the company works. Just another drama queen around these parts.
  • I usually don't venture too far into the comments, but I had no idea you gave deserving people such a smack down, Daniel. This is some of the most entertaining stuff I've read in a while. Good on you. Edit: I just found out I can follow a specific user's comments! Awesome!
  • Reading comprehension isn't your strong suit
  • You really are slow aren't you.
  • Lol you're dumb, dawg...xD
  • If they are rebooting it. I'd suggest Tobey Maguire.
  • Do you read or just always spout uninformed opinions?
  • This is actually somewhat good news. Microsoft realigning development at early stage. I hope they develop the tech full speed when the company is sure which way to move forward.
  • Another cuts.. Reason why MS is not best employer according to Forbes.. With google again taking trophy. Google needs ppl.. Ms is having excess.. Hope ms soon settles up and take the crown. :)
  • That really sucks
  • Hey Rubino can you roast me too?
    "Microsoft will lose market share with this idiotic move!" Posted from my Note 5
  • Haha, yeah bro is on fire this morning!
  • Nobody lays off staff on a hot R&D project unless the project failed or corporate makes a decision to change course. Microsoft does not seem to value intellectual capital for example the wholesale layoff of Nokia employees which resulted in a predictable delay in Windows phone development and finally shipping beta product at launch.
  • Hello Sir... How do you know the released W10M is Beta??? Are you working at MS?  
  • Don't work for MS but I know beta code when I see it. So does everyone else. Search the phrase "Lumia 950" and see how many beta remarks are made as in lumiaconversations.co.uk, TechRadar "are you willing to be a Windows 10 Mobile beta tester?".  Most of the articles admit the operating system has plenty of rough edges. Don't take it personal unless you own MS stock.        
  • Don't bother with reason, the fans are out in full force today. Microsoft simply couldn't miss the holiday window just as they couldn't miss the back to school window with W10 desktop. Both were released in BETA form and could have used two more months of development.  
  • The sad part is the consumer experience is negatively impacted by these sloppy releases.  Apple's out-of-box experience is a magnitude better. Apple makes mistakes like the sleep-lock up of the iPad Pro but they don't make customers download updates right off the bat. Bugs get fixed.
  • Both iOS 8 and 9 have had updates rolled out to fix serious bugs within days/weeks of launching. Stuff takes a few months to fully stabilize. I can't compare W10M, since it's not, you know, actually out in it's finished form on anything except the 950s yet and I don't have one, but unstable launches are pretty much the norm for all of the OS vendors now. That's not a good thing, but far from unique to MS.
  • Yes that is true. I've had iOS devices for many years and there have been a few hiccups. Nothing that compares with Windows but that has been the history of Windows for 2 decades. Microsoft, and I admire the company greatly, never worried about a perfect launch. I am amazed how well Windows 10 Mobile has come along in the past 6 weeks. It runs slowly but competently on my 3 year old Lumia 920. I've read reports of things going poof but that has not happened very often with my phone. The problem is that the phone OS is unfinished, not even close to what an iOS device can do. Look at the press - no one said Android 5 or 6 were beta, unfinished. No one said iOS 7 - 9 were unfinished, The consensus on Windows 10 Mobile is that it is unfinished. Fans of Windows Phone will suck it up but the general public will take a pass. OMG we are a long way from 60 programmers were laid off :)  
  • Microsoft could have multiple groups working on various HoloLens technologies. There is no point in continuing with a technology that another group may have improved upon.
  • Microsoft is not at risk of insolvency so firing tech people is a bad move. They are intellectual capital more valuable than any other asset.
  • Read the article again and shut up Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • You do realise they will be able to chose other jobs inside Microsoft
  • Do you read?
  • I think reading comprehension is what's missing...
  • Virtual employees or real-life?
  • Jeez, why all the negativity? To me it sounds like they are finalizing a product, have decided on technologies they want to use, and are reassessing staffing based on those decisions. Something every business does all the time.
  • You're making too much sense.  To some here, companies are not allowed to let anyone go due to image preception. (to hell with business sense...)
  • IT IS CALLED PALESTINE ​. NO MORE ARGUMENT
  • Seriously, this has what to do with the topic?
  • There are a lot of countries that do not recognize Israel as a State (just like, for example, China doesn't recognize the sovereignty of Taiwan). For those people in those countries, there's no such thing as Israel. It's Palestine. Politics.
  • It's a fairytale wasteland turned into a thriving democracy under Israel.
  • There are approximately 15 million jews on the planet. religion that existed before Christianity and Islam, which are more than a billion each.   it is clear that they were murdered over time, the question is murdered by who? Are you son of them?   Do you really know and understand the facts related the Israeli palestinian conflict? This is not the place to argue about this, but if you really care, get over here and we will be happy to teach you a painful lesson.     I have nothing against muslims, not all of them terrorists but 99.5% of the terrorists are muslims.
  • Well first Islam comes from the word "سلام" "Salam" which means peace. you can"t juge it from what you see on TV. ISIS aren't even muslim a lot come from Eurpe and other places. You have to read about the real Islam to juge. 
    I Arab and Muslim I lived in Arab countries all my life and visited a lot of them people are normal. Kids go to school and audults works ordinary stuff just like everywhere else. Like who dosn't see how amazing is Dubia it not anything like what people see on TV about ISIS. We are normal and not terrorist. you have to come and see yourself.
    The second thing is Palestine. in 63 AD it was part of the roman empire. and in 636 muslim took it from the romans by the leader Omar Bin Alkhatab. then in 1099 England took it over. then in 1187 it was back muslim then in 1917 the UK took it and gave it to the jews how lived in Europe to get rid of them amd then jews from all over the world came. Killing us, taking our land and pretending its their's that we lived on for thousansds of years.
    Well belive it or not its Palestine NOT Irael. 
    End of discution. 
  • I don't know the history of Palestine but I totally agree with the first part of the comment.
  • I prefer to think that Microsoft immediately fired those 30 people and placed the others on hold because the Israeli operations were secretly passing on information to the Mossad, thus allowing them to produce the visors for military purposes and placing the US army in disadvantage. It's not true but it's a far more interesting plot than just corporational adjustments.
  • Looks like you just started your spy movie script. or book. can't wait for the ending.  
  • I think everyone dies.
  • Caught them having virtual sex in the office.
  • Again...
  • Intel inside...
  • They need to layoff someone at WM 10 division, the most SORRY division of MS.....
  • Slow-Joe was fired some time ago, are there anybody left behind?
  • It probably looks bad working with Zionist Terrorists , seeing as they're modern day Nazis.
  • wow... youre a real jackass arent you MasterChiefLv ... how did youy manage to take a forum about 60 people losing their jobs and turn it into a religion thing? So youre saying that all Israelis.... be it Jewish, Christian, Muslim, B'Hai (the largest population of B'Hai is in Israel) ... all of them are Nazis... what an ignaramous of epic proportions. Tell me something ..... did you acutally get any sort of education or.... you still living with uncle dad?    
  • There ya go edited for ya bud, don't get your panties in a bunch.
  • Thanks Nadella.
  • Goodbye to another cool MS tech :)