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by SixFigureStart | January 28, 2009


There's one non-negotiable rule regarding interpersonal communication these days -- don't break up with a significant other via email or text message. Microsoft committed the workplace equivalent when it recently let 1,400 employees know that they had been, in Vault's new-old parlance, Pink Slipped. Valleywag reported that the company sent an email to the chosen ones -- and further, that the note contained digital rights management coding so that it could not be copied, forwarded or printed. If accurate, that's truly nervy: You've been dumped, and you can't even include Microsoft's email as evidence in your complaints to relatives and coworkers. (And though they are viable alternatives, even taking a screen-capture or snapping a cell phone picture of the material may be technically illegal under 1998's Digital Millennium Copyright Act.) Valleywag published more from its source: "No meeting with their boss. No meeting with HR. Nada." (Microsoft's PR rep at Waggener Edstrom tersely denied the accusation.)

For those in the industry who misguidedly consider Microsoft as the embodiment of Corporate Evil, this could be just the support they need to add to their ranks. Do keep in mind, though, that CEO Steve Ballmer did issue a carefully-composed (and non-protected) email beforehand, lamenting the need for layoffs on such a large scale and their destructive effect on its employees. And when you're talking huge job cut figures, perhaps there isn't a better way. (We may find out when the recent tidal wave of layoffs takes effect.) What do you think? Feel free to comment below, or send your own email to

--Posted by Todd Obolsky, Vault Staff Writer


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