Photo: Mel Carson
Microsoft Advertising confirmed that it cut a number of key advertising and marketing positions, underscoring our previous reports that the company may be in large part backing away from the advertising business.Among the victims are seven-year veteran Mel Carson.
As a digital marketing evangelist at Microsoft Advertising, Carson had a very public role at the company: His job was to forge relationships with the online advertising community at speaking events, digital ad conferences, trade shows, and writing thousands of post on Microsoft’s Advertising blog. He was moved from the U.K. to Seattle with his wife and baby daughter last year.
Carson wrote a personal blog post explaining: “Wow! 7 years (2555 days) to the day after I walked into Microsoft in London to help launch adCenter back in 2005, I was told this morning that my role has been “eliminated” in a round of lay offs.”
Although Microsoft wouldn’t say how many people are getting laid off and from what particular sections of the Advertising Department, a spokesperson did send an email to the Wall Street Journal saying, “I can confirm that there were job eliminations today at Microsoft”
The stated reason: it “works to align the business to key priorities … I can assure you we’re thinking about the exciting new opportunities that Windows 8, Xbox and Skype present for our advertising and marketing partners.”
Microsoft made it clear recently that online advertising is not a priority when it announced that Internet Explorer 10 would come with a default “Do not tack” feature, which Wired described as an “ad network nightmare.”
Furthermore, an advertising exec told us that this was done without the consultation of Microsoft’s Advertising Department, which then had to defend the new move (that they didn’t apparently support) to top-tier advertisers at the Cannes Lions festival in June. “They had their heads handed to them on a platter,” our source said.
Commenters on Carson’s blog note, “Does it strike anyone as ominous that Microsoft marketing is laying off core people associated with their pay-per-click services?”
Don’t expect too much gossip from recently laid-off employees. When asked for further comment, Carson told BI, “I still work for Microsoft for the next 60 days as I try and work out the next stage in my career. The wife would murder me if I messed up any severance package!
As I say, I have nothing but good memories and am looking forward to my next chapter.”
From effusive outpouring of industry-wide support on his blog, Twitter, and Facebook, it is clear that Carson was a familiar and loved face in the industry, both inside and outside Microsoft. He will be working on his book, Pioneers of Digital, as he looks for a new gig.
Microsoft laid off 200 employees in February of this year as a part of its re-shifting. It is unknown how many have been fired in this round.
Were you recently laid off by Microsoft? If anyone has insight as to what is going on, please email [email protected]
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