The Daily Parker

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Microsoft to Contractors: Take a (short) hike

Microsoft has suspended at least 1,000 contracts with developers for a week, just like (*snap*) that:

Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos said Monday that Microsoft told vendors who supply the contractors that about 1,000 workers globally would not be needed this week. The vendors, whose workers do software development for Microsoft, also were told to schedule two other days off, Gellos said.
Gellos also said the decision was unrelated to a move, announced late last week, to offer new perks to its Redmond employees such as enhanced child-care benefits, access to dry cleaning and grocery delivery services, and better cafeteria food.

Now, it's well known in the industry that Microsoft uses contractors as their primary workforce. This demonstrates one of the reasons. You can't lay off 1,000 employees for a week; it winds up costing more than you save. But contractors? No such restrictions.

It works both ways, however. Contractors rarely have the long-term interests of the company in mind. (I hope the companies that have contracted for my services feel I'm in the minority.) Over the past few years I've gotten increasingly distressed seeing the quality of work that many contractors produce. The simple solution, I think, is to have long-term employees supervise the contractors better on the one hand, and to create a workable system of warranties on the other. If contractors had to maintain their own code, I guarantee you they'd write better stuff.

Those topics will have to wait, however, while I go back to fulfilling the last day of my current contract.

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