Earlier this week, a story broke about a deal where Microsoft agreed to hand over its display advertising sales business to AOL. In return, AOL would use Bing as the default search engine on all their websites. At the time, it was unknown how the employees of the Bing division would fare in this deal, however, now it seems the transferred employees are concerned about their future.
Before the deal, AOL employed 4,500 people. Adding another 1,200 marketing and engineering people could make the company unsustainable. Management has insisted that no one would be let go. However, the employees aren’t reassured. They fear there will be a duplication of roles and that the cost of the division will encourage layoffs. As noted over on Business Insider, AOL had a sales force before the deal.
AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has a history when it comes to cutting jobs. In 2010, he cut 1,000 jobs, and 1,000 others agreed to take voluntary redundancies. Just this year, 150 jobs from the advertising sales teams were also cut.
An AOL spokesperson had this to say, “AOL is looking to transition Microsoft’s sales and trade marketing employees in the nine markets to our business. Microsoft is full of great talent, and we are excited to continue to build the number one advertising services company in the world. Microsoft and AOL will operate as two separate entities for now, with the goal of integrating Microsoft employees into our sales structure by the end of the year. This does not at all change our focus on moving more to automation as the market continues to transform. This transition is going to take quite some time, different markets at different times.”
US bound Microsoft employees have been given a deadline of 10 days to accept the new AOL terms. Should they do so, they will become AOL employees on July 16. What do you make of this development? Do you think Microsoft should have ensured job security for the employees in the deal?