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Contractors risk mini-Microsoft-protest

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Microsoft contractors unhappy with a 10 per cent pay cut took to the streets just as senior management - again - talked up future hiring.

The revolution does not start here: Just 15 temps showed up to protest the cuts yesterday evening (Monday) at an intersection near Microsoft's corporate headquarters in Redmond, Washington. Demo organizer Phil Palios had emailed 2,000 contractors inviting them to join in the collective fun.

Palios, a software design engineer, is contracted to Microsoft through Volt, one of many Seattle-area agencies cutting pay rates by 10 per cent on Microsoft orders.

The micro-protest came as Microsoft's chief operating officer Kevin Turner repeated chief executive Steve Ballmer's theme of expanding the company's full-time workforce. Spending online has become justified in terms of future job creation at Microsoft, it seems.

Speaking at CeBit this week, Turner noted that Microsoft's expansion in R&D in search and online advertising and services could add up to 2,000-3,000 new jobs.

He said Microsoft planned to spend a record $9bn on R&D this year - $1bn more than last year as the company works out the technology to go online. To put that spend in perspective, Microsoft's R&D hovered between $6.18bn and and $7.78bn in 2005 and 2004. ®

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