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Fate uncertain for ex-Sybari workers at Microsoft

Software giant weighs what to do with almost half of Sybari's work force after taking over the security tools maker.

A month after closing its acquisition of Sybari Software, Microsoft is weighing the fate of roughly half of the security software maker's work force.

East Northport, N.Y.-based Sybari, which employed roughly 280 people worldwide before the Microsoft acquisition, will retain only 150 workers, with the remainder under review, a Microsoft executive said Wednesday.

"Sybari still has 282 employees," Janet Cho, a senior manager in Microsoft's human resources department, told CNET News.com's sister site ZDNet Germany. "We will keep 150 of them. With the rest, we are in negotiations. This is no mass dismissal--we try to be very cautious with all these people. We want to keep as much people as possible and integrate them into Microsoft."

Employees in Sybari's research and development unit will likely be retained, said one source close to the companies. The source noted, however, that the cuts will largely depend on the location and function of each employee.

But for those dropped, expectations of a long and fruitful career with Microsoft have been cut short.

"Just two weeks after we received our Microsoft company ID cards, all of us in Germany received our layoff notices. These were invalid, however, because the signature of Bob Wallace (president and CEO of Sybari) and the entire document were merely photocopied. Now all of us have turned to the local labor court," a former Sybari employee told ZDNet Germany.

Three of the seven employees of Sybari in Germany--two engineers and one salesperson--were kept on board, the former Sybari employee said. These people had to sign an agreement stating that their previous work contracts were no longer valid and that they would now enter a six-month probationary period.

Dietmar Mueller of ZDNet Germany reported from Munich. CNET News.com's Dawn Kawamoto contributed to this report.