The uncertainty surrounding Microsoft's future will make it more difficult for the company to retain its top IT staff in the face of growing competition from Internet start-up companies, recruitment experts said this week.
Although few are predicting an immediate exodus of staff from Microsoft, the longer-term ability of the company to attract and retain world-class staff will almost certainly be damaged.
The problem could be particularly acute in the UK, where reforms to relax capital gains tax for executives in Internet start-ups could encourage more Microsoft staff to join dotcoms.
Peter Searle, managing director of Computer People, said the judgment would allow new companies to set up in competition to Microsoft, acting as a potential magnet to Microsoft staff that are finding their share options less attractive.
David Higgins, chief executive of Harvey Nash, said that although the judgment would not change the fact that Microsoft is a world-leading company, it may find it more difficult to attract good people in the future.