Excerpts from the blog A Google spokeswoman denied the company's undergoing a hiring freeze, as CNBC reported Wednesday, but it's apparently...

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Excerpts from the blog

A Google spokeswoman denied the company’s undergoing a hiring freeze, as CNBC reported Wednesday, but it’s apparently getting a little chilly.

That should make it easier for the company’s Kirkland team to find good spots in the new Sixth Street campus the company is opening early next year. (I wonder if the opening’s been delayed for cost reasons, to push the expense into Google’s 2009 fiscal year.)

CNBC’s story cited unnamed executives saying it was “made clear to them one month ago they were to make no new hires, including at the secretarial level and they were directed to fill all vacancies with internal candidates. In effect, they term it an unofficial hiring freeze.”

Spokeswoman Jane Penner said I shouldn’t use the F-word to describe the situation.

“We’ve slowed our rate of hiring,” she said. “But we are still hiring strategically and carefully, but definitely still hiring. We, for example, made offers to 30 people last week. The overarching point is we are definitely still hiring, and there’s no hiring freeze.”

She noted that Google already disclosed the slowdown during its Oct. 16 earnings call.

Penner didn’t have details on how the slower hiring will affect Google’s expansion in Seattle, where the company has secured plenty of room to grow in Fremont and Kirkland.

Microsoft similarly denied rumblings of a hiring freeze that surfaced early last month, saying it was being prudent and re-evaluating hiring. Then the company confirmed during its Oct. 23 earnings call that it’s cutting costs.

A new president

Change is in the air in Bothell, too. Insurance-automation company AMS Services announced Wednesday Bill Bunker was promoted to president.

Bunker, a former Onyx Software and MessageGate executive, joined AMS in 2005 as senior vice president of products and marketing. He’s reporting to Euan Menzies, chief executive of AMS parent company Vertafore, who had also been serving as AMS president.

AMS also promoted Ed Roshitsh to executive vice president and chief operating officer. He had been senior vice president of sales and enterprise operations.

The company employs 200 in Bothell and 700 nationally.

On the storage front

I was beginning to wonder if Microsoft would jettison Windows Home Server, now that its executive champion has turned to philanthropy while the company begins pitching Windows 7 and its Live Mesh platform as great ways to share files among multiple PCs.

But the WHS team is making noise again, coinciding with Microsoft’s developer conferences over the past couple of weeks in Los Angeles.

Last week, it demonstrated how WHS can work with Mesh and rolled out a new feng shui-themed marketing campaign.

The team blog also announced the software price for system builders was cut by 30 percent; it’s now available for as little as $99.99 (from NewEgg.com).

That’s just the software, for people installing it on their own hardware. It sounds like a fun winter project, since it doesn’t take much of a computer to run and hard drives are so cheap.

Also, the price of prebuilt systems is still pretty high, especially compared with the huge variety of external storage and backup devices available nowadays.

So far the only major PC maker to offer prebuilt Windows Home Server systems is Hewlett-Packard, which has been cutting prices with rebates. They’re now just under $500 for a 500-gigabyte model.

HP hasn’t released any new models, beyond the initial two released when WHS launched exactly one year ago, and the company didn’t have anything to say when I asked recently about the next versions.

Some smaller PC companies are building the servers, but the most interesting models are going only to Asian markets.

Yet people who bought Windows Home Servers are apparently using them heavily.

According to statistics compiled by Microsoft and shared on the team blog Tuesday, 29 percent of users have added four or more hard drives on their home servers.

“Lots and lots” of customers have more than 10 drives attached to the servers, and anonymous user data has shown systems with up to 27 drives attached.

So far the largest amount of available disk space Microsoft has seen is 22.06 terabytes.

The company’s also seen users with up to 19.32 terabytes of disk space used on their Windows Home Servers.

For perspective, the team noted that all 420-plus episodes of “The Simpsons” would take more than 600 gigabytes, and a full season of an NFL team’s games recorded in high-def would fill more than a terabyte.

(They must not be Seahawks fans, or they wouldn’t be thinking about saving any games this fall.)

This material has been edited for print publication.

Brier Dudley’s blog appears Thursdays. Reach him at 206-515-5687 or bdudley@seattletimes.com.