from the let's-work-this-out dept
The part that gets lost in most of the discussions is the fact that Zynga was only asking about unvested stock options, rather than vested ones. Unvested stock options are just like future salary. You can lose it if you get fired. What Zynga did here was take a few employees that it felt weren't achieving up to expectations and, rather just fire them -- in which case they would have received none of their unvested options -- try to find another role for them in the company. That other role, however, would be somewhat lower on the totem pole, and thus, would be entitled to fewer stock options. Yes, it's basically a demotion, but for some people perhaps that's preferable to an outright firing.
But here's the key point. Most of the "Zynga bad!" reporting on this made it sound as though Zynga was taking back options that had already vested. That's false and misleading. Nothing was taken back from the employees. The already vested options remained untouched. Basically Zynga was offering a way for people, who otherwise would have been fired, to keep accumulating some options, just at a lower rate. That may be insulting, but it seems like a more reasonable and humane solution than just firing them outright.