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Large round of layoffs expected at Microsoft

By Nick Wingfield

New York Times

LAST UPDATED: 04:54 p.m. HST, Jul 16, 2014

SEATTLE » Last week, Microsoft's chief executive hinted in a long company memo that big organizational changes were coming soon. That time has arrived.

On Thursday, Microsoft is planning to announce layoffs that will substantially exceed the largest layoffs in the company's history, according to several people briefed on the decision who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. Previously, the largest layoffs were in 2009, when about 5,800 people were affected.

Employees at the company's campus in Redmond, Washington, are already bracing for the news. Human resources managers have begun reserving conference rooms for most of Thursday, most likely a sign that they will be used to meet with laid-off employees, a person with knowledge of the plans said.

Employees will have an opportunity to question Microsoft's chief executive, Satya Nadella, about the cuts on Friday at a regular town hall meeting that was scheduled before the exact timing of the layoffs was known.

Frank Shaw, a company spokesman, declined to comment.

Large layoffs are a rarity at Microsoft. Its layoffs in 2009 came during the economic recession that followed the bursting of the housing bubble. Since then, Microsoft has had a few more rounds of staff reductions, but the number of employees let go were typically in the dozens or hundreds.

With 125,000 employees, even letting go thousands more than the 5,800 people it laid off in 2009 would represent a small portion of its workforce. Bloomberg News earlier reported that Microsoft's layoffs could be announced as early as this week.

Many current and former employees say Microsoft has grown too large and complex to compete effectively against other, more nimble companies.

In his 3,100-word memo to all employees last week, Nadella said Microsoft would announce organizational changes in July to help it simplify and move faster.

"We will increase the fluidity of information and ideas by taking actions to flatten the organization and develop leaner business processes," he wrote. "Culture change means we will do things differently."

The deepest cuts are expected to come from the businesses the company bought from Nokia several months ago, a deal that added about 25,000 people to Microsoft's payroll. Microsoft previously pledged to find about $600 million in annual cost savings after the acquisition was completed.

But the cuts will not be confined to its Nokia groups, according to the people briefed on the company's decision. In his memo, Nadella made it clear that he intended to pursue a much broader transformation of the company.

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islandsun wrote:
Another reason why these firms need to pay more taxes. They eliminate jobs rather than produce jobs at an increasing rate. The old economic model no longer applies.
on July 16,2014 | 04:53PM
cojef wrote:
Unprofitable acquisitions can affect the the bottom line and reduction in force is a necessary action. CEO's have to keep shareholders happy and drastic actions are needed. This stock has been unprofitable for me since I bought it way back 6 years ago and only recently has shown signs of a glimmer. Corporate tax rates are currently the highest in the world, and any increases will certainly drive more large corporation with foreign subsidiaries to locate their headquarters abroad to avoid paying taxes in the USA. This will result in more layoffs and the loss of the tax revenue they are currently paying.
on July 16,2014 | 06:02PM
FluidMotion wrote:
Yes, lets increase taxes on these companies so their costs increase and they have to fire more people. Wake up, increasing taxes is NOT the answer.
on July 17,2014 | 12:58AM
serious wrote:
Agreed, tell that to the tenant in the White House. We have the highest corporate taxes in the world and HE wonders why they are setting up dummy companies overseas. Switzerland has a 15% tax rate, USA 35%. Any CEO who doesn't cut taxes would be fired by his Board.
on July 17,2014 | 04:14AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Beware of any sudden increase in our homeless population, because it could have originated from Seattle.
on July 16,2014 | 06:54PM
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