Microsoft to Fire 14 Percent of Its Staff

Earlier this week, reports emerged indicating Microsoft may be about to go through their largest job cut in history, as an estimated 5,800 jobs were on the line. The reality of the cut, however, is much worse.

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Earlier this week, reports emerged indicating Microsoft may be about to go through their largest job cut in history, as an estimated 5,800 jobs were on the line. The reality of the cut, however, is much worse.

Microsoft will actually be firing 18,000 employees. That's exactly 14.16 percent of its global staff of 127,104. This is three times larger than their previous largest job cut, and very far out of the norm. Microsoft usually cuts several hundred people at once, not several thousand.

In a memo to employees sent this morning, CEO Satya Nadella said most of the cuts will come from the Nokia division. Roughly 12,500 of those employees will be shed, which is just under half of the 30,000 Nokia employees who joined Microsoft when the company was acquired last September.

The layoffs are set to start for the first 13,000 positions immediately, and the full 18,000 will be terminated in the next six months. This will cost Microsoft $1.1 billion to $1.6 billion in severance and benefits.

This massive layoff comes after Nadella sent a massive memo (3,187 words to be exact) the company made a point to share publicly. In the memo, Nadella makes comments about re-prioritizing the responsibilities of employees, adding he will use "the month of July to have a dialogue about this bold ambition and our core focus." It seems he will be re-prioritizing them out of their offices.

Here's the complete memo Nadella sent to staff about the cuts:

From: Satya Nadella

To: All Employees

Date: July 17, 2014 at 5:00 a.m. PT

Subject: Starting to Evolve Our Organization and Culture

Last week in my email to you I synthesized our strategic direction as a productivity and platform company. Having a clear focus is the start of the journey, not the end. The more difficult steps are creating the organization and culture to bring our ambitions to life. Today I’ll share more on how we’re moving forward. On July 22, during our public earnings call, I’ll share further specifics on where we are focusing our innovation investments.

The first step to building the right organization for our ambitions is to realign our workforce. With this in mind, we will begin to reduce the size of our overall workforce by up to 18,000 jobs in the next year. Of that total, our work toward synergies and strategic alignment on Nokia Devices and Services is expected to account for about 12,500 jobs, comprising both professional and factory workers. We are moving now to start reducing the first 13,000 positions, and the vast majority of employees whose jobs will be eliminated will be notified over the next six months. It’s important to note that while we are eliminating roles in some areas, we are adding roles in certain other strategic areas. My promise to you is that we will go through this process in the most thoughtful and transparent way possible. We will offer severance to all employees impacted by these changes, as well as job transition help in many locations, and everyone can expect to be treated with the respect they deserve for their contributions to this company.

Later today your Senior Leadership Team member will share more on what to expect in your organization. Our workforce reductions are mainly driven by two outcomes: work simplification as well as Nokia Devices and Services integration synergies and strategic alignment.

First, we will simplify the way we work to drive greater accountability, become more agile and move faster. As part of modernizing our engineering processes the expectations we have from each of our disciplines will change. In addition, we plan to have fewer layers of management, both top down and sideways, to accelerate the flow of information and decision making. This includes flattening organizations and increasing the span of control of people managers. In addition, our business processes and support models will be more lean and efficient with greater trust between teams. The overall result of these changes will be more productive, impactful teams across Microsoft. These changes will affect both the Microsoft workforce and our vendor staff. Each organization is starting at different points and moving at different paces.

Second, we are working to integrate the Nokia Devices and Services teams into Microsoft. We will realize the synergies to which we committed when we announced the acquisition last September. The first-party phone portfolio will align to Microsoft’s strategic direction. To win in the higher price tiers, we will focus on breakthrough innovation that expresses and enlivens Microsoft’s digital work and digital life experiences. In addition, we plan to shift select Nokia X product designs to become Lumia products running Windows. This builds on our success in the affordable smartphone space and aligns with our focus on Windows Universal Apps.

Making these decisions to change are difficult, but necessary. I want to invite you to my monthly Q&A event tomorrow. I hope you can join, and I hope you will ask any question that’s on your mind. Thank you for your support as we start to take steps forward in evolving our organization and culture.


This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.