Microsoft building

Image courtesy of PC World/Mircosoft

Microsoft May Announce Layoffs of 700

| published January 22, 2017 |

By Thursday Review business editors

The software and tech giant Microsoft—facing possible criticism of lower-than-expected earnings numbers this week—may layoff between 650 and 700 employees, according to company insiders and various media reports.

The 700 potential layoffs represent a small number for Microsoft, which employs more than 112,000 workers, but the cuts also suggest that business has slowed down substantially for the software giant, known most widely for its ubiquitous Windows operating systems found on millions of computers worldwide.

Though Microsoft officials have not confirmed the reports of layoffs, numerous company insiders have told the press that the announcements regarding cutbacks could come next week. There are no reliable reports of where the job cuts will take place or how soon, but most experts suggest that the cuts may occur evenly throughout the company. The layoffs could also accompany a process of attrition whereby Microsoft lets some positions go unfilled as other employees leave, retire, or depart for other reasons.

The cuts come as no shock to the markets or to Microsoft employees: deeper layoffs had been projected as far back as last summer when the company announced its plans to refocus its efforts on the most profitable areas of its business model and said that over the next 18 months as many as 2,800 jobs may be lost. Many of those layoffs have already taken place, and the current 700 proposed cuts are part of last summer’s estimates.

Some of the layoffs, Microsoft said in June 2016, would be temporary, while others could be permanent. Many jobs previously cut completely came in 2014 and 2015, when the company downsized its troubled smartphone and tablet divisions.

Microsoft policy is to give employees whose jobs are being cut an opportunity to transfer into a new role, if appropriately qualified. Company insiders also point out that the potential 700 jobs being cut are not reflective of the fact that the company has more than 1,000 jobs open at this time. The company website lists at least 1,600 positions currently available in more than a dozen locations.

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