Mi­crosoft to cut 'thou­sands' of jobs

The Star (St. Lucia) - - BUSINESS -

Mi­crosoft is to cut "thou­sands" of jobs world­wide as it at­tempts to beef up its pres­ence in the cloud com­put­ing sec­tor. The tech­nol­ogy gi­ant wants to strengthen its cloud com­put­ing di­vi­sion but is fac­ing in­tense com­pe­ti­tion from ri­vals such as Ama­zon and Google.

The cuts are ex­pected to hit the sales team hard­est as Mi­crosoft puts more em­pha­sis on sell­ing cloud ser­vices. The ma­jor­ity of cuts are ex­pected to be out­side the US. The com­pany would not pro­vide ad­di­tional de­tail.

Mi­crosoft em­ploys about 121,000 peo­ple glob­ally, in­clud­ing about 3,000 in the UK. Mi­crosoft UK has a cloud team based in Read­ing, as well as three data centres around the coun­try.

In re­cent years, the firm has timed ma­jor re­or­gan­i­sa­tions to co­in­cide with the end of its fi­nan­cial year in June. Pre­vi­ous lay­offs tar­geted the firm's hard­ware unit.

Cloud com­put­ing in­volves com­pa­nies stor­ing files and pro­grammes in big data centres so they can be ac­cessed any­where, not just on in­di­vid­ual com­put­ers. Mi­crosoft wants to tar­get its sales op­er­a­tions bet­ter in an ef­fort to at­tract busi­nesses look­ing to shift stor­age and other parts of their busi­nesses on­line to the cloud. Mi­crosoft said it had no­ti­fied some em­ploy­ees that their po­si­tions will be "elim­i­nated".

"Mi­crosoft is im­ple­ment­ing changes to bet­ter serve our cus­tomers and part­ners," it said in a state­ment. "Like all com­pa­nies, we eval­u­ate our busi­ness on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. This can re­sult in in­creased in­vest­ment in some places and, from time-to-time, re­de­ploy­ment in oth­ers."

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Satya Nadella has been fo­cus­ing on the firm's cloud unit, which has been a source of strength for Mi­crosoft. The firm said its "in­tel­li­gent cloud" prod­ucts gen­er­ated $1.7bn (£1.3bn) in rev­enue for the nine months to the end of March, driven by dou­bling rev­enue from its cloud com­put­ing plat­form Azure. How­ever, Mi­crosoft is still lag­ging a long way be­hind Ama­zon Web Ser­vices in the sec­tor.

Mi­crosoft’s Satya Nadella worked on the firm’s cloud prod­ucts be­fore be­ing named chief ex­ec­u­tive in 2014.

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