Microsoft cutting 18,000 jobs

According to a company email sent around to employees today, Microsoft will be laying off 18,000 people, roughly 14% of their workforce.

It was almost inevitable that soon after Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sent around an email discussing sweeping changes to the company’s structure people would be getting pink slips.

Nadella told employees in an email today:

“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.

“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.

“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.”

Nadella added the standard ‘we will do this with all respect’ and ‘people will get severance and job transition help’ words intended to settle some people’s fears. He also invited everyone to his monthly Q&A event to be held tomorrow and I expect the meeting to be well attended.

It’s not surprising that the Nokia acquisition brought in a lot of extra people – mergers usually result in layoffs sooner or later. But it’s sad to see Microsoft laying off so many people when companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google have been hiring people like crazy here in Silicon Valley.