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The rumors from earlier this week are true: today Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced in a company-wide memo that there would be workforce reduction of 18,000 jobs. This will be the largest round of layoffs in Microsoft’s history, though it should be mentioned that the vast majority – 12,500, to be specific – are coming from the Nokia Devices and Services division, which was acquired only a few months ago. Without the Nokia cuts, that leaves 5,500 jobs being lost at Microsoft proper, 300 fewer than the former record holding layoff round in 2009.

The layoffs will begin very soon, with the first 13,000 positions being eliminated within 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,” writes Nadella, going on to offer hope to those who will soon lose their jobs. “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.”

As far as how the new Microsoft will function, to which the CEO alluded last week, Nadella explains that going forward the company will have “fewer layers of management, both top down and sideways, to accelerate the flow of information and decision making.” And it seems as though one big decision has already been made: Nadella says that the Nokia X handset line – the first and only Nokia (and now Microsoft) smartphones to run Android – will be converted to Windows Phone OS with the Lumia brand. Nokia X, we hardly knew ye.

That Microsoft would be laying off a lot of staff wasn’t surprising, though the sheer volume of jobs lost is difficult to gloss over. With 12,500 jobs coming from Nokia, it’s a sad fact that many of the workers at the recently acquired division likely knew the writing was on the wall when negotiations began a year ago. Hopefully the transition period for them won’t be too difficult when the hammer finally comes down.


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