Microsoft lays off 10,000 employees

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks at the company’s Ignite Spotlight event in Seoul on November 15, 2022.

Seong Joon Cho | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Microsoft said Wednesday it will lay off 10,000 employees through March 31 as the software maker braces for slower revenue growth. The company is also taking a $1.2 billion suit.

Alphabet, Amazon and Sales team are among the technology companies that have cut their workforce in recent weeks. The downsizing comes after demand for cloud computing and collaboration services picked up as companies, government agencies and schools encouraged remote working to reduce exposure to Covid.

Rising prices have prompted companies to become more cautious about technology spending, hurting the outlook for technology stocks that have outperformed other market sectors year over year. Now Microsoft and its colleagues are taking stock. In July, Microsoft said it will cut less than 1% of workers, and in October it confirmed another round of job cuts reportedly affecting fewer than 1,000 workers.

“I have every confidence that Microsoft will come out of this stronger and more competitive,” CEO Satya Nadella told employees in a memo posted on Microsoft’s website. The move will reduce Microsoft’s workforce by less than 5%, and some employees will find out this week if they lose their jobs, he wrote.

Microsoft shares rallied slightly higher at the US Open after the announcement.

Employees in the US who qualify for benefits will receive severance pay for six months that exceeds the market, health care and stocks that vest. and a 60-day notice before their work ends, Nadella wrote.

Nadella repeated trends in the business environment that he has described in recent months.

“While we saw customers accelerate their digital spend during the pandemic, we are now seeing them optimize their digital spend to do more with less,” he wrote. “We also see organizations in every industry and region taking caution as some parts of the world are in recession and others are anticipating it.”

Earlier this month, Nadella indicated that the company may need to make adjustments.

“I think as a global company we will not be immune to what is happening in the macro,” he said in an interview with CNBC-TV18. “We’re also going to need to get our own operational focus to make sure our spending is in line with our revenue growth.”

Microsoft has called for 2% revenue growth in the fiscal second quarter, which would be the slowest pace since 2016.

Big layoffs aren’t an annual exercise for the 47-year-old Microsoft, but they do happen once in a while. In 2017, Microsoft laid off thousands of employees in a wide-ranging reorganization of its sales department. In 2014, after acquiring Nokia’s devices and services business, Microsoft laid off 18,000 people.

The charges cover layoffs, hardware and the cost of rent consolidation, Nadella wrote.

“Each of us and every team across the company must raise the bar and outperform the competition to deliver meaningful innovation that can truly benefit customers, communities and countries,” Nadella wrote. “If we deliver on this, we will emerge stronger and thrive well into the future; simple as that.”

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