Microsoft has been making headlines lately, but not for what one might expect.
Earlier this month the company said it would be eliminating up to 18,000 jobs – that’s almost 15% of its workforce – over the next year in order to integrate its business with Nokia, the company Microsoft purchased back in April. Microsoft’s employer roster went from 99,000 to 127,000 after the purchase, but the growth was too much for Microsoft to handle. Of the projected 18,000, about 12,500 of the cut positions will be professional and factory related.
This is not the first time Microsoft has felt the blow of massive layoffs. Back in 2009 the company let go of 5,800 employees – an extremely rare event that followed the recession and housing bubble. This new round is three times the size and coming at a relatively stable time, but it won’t come cheap. Microsoft is anticipating layoff related charges to reach up to $1.6 billion, including $800 million for severance and related benefit costs. That’s a significantly high cost for a round of layoffs.
While this decision was not necessarily expected, it didn’t come entirely as a surprise. Last week Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella reportedly released a company-wide, 3,100 word memo announcing organizational changes set to begin before the end of the month that would better the all-around performance of the company.
“We will increase the fluidity of information and ideas by taking actions to flatten the organization and develop leaner business processes,” Nadella wrote. “Culture change means we will do things differently.” Nadella wrote that this change will reach the entire company, meaning layoffs are expected to reach everyone, not just the Nokia groups.
No official start date has been given for the layoffs, but Nadella does have a town hall meeting scheduled for later this month, which is sure to be solely focused on this major announcement and how it will affect thousands of employees and the company at large.