Microsoft is laying off ‘thousands’ of staff in a major global sales reorganization

Microsoft is about to fire thousands of employees around the world in a move to reorganize its sales force.

A source with knowledge of the planned reduction told Elearningexams that the US firm would lay off “thousands” of staff worldwide. The restructuring will include an organizational merger involving its business customer unit and one or more of its SME-focused divisions. The changes are scheduled to be announced next week, we understand.

Microsoft declined to comment.

Earlier this weekend, the Puget Sound Business Journal, Bloomberg and The Seattle Times reported “significant” layoffs related to a move to increase the emphasis on cloud services within Microsoft’s sales teams around the world. Bloomberg said layoffs would be “some of the most significant in the sales force in years.”

The reorganization appears to be the result of a change of leadership last year. Executives Judson Althoff and Jean-Philippe Courtois took over Microsoft’s marketing and sales divisions following the departure of long-time operations director Kevin Turner last summer. Althoff, for example, has been public in its critique of previous sales approaches, and is willing to make Azure a central part of the approach.

In any case, time is right for change, historically. The end of Microsoft’s fiscal year usually falls in July, and in recent years has been a time when the company has announced reductions in workforce.

Last year, Microsoft announced that it would cut 2,850 jobs – including at least 900 of its sales group, according to The Seattle Times – which two months earlier said it would leave 1,850 employees associated with its smartphone business. In July 2015, it made 7,800 job cuts and scored 7.6 billion dollars from its acquisition of Nokia.

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