Microsoft is cutting thousands of jobs

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Getty Images/Stephen Brashear

Microsoft is cutting about 10% of its global sales force, the company announced Thursday, confirming earlier reports of a mass layoff.

With about 50,000 people in the Microsoft sales organisation, that could mean up to 5,000 jobs cut. CNBC reports that the number would be closer to 3,000.

The layoffs are a part of a corporate reorganization Microsoft alerted employees to on Monday. Microsoft is restructuring its global sales force to refocus the group on selling its cloud-computing services.

The layoffs will primarily hit the company’s sales organisation. But they also will affect employees in related groups, like the finance and legal departments, said a person close to the company. The layoffs announced Thursday will be the only round related to this particular restructuring, the person said.

The move to reorganise the sales team comes about a year after the departure of Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner, who was in charge of the company’s sales organisation. The restructuring represents CEO Satya Nadella’s effort to reform the way Microsoft does sales to better support its fast-growing Azure and Office 365 cloud-computing businesses.

Microsoft’s fiscal year ends on June 30, and it traditionally announces reorganizations and layoffs at the start of July.

The company did not say what kind of severance it would offer to affected employees or whether it would take a financial charge related to the restructuring.

In trading on Thursday, Microsoft’s stock was off 58 cents, or less than 1%, to $US68.

Chief Tech Correspondent Julie Bort contributed to this story.

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