Microsoft's recent sales team shake up was the 'most significant' in the company's 42 year history

In July, Microsoft announced a big reorganization of its sales force to focus on cloud computing. That reorganization resulted in thousands of layoffs, mostly in its global sales organisation.

It may have seemed like just another reorg in a long line of restructurings at the 42-year old software company. But Microsoft said on Wednesday that this was actually the most sweeping change to its sales organisation in the company’s entire history.

In a filing with the SEC on Wednesday, Microsoft writes:

“The reorganization is the most significant change in our global sales organisation in Microsoft’s history, involving employees changing roles, adding additional talent, realigning teams, and onboarding new partners. Successfully executing these changes will be a significant factor in enabling future revenue growth.”

That sounds a little more serious than the way Microsoft described to Business Insider at the time: “Microsoft is implementing changes to better serve our customers and partners,” was all the company said then.

Ultimately, these changes most likely will see the company ramp up its efforts to sell subscription-based cloud services, a fast-growing business for Microsoft with an $US18.9 billion run rate. While its traditional buy-once software business is still huge, sales have been declining as the cloud business erodes its growth.

The move to reorganise the sales team came 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.

Read Microsoft’s full annual report here.

Get the latest Microsoft stock price here.

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