Microsoft to Lay Off an Estimated 3,000 Employees

Shutterstock / Paolo Bona

Microsoft will lay off as many as 3,000 employees as part of a reorganization of its sales and marketing efforts, the Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant announced Thursday.

The company, which declined to specify the number of positions being eliminated, portrayed the job reductions as less a cost-cutting measure and more a reorientation in support of its cloud-services product Azure. Under CEO Satya Nadella, Azure has become a bigger and bigger priority as the company seeks to become more competitive with other leaders in the space including Amazon and Google.

“Microsoft is implementing changes to better serve our customers and partners,” the company said in a released statement. “Today, we are taking steps to notify some employees that their jobs are under consideration or that their positions will be eliminated. Like all companies, we evaluate our business on a regular basis. This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time-to-time, re-deployment in others.”

Most of the affected employees hail from outside the U.S. and amount to less than 10% of the company’s workforce. Microsoft has 71,000 employees in the U.S. and 121,000 employees worldwide. Sales and marketing accounts for nearly one-fifth of the company’s staff.

Microsoft’s shares were down 0.7% at $68.63 on Thursday.