Microsoft plans to cut up to 18,000 jobs by the middle of next year, as part of "a restructuring plan to simplify its organization and align the recently acquired Nokia Devices and Services business with the company’s overall strategy," the company said in a statement today.
Of that total "about 12,500 professional and factory positions will be eliminated through synergies and strategic alignment of the Nokia Devices and Services business acquired by Microsoft on April 25," with the restructuring plan to be "substantially complete" by Dec. 31 of this year and fully completed by June 30, 2015.
"My promise to you is that we will go through this process in the most thoughtful and transparent way possible," said CEO Satya Nadella in a memo to employees, followed by promises of severance and job transition help. Nadella also stressed that while Microsoft would be cutting jobs in some areas, they would also be "adding roles in certain other strategic areas." He also stated in the memo that most employees impacted by the restructuring would be notified within the next six months. He cited "work simplification" and "Nokia Devices and Services integration synergies and strategic alignment" as reasons for the layoffs.
This is Microsoft's largest ever round of layoffs, according to Re/code. Nadella replaced Steve Ballmer as CEO back in February, and many analysts see the restructuring effort as indicative of his overall approach of simplifying Microsoft's infrastructure. Shares in the company were up 3.3 percent in pre-market trading.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the cut represents about 14 percent of Microsoft's total workforce, which is estimated at 127,000.