REDMOND, Wash., July 17 (UPI) -- Microsoft is expected to cut up to 18,000 jobs, which is close to 15 percent of its workforce, as the company attempts to streamline its operations.
In a statement released Thursday, Microsoft said that of the 15,000 jobs, 12,500 professional and factory positions will be eliminated on account of Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's handset business. Thursday's layoffs are the company's largest ever, surpassing the 5,800 employees that were let go in 2009, at the peak of the recession.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had hinted in a memo to employees last week that they should expect big organizational changes and that he would take any steps needed to benefit the company.
"My promise to you is that we will go through this process in the most thoughtful and transparent way possible," said Nadella in a memo to employees Thursday.
Sources close to the matter said that human resources had begun reserving conference rooms, possibly to meet with laid-off employees. Nadella will also conduct a Town Hall meeting with employees on Friday and address the layoffs, though the meeting was scheduled before the exact timing of the layoffs was known.
Microsoft has rarely had large layoffs and nothing close to this round of firings. The company, in the past, has let go of a few dozen to hundred people, but that too was rare. Many former employees say that the company has grown too big with 125,000 employees, and was finding it difficult to compete with more streamlined companies.
Cuts are expected to be in departments that overlap with Nokia's handset business. The company is expected to eliminate positions that are common to both and cuts are expected in other departments as well.