Microsoft consumer team here hit by layoffs

Microsoft said it was cutting an unspecified number of jobs amid reports the US tech giant was reorganizing its global sales operations.

Global layoffs at Microsoft have hit the Singapore consumer team.

Sources told The Straits Times that almost the entire consumer team, comprising more than 10 sales and marketing people, has been laid off. Only one person is left to manage the distribution of products such as the Xbox game console, Surface tablets and peripherals such as the wireless mouse to retailers in Singapore.

After the cuts, the tech giant still has about 2,000 staff here in its enterprise divisions.

When contacted, a Microsoft spokesman in Singapore would say only that "Microsoft is implementing changes to better serve our customers and partners". She said Microsoft notified the affected employees two weeks ago, but would not confirm the headcount loss.

"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, redeployment in others."

The cuts are part of a global restructuring exercise to redirect the focus of its remaining sales team to its cloud service, Azure.

Chief executive Satya Nadella has sought to reduce the United States tech giant's focus on software, shifting to cloud computing and business services. Rivals like Amazon and Google have a head start in the cloud computing space.

A source here familiar with the cuts said he saw the layoffs coming. "Many people did not have the right skills to be redeployed," he said.

Microsoft would not disclose the global headcount loss, although CNBC had reportedly put it at up to 3,000. The tech company has announced thousands of job cuts in recent years, includinga 4,700 reduction last year.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 18, 2017, with the headline Microsoft consumer team here hit by layoffs. Subscribe