Microsoft Lays Off 2,100, Closes Research Lab

Microsoft announced a new found of layoffs and the closure of a Silicon Valley research lab. Further cutbacks are expected.

Microsoft layoffs

Microsoft's Silicon Valley campus has been hit with layoffs, leading to the closure of a research lab at the software giant's Mountain View, Calif., campus.

In the latest round of layoffs, the company slashed 2,100 jobs, according to a Reuters report. The layoffs are part of massive cuts Microsoft first announced July 17. Over the next year, Microsoft plans to eliminate a total of 18,000 positions, or 14 percent of the estimated 127,000 workers employed at the company at the time of the July announcement.

News spread as ex-Microsoft employees took to social media to update followers on their careers.

"Well, so long Microsoft Research Silicon Valley. It was nice while it lasted," posted one of the facility's researchers, Derek Murray, on Twitter. In a follow-up tweet, he revealed that the lab would be shutting its doors Sept. 19.

Microsoft Research Silicon Valley was founded in 2001 and was home to 75 researchers. The lab was primarily focused "on distributed computing and includes privacy, security, protocols, fault-tolerance, large-scale systems, concurrency, computer architecture, Internet search and services, and related theory," states the company's Website.

Microsoft confirmed that shuttering the lab would affect 50 jobs, said the report. An estimated 2,500 employees will remain at the Mountain View campus.

Another 747 Seattle-area workers lost their jobs on Sept. 18, an oddly specific number of significance to the area's history. Boeing, which was founded in Seattle, maintains the plant that built the first of its iconic 747 jumbo jet in nearby Everett, Wash.

More job cuts are expected. In total, Microsoft has laid off over 15,000 workers this year, counting those hit by massive cuts affecting the company's Nokia handset unit, which it acquired as part of a $7 billion deal that closed on April 25.

Stephen Elop, executive vice president of Microsoft's Devices Group and former Nokia CEO, said in a statement at the time that integrating the smartphone maker "would result in an estimated reduction of 12,500 factory direct and professional employees over the next year." Plans called for the group's phone engineering efforts to be consolidated "in Salo, Finland, (for future, high-end Lumia products) and Tampere, Finland, (for more affordable devices)" upon phasing out the Oulu, Finland, facility, he added.

Meanwhile, the company's board of directors is about to experience its share of exits and welcome new faces.

On Sept. 16, accompanying news of an 11 percent dividend hike (to $0.31 per share), Microsoft announced that Dave Marquardt, co-founder and general partner of August Capital, and Dina Dublon, former chief financial officer of JP Morgan Chase, are retiring from the board in December. Joining the board on Oct. 1 are Charles W. Scharf, chief executive officer of Visa, and Teri List-Stoll, chief financial officer for Kraft Foods Group.

"Teri brings exceptional financial and operational expertise, as well as great insights from her two decades of experience in consumer and retail industries," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a statement. "Charlie, as a sitting CEO of a large global business, brings additional strategic and operational depth to the Microsoft board, as well as a deep understanding of how commerce is changing globally."

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...