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Microsoft lays off thousands of mostly non-US workers

US media say 3,000 mostly non-US sales jobs will be cut, as the software giant prioritizes its cloud computing services. Microsoft has already let some 30,000 people go over the past four years.

Microsoft said late on Thursday it was shedding an unspecified number of jobs but provided few specific details about its plans.

"Today, we are taking steps to notify some employees that their jobs are under consideration or that their positions will be eliminated," the software giant said in an email.

CNBC said Microsoft's lay offs would impact some 3,000 people - most of them non-US sales staff.

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The cuts follow several other rounds of retrenchments at the Redmond, Washington-based tech firm that saw 18,000 positions lost in 2014, 7,800 jobs in 2015 and 4,700 last year.

Sales teams downsized

Several US media outlets reported earlier this week that Microsoft planned a reorganization of its global sales and marketing teams as it moves away from the one-time licensing of its Windows and Office software and towards monthly software subscriptions that can be used on any internet-connected device.

Satya Nadella Microsoft (Brian Smale/Microsoft/dpa)

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The company has been forced to prioritize so-called internet "cloud" computing and business services following a protracted decline in the PC market, analysts say.

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That subscription element of Microsoft's strategy has been particularly played up since Satya Nadella replaced Steve Ballmer as the company's CEO in 2014.

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The company's "commercial cloud" segment is on a pace to generate about $15 billion (13.14 billion euros) in annual revenue. Subscriptions to Microsoft's Office 365 service - which offers cloud access to its Word, Excel and PowerPoint software - have more than doubled in the past two years to 26 million.

More IT layoffs predicted

Global Equities research analyst Trip Chowdhry said the IT industry was undergoing a "major overhaul" and predicted that layoffs would "accelerate" as part of a shift to the cloud.

Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services are the dominant "super-clouds" for computing, according to the analyst.

In March, the company disclosed it employed about 120,000 staff globally, and that 19 percent of those worked in sales and marketing teams.

mm/rd (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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