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Microsoft may announce biggest round of layoffs in company history this week - report

Redmond, Wash., software giant Microsoft, which has struggled to find an answer to the success of Apple's iPad and iPhone, is said to be planning major staff reductions that could be the single biggest round of layoffs in the company's history.

Surface


The layoffs could be announced this week, and may top the 5,800 jobs that the company cut in 2009, according to unnamed sources who spoke with Bloomberg. The reductions are said to be part of a restructuring planned to reduce overlaps between Microsoft's mobile division and the Nokia Oyj handset unit it acquired last year for $7.2 billion.

That purchase of Nokia added some 30,000 employees to Microsoft's payroll, bringing its total number of personnel to nearly 130,000 as of early June.

The cost cutting measures are just the latest in a string of changes for the company, as it attempts to reclaim some of its past glory since lost to mobile devices, particularly Apple's iPhone and iPad. Microsoft was a major player in the smartphone space before the iPhone and devices running Google's Android took over the market, and sales of low-end Windows PCs have been hurt by the success of the iPad.

The biggest recent shakeup for Microsoft was the ouster of former Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, who many pundits and investors blamed for an inability to adapt in a changing mobile market. His successor, Satya Nadella, officially took over as CEO in February.

Nadella

Satya Nadella. | Source: Microsoft


While Microsoft was caught flat-footed by the iPhone and iPad, it took the company even longer to bring its popular Office suite to the iPad. Office for iPad became available this March, four years after Apple's market leading tablet first hit store shelves.

Apple's recent success undoubtedly helped push Microsoft into the hardware space, where the company develops its own hybrid tablet-laptop Surface devices, along with the recently acquired Nokia handset division, and even rumors of a forthcoming smart watch. Those moves mark a major change for Microsoft, which previously focused largely on software and services under the regime of Ballmer.