Microsoft reportedly lays off hundreds of staff

Microsoft has reportedly laid off staff from many departments, including teams working on Xbox and gaming projects.
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Tech company Microsoft has reportedly laid off hundreds of staff from a range of departments, including Xbox and other gaming divisions. The news was broken by Business Insider, which reported that just under 1,000 staff would be impacted by cost-cutting measures.

‘Like all companies, we evaluate our business priorities on a regular basis, and make structural adjustments accordingly,’ a Microsoft spokesperson told Business Insider. ‘We will continue to invest in our business and hire in key growth areas in the year ahead.’

The reason for the cuts was not made clear – but it comes at a time of major economic challenge, with many companies around the world currently looking for new cost-saving measures as belts tighten and global economies depress.

Read: Mighty Kingdom announces staff layoffs to reduce costs

Currently, Microsoft employs around 180,000 people worldwide – with the latest round of layoffs accounting for less than 1% of its headcount. At this stage, it appears that ‘business priorities’ are what led to the cuts – and while these aren’t specified, it’s well known Microsoft is currently facing major internal change.

For one thing, the company is currently in the process of sealing a US $68.7 billion deal to acquire fellow game publisher Activision Blizzard. The approval for this is now underway, but it hasn’t been without hurdles, including several court battles and appeals that have likely added to the total cost of purchase.

While this is not directly responsible for the decision to instigate layoffs, it may be a contributing factor.

Amongst the Microsoft divisions experiencing layoffs is Studio Alpha – the ‘serious games’ segment of the company focussing on war gaming simulations for real-life applications. The Mission Expansion cloud team has also reportedly been gutted.

Other departments impacted reportedly include Xbox, the Microsoft Strategic Missions and Technology division, and teams working alongside the Chief Technology Officer. Those laid off include veteran employees, as well as recent hires.

Our thoughts are with those impacted by these layoffs.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.