Tech Giant Microsoft to Lay Off 18,000 Workers

One of the world's biggest technology companies, U.S.-based Microsoft, says it plans to lay off up to 18,000 workers over the next year.

The company said Thursday it is making the job cuts -- amounting to 14 percent of its workforce of 127,000 -- to restructure after its recent acquisition of the phone business of Finland's Nokia company.

Microsoft is the world's largest software maker, but with the takeover of part of Nokia's business, it is seeking to become a major contender in the competitive cellphone market that has been dominated by South Korea's Samsung, Nokia and U.S.-based Apple.

Microsoft said the layoffs would include about 12,500 professional and factory workers, with the job cuts mostly occurring by the end of this year and fully completed by next June. Many of the positions are being cut to eliminate overlap with Nokia.

Before the Nokia takeover, Microsoft had 99,000 workers, with 58,000 in the U.S. and 41,000 in foreign countries.

According to Reuters, the largest personnel reduction in the company's nearly 40-year history comes "five months into the tenure of Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella, who outlined plans for a 'leaner' business in a public memo to employees last week.

The announcement said the restructuring will cost the company between $1.1 billion and $1.6 billion over the next year, with much of that in severance pay to the workers it is cutting.

Some information for this report comes from AP and Reuters.

VOA News / Jul. 18, 2014 08:06 KST