Microsoft has announced that it plans to axe 18,000 jobs and cease production of the Nokia X Android smartphones. Such plans were rumoured recently but not on this scale.
In the firm's biggest ever cull, a whopping total of 18,000 employees will lose their jobs – most of which are part of Nokia (12,500) which Microsoft acquired in April. Most of the cuts will be made by the end of the year with completion expect by 30 June 2015.
Microsoft's last large-scale layoff was in 2009, when the firm cut loose nearly 5,800 employees making this one the biggest in its entire history.
"The first step to building the right organization for our ambitions is to realign our workforce," said Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella adding: "Making these decisions to change are difficult, but necessary."
"It's important to note that while we are eliminating roles in some areas, we are adding roles in certain other strategic areas. My promise to you is that we will go through this process in the most thoughtful and transparent way possible."
The Nokia job cuts will be across professional and factory positions and Microsoft has promised severance as well as job transition help in many locations.
Nokia X to go Windows Phone Lumia
As part of the firm's restructure, the Nokia Devices and Services teams will be integrated into Microsoft.
"To win in the higher price tiers, we will focus on breakthrough innovation that expresses and enlivens Microsoft’s digital work and digital life experiences." said Nadella.
As per recent rumours, Microsoft will move the Nokia X range of smartphone from Android to Windows Phone with the Lumia branding. The change will take effect immediately but existing Nokia X models, including the recently launched Nokia X2, will continue to be on sale and receive support. See also: Why I won't buy a Nokia X Android phone: and nor should you.
"In addition to the portfolio already planned, we plan to deliver additional lower-cost Lumia devices by shifting select future Nokia X designs and products to Windows Phone devices. We expect to make this shift immediately while continuing to sell and support existing Nokia X products." said Stephen Elop, executive vice president at Microsoft.
"We will be particularly focused on making the market for Windows Phone. In the near term, we plan to drive Windows Phone volume by targeting the more affordable smartphone segments, which are the fastest growing segments of the market, with Lumia." he added.