Microsoft To Lay Off Thousands

    By NICK WINGFIELD July 18,2014


    NICK WINGFIELD 2014年07月18日

    SEATTLE—Microsoft is trying to shake the effects of middle age.


    The company,which is now 39 years old,said on Thursday that it was laying off up to 18000 employees,in an attempt at reinvigoration. The cuts are the first major change made by Satya Nadella,the company’s new chief executive,who said Microsoft needed to be more nimble and focused.

    為了重現活力,走過了39個年頭的微軟週四宣佈,將裁减至多1.8萬名員工。此次裁員是公司的新首席執行官薩蒂亞·納德拉(Satya Nadella)的首項重大變革舉措。他表示,微軟需要變得更為靈活而專注。

    The job cuts would be the largest in the company’s history,representing about 14 percent of its work force. Most of the cuts will come from the Nokia mobile phone business Microsoft acquired this year.



    Markku Ruottinen/Lehtikuva,via Reuters


    While Microsoft still makes profits that executives at other companies would be ecstatic to have,it has been beaten on the biggest new trends in tech,including mobile,Internet search and cloud computing. As a result,it is regularly left out of conversations about companies defining the next generation of technology,outflanked and overshadowed by companies like Apple,Google,Facebook and Amazon.


    Cutting jobs does not mean the company will suddenly begin creating products that people love. And the cuts did not suggest a sharp shift in strategy. But it is a start of something new,in the view of many Microsoft critics,and one that could help the company concentrate on the businesses where it is likely to have the most impact.


    “I think this is a jolt to the culture,which is really needed,”said George F. Colony,the chief executive of Forrester Research,a technology research firm.“It was frozen in place,and lacked new creativity and innovation.”

    “我想這是一次文化震動,亟需的震動,”科技調研企業弗雷斯特研究公司(Forrester Research)的首席執行官喬治·F·科隆尼(George F. Colony)說。“微軟固步自封,缺乏新鮮的創造力和革新能力。”

    Investors have bought into his vision. The company’s stock,which languished during the tenure of Steven A. Ballmer,the company’s previous chief executive,is up about 22 percent since Mr. Nadella assumed the top job. On Thursday,its shares hit a 14-year high.

    投資者對他的願景頗為認同。在前任首席執行官史蒂文·A·鮑爾默(Steven A. Ballmer)治下,公司股價停滯不前,而自從納德拉接任以來,則飆升了22%左右。本週四,微軟股價創下14年來的最高點。

    But critics of Microsoft,including many former employees,believe the company has become overly bureaucratic and slow moving. The company has grown to 127000 employees worldwide,up from 57000 a decade ago. Apple,which is just a year younger than Microsoft,has about 85000 employees,nearly half of them in its retail stores. During the first three months of this year,Apple’s revenue and profit were each roughly double Microsoft’s.


    On Thursday,Mr. Nadella said in an email to employees that the layoffs were an effort to move faster,a message he has given repeatedly in recent months.


    “Having a clear focus is the start of the journey,not the end,”he said in the email.“The more difficult steps are creating the organization and culture to bring our ambitions to life.”


    He added:“The first step to building the right organization for our ambitions is to realign our work force.”


    Some investors were hoping for an even bolder move by Mr. Nadella,including trimming some product lines. The company’s investments in the search engine and video game businesses have come under particularly harsh scrutiny,raising questions about whether the company would be better off narrowing its focus to other more lucrative markets.


    Mr. Nadella did,however,take a scalpel to some projects that were especially far afield from its primary business. The company said it planned to shut down Xbox Entertainment Studios,a group in Santa Monica,Calif.,that was dedicated to producing original television programming for viewing on Microsoft’s video game system. Microsoft said it would complete some programs that were already underway,including two series based on the Halo game franchise.

    納德拉也的確拿一些遠離主要業務的項目開了刀。公司宣佈,計畫關停Xbox娛樂工作室(Xbox Entertainment Studios)。這座工作室位於加州聖莫尼卡,專門用來打造在微軟的電子遊戲系統中播放的原創電視節目。微軟表示,工作室將完成手頭上的一些節目,包括基於《光暈》(Halo)系列遊戲改編的兩部電視劇。

    The biggest chunk of job losses,though—about 12500—will come because of the Nokia deal. Mr. Nadella has singled out Microsoft’s mobile business as one of his top priorities,but the layoffs announced on Thursday amount to a significant retrenchment in one area of that market.


    The vast majority of the jobs being eliminated will come from the Nokia groups,though some will come from overlap at Microsoft resulting from the deal. Microsoft said 1100 job cuts would come from Finland,and 1800 from a Nokia factory in Hungary. The result is that Microsoft is letting go of nearly half of the 25000 people who joined the company from Nokia.