Report: Microsoft To Lay Off Thousands, Enterprise, SME Sales Groups Could Be Affected

Microsoft is reportedly readying to lay off thousands of employees, a move that could impact the software giant's enterprise sales team.

The TechCrunch report said the Redmond, Wash.-based company planned to lay off "thousands" of employees, particularly around its sales teams.

The report, citing unnamed sources, specified the company's enterprise customer and SME-focused units as areas that could be particularly hit by the sales cuts. A second report in Bloomberg late last week said global sales and marketing could also be impacted.

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The reports said the layoffs could be announced as soon as this week. The reports speculated announcements could come around the end of Microsoft's fiscal year, which is Friday.

The reported layoff plans come as Microsoft plans a global sales reorganization, Bloomberg and Puget Sound Business Journal reports said late last week. The reports said the reorganization would help Microsoft better focus on selling its cloud software and services.

The reorganization to focus on the cloud comes as competition in the cloud software and services market heats up, with Microsoft looking to stand as a major player in the space against public cloud competitors Amazon Web Services and Google. The three rivals are locked in a heated battle to control the public cloud, a market that's exploding at an almost 50 percent growth rate and approaching $10 billion in quarterly revenue, according to a recent analysis by Synergy Research.

The layoffs would be the latest round of cuts to affect Microsoft in recent years. The company announced layoffs of 2,850 last year, a large percentage of which came from its sales group, and 1,850 from its smartphone business. In 2015, the company cut 7,500 jobs after its Nokia acquisition.