Microsoft Partners Expect More Emphasis On The Channel Following Round Of Layoffs

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As Microsoft confirmed Thursday that a new round of job cuts has begun, solution providers said the moves appear aimed at making the company more partner-centric, amid a push to increase sales of cloud and other fast-growing products.

The layoffs are part of the company's efforts "to better serve our customers and partners," a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement to CRN.

"Microsoft is reducing the size of its direct sales force, particularly in SMB, pushing more to partners or self-service," said Allen Falcon, CEO of Westborough, Mass.-based Cumulus Global.

[Related: Partners: Microsoft Reorganization Will Sharpen Focus On Industry Solutions And Hot Technologies]

The layoffs are part of a broader reorganization of Microsoft's sales and marketing teams, initially disclosed by the company this week in a memo to staff.

At Washington D.C.-based New Signature, CEO Jeff Tench called the moves by Microsoft "a continuation of their shift in investment to be more focused on vertical solutions and cloud technologies, while realigning to better meet the needs of their customers and partners." 

Altogether, the changes are "positive for the future growth of Microsoft and New Signature's business," Tench said.

In February, Microsoft rolled out its One Commercial Partner business to combine its ISV, Enterprise Partner and Worldwide Partner Group teams, as well as a new unit, Microsoft Digital, to incentivize partners to sell its cloud services. 

A Microsoft spokesperson said in the statement Thursday that "we are taking steps to notify some employees that their jobs are under consideration or that their positions will be eliminated." 

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