Microsoft cuts jobs as part of core shift to cloud computing

Company reportedly intends to replace the hundreds of eliminated jobs with new ones focused on the cloud

As part of a companywide shift toward cloud computing, Microsoft is cutting hundreds of jobs worldwide with plans to create new cloud-focused positions down the road, according to various reports.

TechFlash has reported that Microsoft is eliminating jobs in the low hundreds in the Seattle region -- and hundreds more globally. Though the figures are imprecise, they don't appear to represent a significant percentage of Microsoft 88,000-plus workforce. nor do they suggest that Microsoft is in immediate financial peril.

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Rather, the layoffs are part of a companywide rebalancing effort as Microsoft shifts its core focus to cloud computing, an unnamed spokesman reportedly told ARN. "Microsoft believes its future business is firmly centered on the cloud and we are rebalancing the organization globally in order to create a number of new cloud-specific roles across the business," the spokesperson is quoted as saying. "We have identified roles that we will not be continuing with as part of our organizational structure as we create capacity for roles more aligned to this core cloud focus."

Indeed, Microsoft has signaled plans to embrace cloud computing in a big way -- and appears to be betting much of its future on the success of Azure, its still-immature cloud-computing platform. At TechEd last June, Microsoft hyped cloud computing in a big way. Bob Muglia, the head of servers and tools at Microsoft, told the crowd, "We're at the cusp of a major transformation in the industry called cloud computing. It will affect us all. But to get there it will require a lot of execution and changes. We're creating the precursors for the cloud. Today there is a lot of work you're doing inside your environment that could be delivered as a service."

Just as Apple and Google have a head-start on Microsoft in the realm of mobile computing, rivals such as Amazon and (again) Google have the lead over Microsoft in the cloud computing space. If this purported companywide shift toward cloud computing is indeed a reality, perhaps Microsoft will indeed be able to maintain relevance in the cloud space five years from now.

This article, "Microsoft cuts jobs as part of core shift to cloud computing," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog.

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